University Executive Board minutes - 4 August 2020



4 August 2020


Professor K Lamberts (KL) (in the Chair) Professor S Fitzmaurice (SF), Ms H Fraser- Krauss(HFK), Professor S Hartley (SH), Professor M J Hounslow (MJH), Ms J Jones (JJ), Professor C Newman (CN), Professor D Petley (DNP), Professor G Valentine (GV), Professor C Watkins (CW)

In attendance:

Dr M Butler (MB) (item 1)


Professor J Derrick (JD), Professor W Morgan (WM), Mr R Sykes (RS), Dr T Strike (TS)


Mr D Swinn (DTS)/Ms K Sullivan


KL welcomed HFK to her first formal UEB meeting since taking up her post as Executive Director of Corporate Services on 3 August.

  1. Closed Minute and Paper

  2. University Charters and Staff Development for Research Staff

    • UEB considered an update on proposals to develop two Charters that outlined the expectations of the role of individual researchers, line managers and the University itself, in the development of research staff. These were part of a wider initiative to harmonise the institutional approach and to share and promote best practice. UEB welcomed the aspirations expressed in the current drafts and endorsed further work to develop the Charters, subject to the actions noted below.
    • Actions:
      • The wording of the Charters would be reviewed and updated to reflect disciplinary differences, including liaison with AMRC colleagues.
      • The Charters would be finalised in liaison with central HR teams, with reference to how they would be embedded within existing HR management processes and to clarify to whom they were applicable.
      • In due course, the finalised Charters should be shared with Senate to be formally adopted.
  3. Coronavirus Update

    • General Update
      • JJ reported on ongoing discussion with lenders, analysis of the Government’s Research Support Package and the latest assessment of the likely financial position in the autumn. UEB would consider updated scenario planning at the 17 August Away Day.
      • KL reported on a range of complementary institutional activity in collaboration with regional partners around economic recovery from the impact of Covid-19. In particular, UEB noted the University’s work with other anchor institutions.. UEB would receive a full update in due course. UEB noted that such activities were consistent with the draft UK Research and Development Roadmap, and the increasing importance of demonstrating engagement and impact across the SCR, to which devolution could be expected to give further impetus. UEB also discussed potential collaborative opportunities, building on the achievements of the AMRC-TC.
    • Update from Major Incident Team

      • The MIT had met to discuss its remit and considered how a number of activities and actions were being undertaken, including through normal management structures, the Return to Campus Group, resumption of research activities. Updated protocols had published for dealing with new Covid-19 cases. Only one, isolated new case had been noted, and the new protocols had been followed successfully.

    • Update from Return to Campus Group

      • The Group had considered a change in the University’s approach to overseas travel to reflect the latest FCO guidance. Updated information would be shared with staff in due course. It was noted that University guidance on the resumption of face to face research activities had been drafted with input from FDRIs and would be shared with the Group following feedback from the Chair of the Senate Research Ethics Committee.

    • FVP Update

      • UEB discussed the need to clearly communicate with staff the importance of offering an effective and safe blended learning approach to students from the autumn. It was noted that HR had provided an update to Trade Union representatives, drawing attention to the safety protocols that were in place and had been working well throughout the pandemic for staff who had remained working on campus. The University’s approach was consistent with the vast majority of others in the sector, and provided the flexibility to respond quickly to any changes to the relaxation of ‘lockdown’ rules.

      • It was reported that planning for delivery of certain medical courses, which started earlier than other programmes, was progressing well, although challenges around the issue of student placements remained a national cause for debate. A number of academic colleagues and teams continued to play a major part in the national effort, including the Oxford vaccine trial, which had resulted in several publications and successful funding applications.

      • Action:

        • The update to TU colleagues would be shared with HoDs.

  4. Update on Funded Extensions for PGR Students

    • UEB received for information an update on the University approach to funded extensions for final-year PGR students, including analysis of the financial implications and the nature of applications for extensions. UKRI was yet to provide any principles or policies for extensions for PGR students who were not in their final year. It was also reported that the University was finalising its related governance arrangements for UKRI to agree, thereby enabling the release of funding for grant extensions.

  5. Closed Minute

  6. Closed Minute

  7. Closed Minute and Paper

  8. Round Table

    • LPC/GDL:

      • CW reported that contracts had been signed with ULaw to transfer delivery of vocational legal education. UEB congratulated colleagues for their careful and sensitive handling of the matter.

    • UK Research and Development Roadmap Consultation:

      • SH was coordinating the institutional response, which had been discussed with FDRIs. Members were invited to submit any comments to Research Services.

    • ERC Starter Grant:

      • CW reported that Dr Jonathan Silver, Department of Geography and Urban Institute, had been awarded an ERC starter grant. This was the Faculty of Social Science’s sixth such success in the last three years and the third to the Urban Institute.

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