eNews 13 April

eNews: USS Pension, industrial action, spring break, religious festivals, learning and development, wellbeing and support, events and more

Some daffodils in the Sustainability Garden outside the Roger Stevens Building.

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 next one being held from 2-3pm today (Wednesday 13 April). 

Industrial action

Update on ballots for industrial action 

The results of recent ballots by the University and College Union (UCU) signal potential further industrial action. UCU’s two ballots have now closed and the results provide a mandate for industrial action – strike and action short of a strike – related to disputes over proposed changes to pensions, pay and other related issues. 

Spring break 

University closure 

The University will close at 12.30pm tomorrow (Thursday 14 April) for the spring break. It will reopen on Wednesday 20 April. Check out the updated spring break opening hours for Great Food at Leeds and The Edge  

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. 

eNews deadlines 

Due to the spring holidays, eNews will take a break after this edition until Wednesday 27 April. Deadline for submissions is the preceding Friday (22 April). 

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  


Nominate | Piers Sellers Prize 

We’re now accepting nominations for the 2022 Piers Sellers Prize, designed to reward and encourage PhD students at Leeds undertaking excellent research to better understand and/or address climate change. Open to any current PhD students – including those who’ve passed their viva but are yet to attend their graduation ceremony – the award of £1,500 will enable the winner to further develop their research career. PhD supervisors and group leaders can complete the nomination form and email it to the Priestley Centre via climate@leeds.ac.uk – self-nominations are no longer accepted. Deadline for nominations is 5pm on Tuesday 19 April. 

Learning and development 

Sign up | Transforming your Student Education Practice  

The deadline for applications to join the next cohort of the Transforming your Student Education Practice course is Friday 22 April. Starting in May, the course is designed for colleagues with a Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, those working towards it and those considering how their practice can include supporting and developing others.  

Register | Share, Adopt, Adapt Workshop (SAAW): Academic Skills 

You can still sign up for the latest Share, Adopt, Adapt Workshop (SAAW), running from 10-11am on Tuesday 26 April. Library colleagues 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. 

Sign up | Policy Engagement Kickstart Programme  

Sign up for the Policy Engagement Kickstart Programme starting in May. Aimed at researchers and research support staff who are relatively new to policy engagement, the course will explain the structure of government, provide a realistic view of how policy is made and help you to increase the impact of your work. Register by 1pm on Tuesday 3 May. 

Register | Find out about PGCAP  

Find out more about the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP) at an OD&PL event running from 12 noon to 1pm on Friday 13 May. This online session explores how the course works, why participants engage with the PGCAP and the impact it has on enhancing their student education practice – including how it’s one route to gain a Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). Applications to join the September PGCAP cohort are open until Tuesday 31 May.  

Career Accelerator Programme  

OD&PL has launched a new programme providing job search support for postdoctoral researchers and teaching fellows. It’s aimed at those looking for new roles within, and beyond, academia in the next six to 12 months, and covers how to attract, find, secure and negotiate a new role.  


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. 

Religious festivals 


Happy Easter to all our staff and students celebrating this religious festival in the next two weeks. Easter Sunday falls on either 17 or 24 April, depending on which Christian denomination is being followed. Many Christians also observe Holy Week from the Sunday before Easter, during which they remember the events surrounding the death of Jesus, while on Easter Sunday they celebrate his resurrection. We wish you all a hope-filled Easter season. 


We wish our Jewish community a happy Passover. Celebrated this year from the evening of Friday 15 to Saturday 23 April, Passover is an eight-day Jewish holiday that celebrates God’s intervention in history, leading to the exodus of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt to freedom more than 3,000 years ago.  


Vaisakhi – one of the most important festivals in the Sikh calendar – is celebrated tomorrow (Thursday 14 April). Vaisakhi commemorates the birth of the Khalsa – the collective body of committed Sikhs established to fight oppression and challenge injustice and inequalities, including ensuring all have access to the basic needs of food, clothing, health and education. You can find out more about Vaisakhi and we hope our Sikh community enjoys the celebrations! 


We've answered your questions about Ramadan and have pulled together popular terms you'll hear about Ramadan and Eid in our handy guides. You can also find out how to support Muslim staff and students during this period of fasting.  

Wellbeing and support 

Join | Parent and Carer Peer Support Network 

Are you a parent or carer looking for extra advice and support? Help is available through the Microsoft Teams-based Parent and Carer Peer Support Network, which includes a series of monthly online sessions. The next one – scheduled for 2-3pm on Thursday 26 May – will be a digital event focussing on wellbeing through available support from the Staff Counselling Service. The aim is to create a casual, fun and supportive space for all. Contact Gemma Traviss-Turner or James Willmoth for further information and to be added to the Teams group. 

Register | Mindfulness-based stress-reduction course   

Sign up for a rolling eight-week online mindfulness-based stress-reduction course starting on Wednesday 27 April. Hosted via Zoom, this course aims to reduce the negative effects of stress by increasing mental balance and personal effectiveness at work. Contact Yvonne Bell for further information and to book your place. 

Sign Up | Mindfulness at Work for Leaders and Managers programme   

The Mindfulness at Work for Leaders and Managers programme addresses mental balance, personal effectiveness and responding to stressful situations. It consists of two online workshops – on Tuesday 10 and Tuesday 24 May – being delivered by Marcus Hill (Learning and Development Advisor, OD&PL) and Sally Rose (Psychotherapist and Mindfulness Teacher, Staff Counselling and Psychological Support Service).    


Register | British Academy Lecture 2022 

Sign up to attend the British Academy Lecture 2022, entitled ‘Thinking Through Terror’, hosted by the Leeds Arts and Humanities Research Institute. Guest speaker, Professor Preti Taneja, refers to her new book to explore education, writing, justice and the politics of narrative construction around terrorist acts. The lecture takes place on Thursday 5 May in the Esther Simpson Building. 

Tickets | Brotherton Poetry Prize Anthology II launch 

Book your tickets for the Brotherton Poetry Prize Anthology II launch. The collection features works from shortlisted entrants in the 2021 Brotherton Poetry Prize, including Kym Deyn, Lucy Dixcart, Helen Kay, Isabella Mead and Lauren Pope. The event, which takes place in The Workshop Theatre on campus from 7.30-9pm on Monday 25 April, will be introduced by Poet Laureate and Professor of Poetry at Leeds, Simon Armitage, and will feature readings from the new anthology by the poets themselves. 

Book | Nexus Connect  

Sign up for Nexus Connect – the first in a new series of networking events – hosted by our innovation centre from 4.30-6.30pm on Monday 25 April. The event brings innovators together to make meaningful connections, discuss ideas, share common interests and discover opportunities for collaboration. This is a chance for colleagues to find out more about, and network with, businesses within the Nexus community. 

Register | Astbury Conversation with Nobel Prize winner 

Tickets are still available to hear the remarkable story of Nobel Prize winner, Richard Henderson, during the Astbury Conversation public lecture ‘Zooming in on the Molecules of Life’. Taking place from 5-6pm on Tuesday 26 April, you can register to attend the in-person event at the Esther Simpson Building or sign up to watch it online. Tickets are free. 

Book | Leeds Digital Festival 2022  

There’s still time to register 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. Please email Digital Transformation if you have any event ideas or suggestions. 

Launch | New exhibition takes art into outer space 

Book your place at the special launch of a new exhibition at The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery. ‘Seeing Stars’ shines a light on contemporary artists who use and challenge the newest technologies for space imaging in their creative works. The sneak preview runs from 6-8pm on Tuesday 26 April ahead of the official opening the following day. Entry is free. 

Leverhulme Lecture | Changing the Voices of Science Fiction: The Progressive Fantastic in Germany  

Register to attend the latest Leverhulme Lecture, taking place from 4-5.30pm on Tuesday 26 April. Dr Lars Schmeink, Leverhulme Visiting Professor, will discuss the ‘progressive fantastic’ in German science fiction literature and how it’s helping widen inclusivity in the genre, strengthening authors’ voices and re-examining the tradition and structure of fantastic texts. Tickets are free. 

In case you missed it 

Inside Track | Introducing the Horizons Institute 

Sign up | Horizons Institute Leeds Conversations events 

How we’ll report Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 results 

Listen | World Changers podcast episode two 

Download | New staff and student safety app 

Changes to how we validate your IT account 

Read | Research IT requirements report 

Apply | Mentoring scheme 

Sign up | Research Impact Coaching 

Register | Management Essentials Programme 

BOOST Programme | Career development for researchers 

Celebrate Our Staff – March 2022 

Register | Pint of Science Festival 

Sign up | Be Curious LATES: Cotton’s Hidden Voices   

Submit a request 

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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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