Statement on the impact of COVID-19 on research

On 17 March 2020 the University moved to Stage 4 of its Emergency Response Plan, defined as Working from Home and Buildings Closure.

The majority of staff have been working from home since this time. Essential research relating to COVID-19 and essential activities (such as animal welfare and maintenance of critical research infrastructure) have continued in some University buildings during this period. All other research is being conducted remotely, as far as possible. Whilst some research and related activities are able to continue productively, these circumstances are naturally leading to significant disruption to research activities in many areas.

The University, principal investigators and their departments are exploring all ways to mitigate the effects of the disruption to research. This includes exploring how work programmes can be adjusted and re-planned, how projects might be extended in duration (both within existing grant budgets or where budget supplements might be required), and the University’s eligibility to utilise government measures such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furloughing staff).

Following the recent government statement on the limited relaxation of the lockdown and the subsequent publication of government guidance on a return to work, the University is planning for a measured, phased, and safe return to on-site working in University buildings. In line with government guidance, the current focus of these plans is on activity that cannot be performed by working remotely.

A framework of principles and operational guidance for a safe return to on-site working are currently being tested in a pilot scheme with a number of departments over the next 2 to 3 weeks. Following the successful completion of the pilot, it is anticipated that on-site activity will gradually increase from June onwards, in those areas where work cannot be conducted remotely.

The safety and well-being of staff and students is and will remain the University’s first priority. Beyond this, the University is  focused on minimising the impact on the personal circumstances and careers of our research staff and students, ensuring as far possible the delivery of research outputs, and maintenance of our research capability.

 

Note for departments:

Please contact your Research Services contact with any enquiries.