eNews 11 October 2023

eNews: Race Equality Charter, Celebrate Our Staff, Research Culture and more

Celebrate Our Staff – September 2023 

Funding, fellowships and awards feature in our regular series celebrating colleagues across the University. Contact internalcomms@leeds.ac.uk to make a submission for the next roll of honour. 

University commits to creating greater race equity

The University of Leeds has this week reaffirmed its clear intent to be an anti-racist institution, starting a comprehensive programme of activity to create greater race equity.   

Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Simone Buitendijk said: "To fully reflect and serve all members of our diverse community, we must acknowledge where bias still exists and where we currently fall short - and then commit together to do better through a systemic, comprehensive approach across our whole institution, led from the top but pushed from all levels. 

Support for our community around Israel and Gaza  

The events unfolding in Israel and Gaza are deeply concerning and as a global university community, we want to do everything we can to support our staff and students at this time. Whether you or someone you know is directly affected, or the coverage of world events is affecting your wellbeing, support is available for anyone affected in any way by this conflict. 

Thought pieces 

Watch | Fostering a vibrant, values-led research culture 

“Everyone must feel valued and empowered in a vibrant, engaged community if we are to arrive at the innovative discoveries and solutions the world needs.” 

Watch Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation Professor Nick Plant talking about the University’s new research culture strategy

Share your views in the first of our new Research Culture pulse surveys, which this month focuses on enabling open research. The survey only takes five minutes to complete, and feedback will help create a positive and inclusive research culture at Leeds. You can also join the Research Culture conversation on MS Teams

Fifteen to One | Tackling global challenges of food security 

“Together, we can create a world where every person has enough to eat, where food systems are equitable and sustainable, and where the shared joy of a meal unites us all.” 

In advance of World Food Day, Dr Rebecca Sarku, Research Fellow in Climate Change and Food Systems at Leeds, celebrates the collaborative and innovative approach we’re taking towards developing resilient global food systems for a healthier future.  


Have your say on our Climate Plan 

There is still time to share your views by completing a short survey to help us plan future events and activity around our Climate Plan. You can opt into a prize draw to win one of five £25 Love2shop vouchers. 

Recycle Week 

The Parkinson Building will be lit up in green 16-22 October to celebrate Recycle Week. Visit the Sustainability website to see what you can recycle on campus

Climate Week 
30 October to 3 November 

Interested in meeting Leeds-based organisations doing incredible work on sustainable and social action? Or maybe you’re ready to swap some unwanted clothes and household items? Then save the dates for LUU’s Climate Week and watch this space for more information. 

Create a more sustainable commute 

Do you commute to work by bike, bus or train? And if you don’t, could you? Check out the travel benefits that you can take advantage of to create a more sustainable commute

Sustainability and climate change course 

A new introductory sustainability and climate change course has been launched for all students and staff. The course is available on Minerva, takes around an hour to complete and is designed to be a first step into learning about sustainability and climate change. 

Campus life 

Take part | Living Library for Black History Month 
11am to 12 noon, 17 October and 2.30-3.30pm, 24 October 

A living library is a collection of living books where humans share their life stories with other humans. Spotlighting, celebrating and highlighting the diverse experiences and lives of our Black community members, our Living Library is taking place in Parkinson Court this Black History Month. 

Visiting ‘readers’ will be able to have 15-minute conversations with the human ‘books’ to find out more about their lives, careers and inspirations. With a focus on the richness and diversity of cultures, nationality, and heritage within our Black community, it is a chance to have an open dialogue, challenge unconscious bias and build connections. 

Dr Kendi Guantai, Dean of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, said: 

“I am really looking forward to learning from the personal stories of our 'living books' and hope that we will take the opportunity to have remarkable conversations with each other, and to co-create a better way of being.” 

Watch a video guide to how the Living Library works

Register | Hear more on crucial University change in the latest COO session 
1-2pm, 1 November 

Register for a hybrid event to hear more about the University’s strategic priorities direct from Chief Operating Officer (COO) Rachel Brealey. Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Education Jeff Grabill will share an update on the National Student Survey (NSS), and Jenny Baynes, Director of the Transformation Office (TO) will talk about the TO. There’ll be time for questions and the chance to network with colleagues with tea and coffee provided afterwards. 

Industrial action 

UCU, UNISON and Unite strike action  

The deadline for reporting participation via Employee Self-Service (ESS) is 13 October. More information can be found on our Industrial Action In depth page on For Staff. 

Digital developments 

Training | Introduction to Blackboard Test in Minerva 
2-3pm, 18 October 

Book your place on the Introduction to Blackboard Test training which is specifically tailored towards colleagues who are new to the tool. By the end of the session, you’ll know how to create, manage, and run a Blackboard Test. 


Helping students to navigate their first few weeks 

Check out the information and support available to students as they continue to navigate their first few weeks at Leeds. You can also read the weekly emails that students are receiving including last week’s email on setting good habits. 

Register | Enhancing student success  
3-5pm, 17 October 

Sign up to the Student Success Forum mailing list to register for the next event. ‘Enhancing Student Success’ features Dr Eric Hewitt and Dr Andrew Peel discussing the role of assessment in awarding gaps, while Dr Andrew Walker and Chloe Anderton will talk about a representative medical curriculum. 

Case studies | Evidencing progress in ‘Continuation’  

As part of the University’s Access and Student Success Strategy, the Student Success team have compiled case studies to evidence the progress that has been made against one of its key pillars - ‘Continuation’. Read about the importance of inclusivity in teaching and learning, or their study on targeted support for mature students


Tackling the cost of healthy food 

With food prices on the rise, we’ve all been conscious of how to keep our families fed and our budgets in check. 

This week, host Rich Williams is joined by Michelle Morris, Professor of Data Science for Food, Effie Papargyropoulou, Associate Professor in Sustainable Food Networks, and Professor Sara Gonzalez, from the School of Geography. Effie says: 

“Community-led food initiatives show us that by placing people at the heart of our food system we can all be more than just food consumers; we can be food citizens with agency and power to transform our food system for the better." 


Boost for Yorkshire MedTech industry 

Investment from the UKRI Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) will translate state-of-the-art research from universities into the next generation of innovative healthcare products and services and help bring them to market. 

National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Leeds Biomedical Research Centre launched 

The NIHR Leeds Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), which addresses the urgent challenges of an ageing population, has been officially launched. The BRC has received a £19.8m grant from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) to continue its work, providing personalised cost-effective therapies that improve the lives of those living with musculoskeletal disease. 

Apply | Santander Universities research grants 

Santander Universities – a long-standing partner of the University – has 50 grants of £1,000 available for any postgraduate students and academic staff conducting research. The funding can be used on resources, equipment, travel, workshop or conference attendance and any other research-based expenses. Visit the Santander Universities Research Grants website for further information. 

Ignite Fund 2023-24 | Research impact funding 

Offered by the Cultural Institute, the Ignite Fund supports up to £5,000 in research impact funding for projects created in collaboration between University researchers and cultural, arts and third-sector organisations in West Yorkshire. The deadline to apply is 13 November. 


Final call | HE-BCI survey  

Record your public engagement data on Symplectic by 16 October to contribute to the 2022-23 Higher Education Business and Community Interaction (HE-BCI) survey. This is an annual statutory return that collects information about the impact the University has on the wider community. Its results are used to inform the Knowledge Exchange Framework and the allocation of Higher Education Innovation Funding. You can record lectures, performances, exhibitions and other public events that happened between 1 August 2022 and 31 July 2023. 

Wellbeing and support 

Taming the taboo | Menopause and me 

“It’s important we continue in our quest to de-stigmatise the menopause and to keep available support high on the University’s agenda.” 

As we approach World Menopause Day on 18 October, Bernadette Hardware – a Health and Wellbeing Officer at Leeds – draws on her own experiences to celebrate progress to date whilst also reflecting on our aims and ambitions to further support those people affected by menopause

Book | Packed programme for World Menopause Day 

Discover how to take part in a packed programme of free events we’re hosting as part of World Menopause Day to raise awareness and highlight the support available at the University

World Mental Health Day | Support at Leeds  

Mental health issues can affect anyone, anywhere, and at any time. If you are in need of support, free and confidential services are available to all colleagues at Leeds. The Staff Counselling and Psychological Support team provide counselling for any member of staff experiencing personal and/or work-related challenges. Outside the workplace, the University’s Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) offers access to a 24/7 helpline and counselling services which are now available to both colleagues and their immediate family. 

Flu vaccinations 2023  

We’re encouraging colleagues to protect themselves from flu this winter by offering paid time off for vaccination appointments. Staff who aren’t eligible for a free NHS flu vaccination can still protect themselves by booking a private flu jab and claiming costs of up to £20 through e-expenses.  

Mindfulness at Work for Leaders and Managers 

The Mindfulness at Work for Leaders and Managers programme addresses mental balance, personal effectiveness and new ways of responding to stressful situations. It consists of two online workshops – on 5 and 19 February 2024. 

Join the Autumn Step Challenge  

Sign up today and join colleagues across the University taking part in our popular step challenge. The challenge runs from 30 October – 5 November and those registering will be randomly assigned to a team of six colleagues. We’re encouraging people of all abilities to get involved and offer a range of methods to measure and track your movement. There are photo bonuses up for grabs and a lively Microsoft Teams chat to keep you motivated. Registration closes at 5pm on 26 October.   

Smokefree campus | Quit smoking this Stoptober   

We’d like to remind everyone that the University is a Smokefree campus. If you want, the national Stoptober campaign offers a free app to help you quit smoking or cut down. 

Learning and development 

Keep up to date with the latest learning and development opportunities from the University on our For Staff website, including: 

  • The Leeds Teaching Awards
  • Building Impact Momentum
  • Courses for Academic Personal Tutors (APTs) 
  • Leading in Student Education programme


Light Night Leeds 
6-9pm, 12-13 October 

Colleagues can experience the magic of the UK’s largest annual arts and lights festival, Light Night. Campus is hosting a range of displays and exhibitions; read the full list of Light Night events on campus on the University website. 

Book now | Ilkley Literature Festival 
6-22 October 

Tickets are now on sale for the Ilkley Literature Festival, with a host of Leeds colleagues taking to the stage as it celebrates its 50th year. With discussions on topics including Dickens, sugar and genetics, as well as several poetry performances, Leeds colleagues will once again be sharing their work across the town during the Festival, which has had strong links to the School of English since it started in 1973.  

Culture at Leeds Fair 
10am to 4pm, 17 October 

Over 20 arts and cultural organisations representing Leeds will be showcasing their cultural offerings in the marquee opposite the Union next week. Learn more about the cultural and arts scene in Leeds and enjoy live performances courtesy of South Asian Arts UK and the Leeds International Piano Competition. 

Apply | DARE Art Prize 2023-24 

The DARE Art Prize is still open for applications, offering a bursary of £10,000 and a budget of up to £5,000 for resources. Awarded by the University and Opera North as part of our pioneering DARE partnership, the DARE Art Prize offers the chance to engage with scientific researchers and artists who share a vision, and whose specialist expertise can support the creation of something new. The deadline for applications is 16 October. 


Register | Nature Journal Editor talk 
11am to 12 noon, 17 October 

Register to hear Nature Climate Change Chief Editor, Bronwyn Wake, give a talk introducing the Nature Journal’s portfolio. Hosted by the Horizons Institute and Priestley Centre for Climate Futures, ‘Publishing in High Impact Journals’ will be held online and at HELIX – the University’s new digital hub. 

Building blocks of a successful event | Events Network get together 
4.30-6.15pm, 23 October 

A face-to-face networking opportunity to meet colleagues in events-related roles and get a first look at the University’s new city centre venue, Cloth Hall Court. We’ll have some fun activities to keep the session interactive, including a demo of Vevox, the University’s newly acquired polling tool. Register to attend the Events Network get together here. 

Film Screening | Under Your Nose 
1-3pm, 25 October 

For Black History Month the Women at Leeds Network will be screening the documentary ‘Under Your Nose’, which explores intersectional Black LGBT+ Activism histories in UK. Using interviews, archival materials, and old footage, ‘Under Your Nose’ charts the journey of trailblazers who in the 1980s joined the fight to open a Black Lesbian and Gay Centre for the Black community. Register for the free screening of 'Under Your Nose' on ticketsource. 

Tell us your story 

We’d like to hear about the great work you’re doing. Contact internalcomms@leeds.ac.uk to share your stories. 

Keeping up to date 

You can keep up to date with our latest news on the For Staff website and the staff Twitter account

With best wishes, 

The Internal Communications and Engagement team 

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