Dear Postgraduate researchers,
I wanted to write to make sure that you receive a very clear message about what the University expects from you in terms of carrying on with your research at this point in the pandemic.
Our key priority is to help keep you and everyone around you safe. Therefore we do ask you to work from home where possible to minimise the risk to you and others of spreading the virus. However, the campus is open to researchers and when you need to come onto the campus to use facilities and resources that are crucial to your work then you are allowed to do this. We appreciate that for our PGRs currently outside of the UK that returning may not be possible due to travel restrictions, and we ask that you keep up to date on the UK Government advice on travel and maintain communication with us until you’re able to return.
If you do need to return to campus we expect you to follow the Health and Safety protocols both about testing and the proper use of facilities. Where access to laboratories and other equipment are “rationed”, then please make sure you follow the guidance about access. If we are all careful to follow the rules, then the campus will remain a safe place for everyone.
The University will continue to send messages to students about returning to campus for face to face teaching. These are not relevant to PGRs and are only intended for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught students. The Government has asked universities to stagger the movement of UG/PGT students returning to campuses to manage the risk of transmission of the virus. You are to follow the same rules as staff in terms of accessing the campus.
I want to urge you to continue to use your imagination and ingenuity to get around the road blocks as much as you can to continue with your research. The Disruption Fund can offer some additional time to those who are most impacted by the disruption and least able to adjust their plans to continue. There will never be enough resource to give additional time to all researchers, so it is important that those who can keep going so that they can finish on time. We really appreciate that this is not an easy ask, but a necessary one. Do keep in close contact with your supervisors and make sure they understand how things are going so they can advise and offer help to keep your research moving forward. Together we can do this.
We understand that we have had some time to get used to the restrictions involved in continuing with research during a pandemic. However, the duration of disruption has had very significant consequences and inevitably some of us will experience distress and low mood at some point. Please do reach out to your colleagues for support and to offer support when you can, and do make use of the excellent support available in the Wellbeing service and in the Doctoral College team. I can see the green shoots of hope bursting through already.
Take care of yourself and keep well,