In Brief, October 2015
In Brief is a monthly all-staff news
round-up, giving you concise summaries
of the essential information you need.
All articles are short and are clearly categorised as ‘for action’,
‘for information’ or simply ‘nice to know’.
Contact for more.

Complete diversity and inclusion mandatory training by February 2016

Encouraging diversity and inclusion at work is a key priority and will help us to thrive as a University and community. To help staff to understand their part in this, we have developed an online Diversity and Inclusion learning module, which the University Executive Board has made mandatory for all staff to complete.

This training must be completed by the end of February 2016.

People Development will send you an email in the coming weeks with the link to the training if you are due to complete the module. You can also find the link on the People Development webpage. You will be reminded every three years to complete the training.

Contact Anne Gallagher for more.

See how low you can go this Christmas

This Christmas, to encourage staff to switch off all unnecessary electrical equipment, the University is running a competition to see how low buildings can go in their consumption of energy over the festive period. Every building manager will receive an infographic detailing the lowest energy consumption recorded in the building. These can also be viewed here. We are challenging staff to beat that figure. The building that reduces its energy consumption by the most will win a £2,000 investment to improve its energy efficiency.

Please remember to switch off anything that isn’t essential over Christmas as well as closing windows and blinds.

Contact James Thorpe for more.

Meet the University of Reading Malaysia team!

If you’re interested in hearing about the latest developments at the University of Reading Malaysia campus and finding out about future secondment opportunities, come and meet the team on Tuesday 15 December at Carrington 101 at any time from 2pm until 4pm. Paula Sanderson, Chief Operating Officer of UoRM, will host the drop-in event, and will be happy to discuss the latest campus news and developments. Mulled wine, soft drinks and mince pies will also be on offer!

Contact the events team for more.


PAS: Voluntary Redundancy scheme open

The PAS Voluntary Redundancy scheme is now open to professional and administrative staff. The scheme provides an enhancement to the statutory redundancy pay calculation, providing a minimum payment equivalent to three months’ salary and a maximum payment equivalent to nine months’ salary. You can find full details here.

Contact for more.

Amendment to travel policy: online overseas travel form

The University’s 'Travel and Other Expenses, Benefits, Hospitality and Gifts' policy has been amended to state that "expenses for overseas travel may not be reimbursed for members of staff and research students who fail to submit the Online Overseas Travel Form or have chosen not to use an approved travel management company when it would have been possible to do so."

Booking travel image

All staff are required to complete the Online Overseas Travel Form prior to travel, even if the use of an alternative travel company is unavoidable. Without it, the University has no obligation to pay overseas travel expenses. Heads of School have been asked to ensure that the policy is being adhered to before approving claims.

See the online information on business travel or contact Steve Mithen for more.

Power management system to roll out to computers

IT Services in conjunction with Estates and Facilities is to roll out a University-wide scheme that will automatically activate a power-saving function on each computer after periods of not being used.

After 10 minutes, the monitor will enter standby mode
After 30 minutes, the computer will enter sleep mode

The scheme is designed not only to conserve power, but also to provide greater levels of data protection and security during time spent away from desks. All departments and Schools will be consulted before it is implemented to identify any opt-outs and full details will follow in due course.

Contact James Thorpe for more.


90th Anniversary additional closure day

As a gesture to staff to mark the 90th anniversary, the University Executive Board has decided to grant all staff an additional closure day. This will take place on 26 August, the Friday before the summer bank holiday on 29 August 2016. Staff who work part-time and for whom this Friday will not be a working day will be credited with pro-rata additional leave automatically on their leave record on Employee Self-Service.

The full list of University closure days is available for reference here.

Contact Cherry Bennett for more.

Impact Development Fund

The University has established an Impact Development Fund to support the development of REF impact case studies. The fund aims to enable evidence-gathering for developed impact, developing impacts to be scaled out into new environments, developing impacts to be influential at higher (e.g. policy) levels, or potential impacts to become established.

Funded projects will be up to three months in duration with a maximum value of £5,000. There will be three calls for applications per year. The first call is now open with a deadline of 22 January 2015. For details on how to apply visit the Research Services page.

Contact Anthony Atkin for more.

T&L Exchange

The Centre for Quality Support and Development has launched the T&L Exchange, a new resource for sharing the exciting and innovative practice that exists within our teaching and learning community. The resource allows staff to find out about projects and initiatives which may be helpful to their own practice, as well as find the contact details of experienced colleagues with whom they might collaborate or simply share ideas.

If you would like to share something that you have tried in your teaching, please use the online submission form.

Contact Joy Collier for more.

2016 calendars available later this month

University wall calendars for 2016 will be made available to staff in December. The calendar has been designed to include key dates for staff, including term dates and University closure days. The calendars will be made available at the receptions of Whiteknights House, Palmer Building, London Road, Henley Business School and Greenlands. The calendars are available for collection only – please note that Whiteknights and Palmer receptions will not be able to post calendars to departments or individuals. A notification will be sent out once the calendars are available to collect.

Please contact Ola Stannard for more.

Customer Relationship Management system (CRM)

The CRM is now in full use in central teams for student recruitment and applicant enquiries, allowing data capture and targeted follow-up. In an ongoing project, the system continues to be developed to realise its benefits.

A key question is how Schools can get the benefits of CRM without necessarily having to use the system directly. The Student Recruitment and Outreach team in MCE has been piloting ways of working – for example, working with Schools to send subject-specific messages to those prospective students held in the CRM with relevant subject interests. Doing so helps Schools contact new leads captured by MCE, while tracking open rates and translation to applications/acceptances.

Contact Rachel South for more.

How did you get to work today?

Did you know that the University offers a range of tax-efficient benefits to help you save money on your commute to work? Whether you travel by bus, by bike, or by car, there's a scheme for you. Visit Benefits + for more.

The University has joined the easitREADING network which gives a number of sustainable travel discounts, including a 15% discount for University staff on First Great Western and South West rail fares when a return journey starts outside Reading and travels to Reading Station. The discount only applies to journeys starting from Reading if the destination is another easit member.

Full details and rail FAQ at easitREADING.

Contact Claire Eckett for more.


HR Operations newsletter

HR Operations has published another newsletter to provide staff with updates on proposed plans, reminders of task deadlines and updated team contact details.

HR Operations is located in Room 110, Whiteknights House at Whiteknights campus. The team handles tasks including staff recruitment, payroll, pensions, staff Campus Cards, fee form payments, and changes to staff pay and employment conditions.

The December edition of the newsletter can be found here.

Contact Nicola Johnson for more.


Celebrate Christmas with a candle-lit carol service in the historic setting of the University’s Great Hall. Taking place Monday 7 December at 6pm, our annual Christmas carol service is free to attend and is open to staff, students and the wider University community. The service is hosted by UoR and the University Chaplaincy, and will include readings by staff and students. Any proceeds will be donated to ReadiFood and Hand in Hand for Syria.

Please register your attendance here. Contact Ellie Gotay for further details.


Increased staff discount at Blackwell’s over December

Blackwell’s at Whiteknights campus has announced that they will be increasing their University staff discount from 10% to 20% over December. So whether you’re shopping for the perfect literary gift or a new game for the family, be sure to take your staff card along so that you can make use of the extra discount. Please note that the increased discount only applies to the Whiteknights campus branch. Visit the Blackwell’s University of Reading website here.

Contact Charlie Stroud for more.

EPSRC science photo competition 2015

Are you an EPSRC-supported researcher with a keen eye for photography? The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has launched its third science photo competition, which will run until midnight Saturday 19 December. Open to EPSRC-supported researchers and doctoral students, the competition aims to bring research alive through photographs.

The categories this year are People, Weird and Wonderful, Eureka, Innovation, and Equipment. Entrants are permitted to submit the same image into a maximum of three categories.

Visit the portal for further information.


University Research Prizes

The 2020 Research Plan aims to enhance our standing as a research-intensive University. High-quality research, building of impact and an enhanced research environment are key to achieving this. University Research Prizes are competitive awards recognising excellent work from staff and postgraduate research students in these areas.

Prizes are:

Best Research Outputs: one prize per research theme recognising the production of high-quality research outputs (3* and 4* in REF terms).
Research Impact Prize: one prize per research theme recognising effective contributions to maximise impact from research.
PhD Researcher of the Year: selected from the research theme finalists, celebrating excellence in postgraduate research.

For information on eligibility, process and deadlines contact your Research Division Leader.

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