Research update from the Principal
From the start of lockdown, the pandemic has caused huge disruption to our working lives and our ability to do research. Over this period, SMG took the necessary and responsible decision to prioritise teaching activities. Our community has stepped up in response and I am very grateful to you for doing this. Inevitably, however, our research activities have been adversely affected as a result, and I am acutely aware of the unequal impact on colleagues.
Glasgow’s success and reputation depends significantly on our world-class research. Since lockdown, we have invested over £20 million in supporting our researchers to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. Below I outline the additional measures we are putting in place to allow research activities to be ramped up, to create space for new ideas and collaborations to emerge, and ultimately to further the careers of our research staff and students.
Now that we are moving to Scottish Government Protection Level 2 (from 5 June 2021), all research undertaken in laboratories and facilities can take place on campus, subject to occupancy limits.
I realise that many of you will have been working in our laboratories and facilities over the past year. However, given the expected ongoing easing of restrictions, we would like all laboratory-based research activities to recommence, where individual circumstances, public health guidance and occupancy limits allow.
A ramping up of research activity will help us support the careers of our project-funded staff and those who have been unequally affected by COVID-19, as well as meeting our obligations to funders. Colleges have, where possible, made additional lab and office space available, so that more research can be resumed productively and safely.
I would encourage you to discuss your preferences and circumstances with your line manager as soon as possible and would urge you to support those around you as we plan for their return. In conjunction with Chris Pearce, VP Research, a Q&A session will be held shortly, with further details circulated in due course. A comprehensive set of FAQs will also be prepared.
We have also set aside further funds to initiate activities to stimulate research activities. Our plan includes a short survey to understand the barriers and challenges to ramping up research activities and funding schemes aligned to the 2020–2025 Research Strategy. These schemes, which will be launched imminently, include research sabbaticals, funds for developing ambitious, collaborative grant proposals and external fellowship applications. We will soon also be piloting the “labs of the future”: new technologies and interaction spaces to facilitate remote collaboration, increase accessibility and sustainable practices, and overcome the obstacles presented by reduced travel and limited building occupancy.
Over the last year we have weathered this storm together and I continue to be inspired by all you have done and are doing on behalf of the University. We thrive only when we empower our staff and students to succeed in their careers and it is these values that will inform our approach to the research recovery.
Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli
Principal and Vice-Chancellor
First published: 3 June 2021