eNews 6 April

USS pension, Horizons Institute, World Changers podcast, SafeZone app, digital developments, Travel Survey, mentoring scheme, Ramadan, Leeds Digital Festival and more

Nine ducklings and their parent swimming on the Roger Stevens pond.

USS pension

Book | USS pension information sessions
Hosted by pensions experts, Mercer, these online pension sessions will provide you with

  • an overview of benefits in the USS pension scheme
  • details of the valuation discussions to date
  • details of what changes are being made
  • an understanding of the investment builder and the role of the pensions regulator; and 
  • advice on where to find further information and help. 

Sessions are taking place across April and May, with the first of these being held on Wednesday 13 April.


Living with Covid | reminder of arrangements
An email sent to all colleagues on Friday 1 April provided a reminder about the ‘Living with Covid’ arrangements at the University, including information about lateral flow testing, self-isolation, reporting, face coverings, distancing and room capacities, ventilation, cleaning, travel, risk assessments, the coronavirus website and more.


Inside Track | Introducing the Horizons Institute
In this Inside Track feature, Professor Stuart Taberner shares his vision for the University’s Horizons Institute – our dynamic new cross-campus incubator for innovative interdisciplinary research collaborations. You can also sign up for our Leeds Conversations events to discover how we can support your search for solutions to some of the greatest global challenges of our time.

Reporting Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 results 
Details of how we’ll report REF 2021 results – the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions – have been published on the dedicated In depth page of the For Staff website. Our results will be communicated accurately, with the appropriate context, and by stressing any REF success has been achieved through talented staff, partnerships and collaborations. Results are due to be announced on Thursday 12 May. 

Listen | World Changers podcast episode two
Catch up on the next episode of the new World Changers podcast series with Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dr Jessica Mitchell, and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk. Discussing Dr Mitchell’s World Changers essay, their conversation covers antimicrobial resistance and how the solution lies within community engagement. The podcast is based on the World Changers: Celebrating Impactful Research essay collection, which highlights the transformative research taking place at Leeds.

Campus life

Download | New staff and student safety app
Find out more about SafeZone, a new app that everyone on campus can use to ask for help. It’s designed to give you extra peace of mind, in addition to other safety support offered by the University, and is linked to our security team, which is on hand to assist you 24/7.

Spring break opening hours | Great Food at Leeds
Check out the updated Great Food at Leeds spring break opening hours, which have been revised for the holidays.

Digital Developments

Checking junk email
Some genuine University emails are being incorrectly routed into junk folders. We’re working with Microsoft to resolve the issue, but in the meantime, please regularly check your junk folder. If you’re expecting any particular emails or have regular contacts whose messages are going into your junk folder, please add them to your ‘safe senders’ list

Update | Teams Voice
Teams Voice is currently being rolled out across the University, giving you the flexibility to make and receive telephone calls from wherever you are through Microsoft Teams. We’re currently reviewing all direct phone numbers and will be moving all users to Teams Voice by the end of April.

Changes to how we validate your IT account
From Monday 11 April, we’re changing the way University accounts are validated to make them more secure. We’re rolling out these changes over several months. When this happens, you might be asked to login again on Office 365 applications, particularly Teams and Outlook, and the login page may look different. You will still be prompted for Duo authentication.

Read | Research IT requirements report
As part of the plans to transform our IT systems, our external consultancy partner, Red Oak, worked with academics from across the University to understand the range of Research IT requirements and how we can best support them. Key findings from this consultation were presented at a number of open sessions, and you can now read the report in full. Some of the findings are quite sensitive and open to a level of challenge, so please be mindful of this and respectful when discussing it with colleagues. The report also contains some confidential information and we ask you not to share it outside of the University.


Spring break support for students
We’ve published details of support available to students staying in Leeds during the spring break. This includes information about campus services and study spaces, as well as contact details in the event of an emergency. Students can also access a spring activities programme to help keep them entertained during the holidays.


Travel Survey 2022 prizes
Fancy the chance to win a £150 Leeds Trinity gift card or £50 to spend at John Lewis? These are the prizes up for grabs in the free draw if you take part in our annual Travel Survey. Open until Thursday 28 April, feedback from staff and students will help us better plan how to improve the University’s travel policies, benefits and infrastructure, both on campus and in the wider city region, as well as delivering against our commitments to reduce emissions to net zero by 2030.

Survey Provider Framework
There’s still time to have your say to help create a preferred supplier list of survey providers. Answer three multiple-choice questions to ensure your preferred provider is invited to apply for a position on the University-wide framework contract, which is being developed by the Research and Innovation Service and central Purchasing Department. Closing date is Friday 8 April.

Learning and development

Sign up | Pedagogical Power of PebblePad – Professional Placements
You can still register for the latest Pedagogical Power of PebblePad session, being held online from 11-11.30am tomorrow (Thursday 7 April). The second workshop in this new series will focus on using this ePortfolio software as a tool for recording, supervising and assessing external professional placements. The quick-fire, 30-minute session will include time for you to ask questions.

Register | Management Essentials Programme
New and existing managers can book on to the next block of OD&PL’s Management Essentials. Sessions are designed to equip you with the tools needed to effectively manage your team, as well as understand the processes and responsibilities you have at the University. The next set of sessions run until early May.

Apply | Mentoring scheme 
Applications for the next round of matching for our University-wide mentoring scheme are open until Wednesday 4 May. Available to all colleagues, you can apply to either be a mentor or mentee at any time, with matching taking place in May and November each year. The mentoring experience allows colleagues to share knowledge and skills with others, supporting them to achieve their individual objectives.

Sign up | Research Impact Coaching
Register for Research Impact Coaching with OD&PL and get support to improve your ability to deliver impact through your research. Coaching is available to individual researchers at any stage of their career, as well as those working collaboratively on research projects. Delivered flexibly based on your needs, the coaching will help you define and deliver your potential impact.

BOOST Programme | Career development for researchers 
Sign up for new events as part of OD&PL’s BOOST programme to support career development for researchers. The programme equips researchers with the skills and confidence needed to manage their career, including resources and events scheduled for the remainder of the academic year, with new material being added throughout this period.

Join | Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice
Applications are open until Tuesday 31 May to join the next cohort of our Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP). Participants will reflect on their academic practice and undertake individual pedagogical research projects. Congratulations to seven colleagues who recently graduated from the PGCAP, who’ve been awarded a Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy as a result.

Register | Share, Adapt, Adopt: Academic Skills
Sign up for the latest Share, Adapt, Adopt workshop, running from 10-11am on Tuesday 26 April. Colleagues from our University Library will share their knowledge of new and upcoming resources that can help with literature searches, create a reading list in two minutes, and help students understand how the paragraph works in academic writing.


Celebrate Our Staff 
Catch up on the March edition of our regular feature celebrating the achievements of colleagues across the University, showcasing new fellowships, awards and more. You can also contact Internal Comms and Engagement to make submissions for the next roll of honour. This is open to all colleagues.

Wellbeing and support

Ramadan Mubarak
To mark the start of the fasting period, watch the video message from Masud Khokhar, University Librarian and Keeper of the Brotherton Collection, in which he speaks to staff and students to share what Ramadan means to some of the Muslim community at Leeds. Find out more about Ramadan and how you can support Muslim staff and students during this time. Colleagues can also contact the Muslim Staff Network for further information and guidance.

Sign up | Menopause in the workplace workshops
Our next interactive Menopause in the Workplace workshop is available to book for tomorrow (Thursday 7 April), with further sessions available through to July. Designed to raise awareness of menopause and develop a supportive culture for colleagues, workshops are aimed at all colleagues, but there are also specific sessions for managers and men.

Register | Virtual Pilates class
Try our free virtual Pilates class, which will get you moving and improve your posture, core strength and flexibility. It’s a chance for you to calm your mind, reducing stress physically and mentally. The class runs from 3-4pm every Wednesday via Teams. Contact Fran Andralojc to be added to the mailing list.

Sign up | Online postural sessions
Are you struggling with your posture? Do you regularly experience aches and pains? Try the 15-minute upper body postural sessions, offering gentle exercises for your neck and shoulders, including mobility, stretches and activation. The class runs every Monday at 12 noon and Thursday at 3pm. And why not give the 15-minute lower body postural sessions a go, too? They target stiffness in your legs linked with a sedentary job/lifestyle. Classes run every Tuesday at 4pm and Wednesday at 12 noon. If you’re specifically suffering with lower back pain, try our 15-minute lower back postural classes, which run every Monday at 2pm. All the above sessions are held via Teams. Contact Fran Andralojc to be added to the mailing list.

Staff benefits

Gryphons Go Kids Camps
Easter holidays approaching and not sure how to entertain the kids? Book them onto Sport and Physical Activity’s Gryphons Go Kids Camp for either single or multiple days at the special staff rate of £40 per day. Children can swim, climb and explore the outdoors, as well as develop their physical skills and make use of our superb educational facilities. Camps are being hosted at The Edge until Thursday 14 April.

Register | E-bikes webinar
Register to attend a free E-bikes webinar being hosted by Cyclescheme, which administers our Cycle to Work Scheme, and leading bike manufacturer Raleigh. The event, which takes place at 11.30am tomorrow (Thursday 7 April), includes the opportunity to ask questions about E-bikes and to learn more about the Cycle to Work Scheme, which offers exclusive savings on new bikes through a salary sacrifice arrangement.


Book | Leeds Digital Festival 2022 
Register now to attend the curated line-up of online events being held for Leeds Digital Festival 2022’s Spring Festival. We’ve renewed our sponsorship of the tech showcase, being held online and in-person from Monday 25 to Wednesday 27 April. With a key focus on the theme of sustainability, the festival aligns with our vision to solve global challenges through digital means, as set out in our Digital Transformation Strategy 2020-2030. Watch this space for details of how you can also get involved in the two-week, open platform event planned for September. If you have any event ideas or suggestions you want to put forward, please email Digital Transformation

Pint of Science Festival 
Tickets for Pint of Science are on sale now! The annual festival brings innovative and exciting speakers to local venues in various cities, including Leeds. This year’s event is happening at venues across the city from Monday 9 to Wednesday 11 May, with colleagues from around the University covering topics ranging from AI and the Arts to consciousness, nutrition research and astrochemistry.

Inspired by Bragg | Public Cheney Lecture 
Time is running out to sign up to attend a joint Public Cheney Lecture, taking place in the Esther Simpson Building from 5.30-8pm tomorrow (Thursday 7 April). ‘A Thing of Beauty: Where science and art combine’ will be delivered by Professor Ron Lifshitz, of Tel Aviv University and a Leeds Cheney Fellow, together with sculptor Dominic Hopkinson. The lecture is part of the Inspired by Bragg programme of scientific and cultural events.

Watch back | Be Curious LATES: Cotton – unpicking the stories woven into our clothes
You can watch back the first in a new serious of Be Curious LATES sessions themed around cotton and consumption. ‘Be Curious LATES: Cotton – unpicking the stories woven into our clothes’ explores the complex, challenging and globally important history of cotton from UK and Indian perspectives. You can also sign up to attend the next event in this series – Be Curious LATES: Cotton’s Hidden Voices – taking place from 8-9pm on Wednesday 25 May.


Spring break eNews deadlines
Due to the spring holidays, eNews will take a break after next week’s edition (Wednesday 13 April) until Wednesday 27 April. Deadline for submissions is the preceding Friday (22 April).

In case you missed it

Inside Track | A Fairer future for all – reducing fixed-term contracts

Inside Track | Academic personal tutoring: Why is it important?

New Information Governance training

Minerva Ultra Course View | Key dates and information

Apply | Transforming your Student Education Practice 

View | Be Curious 2022 programme 

Submit a request

You can submit a request for an eNews entry via email. Please contact us in advance of the deadline (the Friday preceding the relevant Wednesday circulation date) so we can advise you on our editorial and content guidelines.
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Keeping up to date

This eNews is brought to you by the Communications and Engagement team. You can:

  • keep up to date with our latest news on the For Staff website and by following the staff Twitter account
  • view our previous staff email communications on our dedicated In depth webpage; and
  • access key University systems and information, such as HR self-service, IT, the Office365 web app, year planner, Minerva and purchasing, via the staff systems and quick links sections towards the top of the For Staff homepage. Even more handy links have been added, including OD&PL, the 2020-2030 Strategy, Wellbeing and Safety, Sustainability hub, Research and Innovation Service (RIS), USS pension, ResearchFish and MyGrants.

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