Advice for students

PAGE TO BE UPDATED NEXT ON 26/08/2020

Essential information for the new academic year 

THIS PAGE WAS LAST UPDATED 17/06/2020 

We are getting ready to welcome you to what will be a great new academic year in 2020/21. Our dedicated lecturers, support staff and Students’ Association are working hard to give you the best possible University experience.

We will be doing everything we can to make sure you enjoy learning through our blended approach of online and face-to-face teaching and to give you as many opportunities to create new friendships and experience everything the GCU community has to offer you!  

The health, safety and wellbeing of our students and staff will continue to be our highest priority as rules around social distancing are eased. Frequently asked questions are listed below and are updated as and when necessary, but if you have further questions or issues you would like to raise, please contact our Student Helpline by email on coronavirushelpline@gcu.ac.uk or by phone on +44 141 331 3130. We are open Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm. 

GCU coronavirus information for students (2019/20)

The University takes the health and safety of its staff and students very seriously and we continue to carefully monitor the situation and government guidance relating to the coronavirus.

The frequently asked questions for students listed below were provided following lockdown and our transition to remote learning and home working. They will continue to be updated as and when necessary. If students have further questions or issues they would like to raise, please contact the Student Helpline by email on coronavirushelpline@gcu.ac.uk or by phone on +44 141 331 3130. The Helpline is operation Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm.

Advice for international students

A Scottish Government advice publication has been created specifically for International students (2019/20) bringing together key information regarding staying in Scotland during the current coronavirus outbreak in the UK. The publication can be accessed here.

Student assessment arrangements during COVID-19 Please select drop-down option applicable to academic year of study

Undergraduate Year 1

As in most universities, Undergraduate Year 1:

  • Trimester B formal examinations taken on campus have been cancelled
  • Requirements of professional, statutory and regulatory bodies will be met using alternative assessments. You will be contacted if this applies to you.
  • Modules, where no final exam alternative is taking place, will be assessed as pass or fail based on submitted assessments or those scheduled for completion
  • Where a module is assessed only by a final examination, an alternative assessment will be put in place. Details will be on GCU Learn. These modules will be assessed on a pass or fail basis.
  • Merit or distinction awards must therefore be suspended for this year
  • All submission dates have been extended by one week. If anything further is required please ask your module leader.
Undergraduate Year 2

As in most universities, Undergraduate Year 2:

  • Trimester B formal examinations taken on campus have been cancelled
  • Requirements of professional, statutory and regulatory bodies will be met using alternative assessments. You will be contacted if this applies to you.
  • Modules, where no final exam alternative is taking place, will be assessed as pass or fail based on submitted assessments or those scheduled for completion
  • Where a module is assessed only by a final examination, an alternative assessment will be put in place. Details will be on GCU Learn. These modules will be assessed on a pass or fail basis.
  • Merit or distinction awards must therefore be suspended for this year
  • All submission dates have been extended by one week. If anything further is required please ask your module leader.
Undergraduate Year 3 (graduating 2020)

As in most universities, Undergraduate Year 3 graduating this year:

  • Trimester B formal examinations taken on campus have been cancelled
  • Alternative assessments are being put in place. These will be available on GCU Learn.
  • Your overall profile will be reviewed to ensure that any potential impact the epidemic has had on your overall performance is identified and adjustments will be made if necessary (our no detriment approach).
  • Module performance will be analysed in relation to previous cohorts to ensure that any potential impact the epidemic has had on module results is identified and adjustments will be made if necessary (our no detriment approach).
  • Merit and distinction decisions will be taken in line with current criteria
  • All submission dates have been extended by one week. If anything further is required please ask your module leader.
Undergraduate Year 3 (progressing to honours next year)

As in most universities, Undergraduate Year 3 progressing to honours next year:

  • Trimester B formal examinations taken on campus have been cancelled
  • Alternative assessments are being put in place. These will be available on GCU Learn.
  • Your outcome in Trimester B will be reviewed to ensure that any potential impact the epidemic has had on your overall performance is identified and adjustments will be made if necessary (our no detriment approach).
  • Module performance will be analysed in relation to previous cohorts to ensure that any potential impact the epidemic has had on module results is identified and adjustments will be made if necessary (our no detriment approach).
  • Merit and distinction decisions will be taken in line with current criteria.
  • There will be no detrimental effect on the overall classification of the degree you are awarded due to COVID-19.
  • Progression and award boards will recognise exceptional circumstances of COVID-19 in making their decisions.
  • All submission dates have been extended by one week. If anything further is required please ask your module leader.
Undergraduate Year 4 (honours year)

As in most universities, Undergraduate Year 4 honours year:

  • Trimester B formal examinations taken on campus have been cancelled
  • Alternative assessments are being put in place. These will be available on GCU Learn.
  • We will ensure there will be no detrimental impact of COVID-19 on your Trimester B module assessments by reviewing your performance across the whole course
  • Your overall profile will be reviewed to ensure that any potential impact the epidemic has had on your overall performance is identified and adjustments will be made if necessary (our no detriment approach).
  • Module performance will be analysed in relation to previous cohorts to ensure that any potential impact the epidemic has had on module results is identified and adjustments will be made if necessary (our no detriment approach).
  • Honours degree classification decisions will be carefully scrutinised to ensure that any potential impact of the epidemic has been mitigated
  • We will protect the quality of your award
  • We will work to ensure that you can continue to demonstrate that you meet the requirements of professional, statutory and regulatory bodies.
  • All submission dates have been extended by one week. If anything further is required please ask your module leader.
Taught Masters and Professional Doctorate

As in most universities:

  • Trimester B formal examinations taken on campus have been cancelled
  • Alternative assessments are being put in place. These will be available on GCU Learn.
  • Your overall profile will be reviewed to ensure that any potential impact the epidemic has had on your overall performance is identified and adjustments will be made if necessary. (Our no detriment approach).
  • Module performance will be analysed in relation to previous cohorts to ensure that any potential impact the epidemic has had on module results is identified and adjustments will be made if necessary.
  • Merit and distinction decisions will be taken in line with current criteria.
  • All submission dates have been extended by one week. If anything further is required please ask your module leader.
Student FAQs fees and financial support

Can I claim any tuition fees back because of the impact of COVID-19?

No, the University will not be offering compensation for tuition fees due to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). Module delivery will restart online from 23 March 2020.

Will I be required to pay any additional fees for any catch-up period I will be required to undertake to complete my current modules?

No, additional fees will not be charged for any catch-up teaching, including placements, which you will be required to complete before the start of the session 20/21

I am an international student and I am having problems paying my fee instalments, what should I do?

Please email arstudent@gcu.ac.uk, explaining your current situation.

My income has been stopped or reduced as a result of coronavirus and I am having difficulty paying my bills and rent. Is there any financial support available to me?

There are several routes for students to explore.

Our Student Funding webpages detail a number of ways to reduce your bills and how to budget. However, if you are still struggling financially, there are funds that you can apply for at this time to support you, including:

SAAS is currently developing a number of enhanced support measures with the Scottish Government for students, in recognition of the immense period of uncertainty across the sector. We will publish information on these measures on our coronavirus webpages as soon as it becomes available.

Will there be any changes to SAAS fee payments, Student Loans or Disabled Students Allowance as a result of the current situation?

SAAS has created a list of Questions and Answers relating to higher education funding in Scotland. The list includes help with payments, funding, placements, study abroad and the DSA. English, Welsh, Northern Ireland, EU or International students should contact their “home” funding bodies in the first instance to discuss any questions.

Can I claim a refund on my University accommodation as I have moved out to go home during this coronavirus outbreak?

The University has decided to release all residents with effect from 24 March to the end of their rental agreement with the University. For students with an outstanding balance up to this date, this will be collected across April and May in the normal manner. However, where a refund is due, the University will process this as quickly as possible. Please be reassured that, if needed, you may continue to stay in residence.

I live in private rented accommodation and, in order to issue a refund, my private provider/landlord requires proof from the University that I no longer need to be in Glasgow for my studies. Where can I get this?

You should contact the coronavirushelpline@gcu.ac.uk to request a letter from the University.

I have received childcare funding from the University for Tri B, do I have to pay this back?

We are liaising with SAAS on this matter and we will update you when we have further information.

Who do I contact if I have another funding query?

Please email funding@gcu.ac.uk with any additional questions.

Student FAQs Caledonian Court

Information for all Caledonian Court residents

I am a resident of Caledonian Court; will I receive a refund for the rest of my rental agreement?
The University will release all residents from their rental agreement with effect from the 24 March. All refunds, if applicable, will be made to residents, as quickly as possible.

Information for students planning on leaving Caledonian Court

What should I do if I want to leave Caledonian Court?

It is really important that we have up-to-date information on who is remaining in the residence. So, if you are leaving please email accommodation@gcu.ac.uk to advise of when you are planning to leave and drop your keys at the Security Office located at Caledonian Court.

I am planning to leave Caledonian Court. How do I get home?

The Department of Education has confirmed that student travel home is considered ‘essential travel’. However, students should only return home if they are able to do so safely. We also urge students to check the latest Government advice on travel and to follow it carefully.

Is it okay for a family member collect me from Caledonian Court?

Should a family member wish to collect you, they can do so. However, please ensure the following is adhered to:

• The Security Office is informed of the arrival of your family member.
• Social distancing rules are applied when your family member arrives.
• They should not have contact with anyone else staying in your residence.


Information for students who have left Caledonian Court

I have left Caledonian Court, removed all property and handed my keys in. Do I need to do anything else?

You are not required to do anything further.

I have left Caledonian Court, however, I have left property and personal effects behind; what do I need to do?

Please email the accommodation office to provide this information. Moving forward, when Government guidance says that it is safe, you should return to collect your property and personal effects and return your room key.

I have left Caledonian Court, however, I still have the keys to my residence. How do I return these?

Please email the accommodation office and thereafter return the key by post addressed to Campus Security.

 

Information for students planning to remain resident at Caledonian Court

I plan on remaining at Caledonian Court; will I be allowed to do so?

Yes, Caledonian Court will remain open and measures have been put in place in accordance with Government guidance to provide a safe environment for students who need to remain in the residence.

I don’t know whether I should return home or stay in Caledonian Court?

Given the rapidly changing situation, and Government guidance regarding ‘essential travel’, it is recommended that if safe to travel home then you do so. We know this is not an option available for some students, including those who are on placement, those impacted by international travel restrictions and those who do not have a permanent home base.

What do I do if I need to self-isolate while staying at Caledonian Court?

If you show any symptoms, the Scottish Government has advised that you should self-isolate for at least seven days. You should refer to NHS guidance.

Students staying at Caledonian Court must contact the Security Office (0141 331 3958/3787) to advise that they are self-isolating as well as informing the Coronavirus Student Helpline at coronavirushelpline@gcu.ac.uk

What support is available to me if I need to self-isolate?

For anyone who may require to self-isolate and seek support, please contact the Security Office (0141 331 3958/3787) who will liaise with Student Services to make an assessment on an individual basis.

Our recommendations to students who are required to self-isolate include using online ordering of groceries and carry-out food deliveries, together with the practical assistance that may be safely provided by fellow students.

The University will provide practical wellbeing advice but, is, however, unable to provide food or other supplies.

If I stay in Caledonian Court will I be required to move flat or room? 

Students will continue to reside within their allocated room. However, in the future, we may require some students to move during this period of social distancing and/or for students who are self-isolating. If this is the case we will contact you with further information.

If I have any questions about my residence in Caledonian Court, who should I contact?

You can contact the Accommodation Office via email at accommodation@gcu.ac.uk
In the case of an emergency, please contact the Security Office on 0141 331 3958/3787

What is the University putting in place to support my wellbeing while I remain a resident of Caledonian Court?

The University has developed a number of resources to assist our residents staying in Caledonian Court at this time. Further information on this can be found by clicking here

Student FAQs graduation and graduation ball

Graduation ceremonies

Will graduation ceremonies go ahead in July 2020?

Following guidance from the UK and Scottish Governments, and in order to safeguard the
health and wellbeing of students, staff and visitors, the University has taken the decision to
postpone all of its graduation ceremonies that were scheduled to take place in July 2020 at both
our Glasgow and London campuses.

We know that this will be deeply disappointing to many. However, the safety of our students, staff
and visitors is paramount and we do hope that you appreciate and understand the reasons behind
this difficult decision.

Students due to graduate at these ceremonies, if eligible, will now receive their degree parchment
by post to their home address, which we are aiming to undertake by the end of July.
All students eligible to graduate in the summer will be invited to attend a ceremony at a future
date.

Will I still be awarded my degree despite the ceremonies being postponed?

Yes. The University will make sure that all eligible students graduate in the summer and receive
both their letter of award (confirming the degree that the University has granted them), and their
transcripts (confirming the modules and marks achieved as part of the degree, and some wider
achievements within the University).

We aim to print degree parchments and have these posted to your home address by the end of
July.

Will I have an opportunity to attend a ceremony in person?

The graduation ceremonies in July 2020 are postponed to protect students, staff and visitors
from the coronavirus – your health and wellbeing will always be our priority.
We know how much graduation means to graduates, their families and our proud staff. All those
who are due to graduate in the summer will have the opportunity to don their robes, take to the
stage and celebrate their achievements with friends and loved ones at a later date. Details of the
rescheduled ceremonies will be shared once confirmed.

When will the dates for the new ceremonies be confirmed?

The University will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and will confirm revised
ceremony dates as soon as we are able to. We will ensure that sufficient advance notice of the
dates is provided to enable graduating students and their families to make plans to attend.

Will I receive an invitation to the new ceremonies once the dates have been confirmed?

Yes. The University will contact you by email and information will also be published on our
website and via social media.

I have already registered to attend graduations in the summer, do I need to inform you that I
will no longer be attending?

No. No further action is required.

I have not registered to graduate yet, should I?

All students who are due to complete their studies this calendar year will have received an
invite to register to graduate. If you have not already done so, you should register asap. The
deadline to do so for all ceremonies in 2020 is May 1.

If you have not received an invite to register, please contact the Graduations Team:
graduation@gcu.ac.uk

I have hired my academic dress and/or booked gradation photography services from Ede &
Ravenscroft. How do I arrange a refund?

For the small number of students who have already placed an order with Ede & Ravenscroft for
the summer ceremonies, Ede & Ravenscroft will be in touch with you directly to offer a refund or
carry your order forward to any future ceremony.

I am an international student and my visa might have expired, will I need a new one?

If your visa has expired at the time you attend a future ceremony, you and any family members
travelling to the UK for the purposes of attending a ceremony will need to apply for a Standard
Visitor Visa. Information about these can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/standard-visitor-visa

How will I be contacted when the ceremony has been rescheduled?

All correspondence will be via email to your GCU and personal email addresses. Information
will also be published on the University website and social media.

Will the University reimburse me for any travel costs?

The University recognises that cancelling your graduation ceremony may have affected your
travel arrangements. While we are sympathetic to your circumstances, the decision to cancel, due
to the outbreak of COVID-19, was taken to safeguard the health of our students, the families and
friends of graduating students, our members of staff and the general public. The outbreak itself is
outside the University’s control and we cannot offer you compensation for any ancillary costs
incurred in preparation to attend graduation.

We would advise you to contact your travel provider for information on cancelling or delaying
travel. Similarly, if you have travel insurance, we would advise you to contact your provider for
information regarding the extent of your coverage in these circumstances

Graduation ball

Will the graduation ball go ahead in July 2020?

The graduation ball taking place at the DoubleTree by Hilton on Saturday 11 July will not go ahead and has been postponed. The University will explore plans to hold another ball at a later date. 

Will I get a refund for any tickets for the ball that I have purchased?

The University is working through how best to manage the process of refunding those who have purchased tickets for the graduation ball.  We will provide details as soon as possible but we aim to refund all affected students by the end of April.

Frequently asked questions for students

What is open on campus at present?

The Sir Alex Ferguson Library will be closed from 5pm on 17 March. Many resources will continue to be available online. 

In light of the Prime Minister's announcement on 23 March, the IT facilities that were available to students at the Learning Café on our Glasgow campus will be closed as of 24 March until further notice. This is the same for the facilities that were available to students at our GCU London Campus. 

Only essential staff will be allowed on campus. Thank you for your understanding.

I'm an international student, can I leave to travel home?

Yes, if it is safe to do so and the home country is accessible.

If you have returned home, or you are in the UK, you should continue to engage with your course through the online learning arrangements that have been put in place.

The government announced on Sunday 10th May that people arriving into the UK from overseas will soon need to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

The VISA Team understands that some international students have already travelled back home in light of COVID-19, and some are in UK but intend to travel home soon.

If you are an international student in UK and wish to exercise your right to travel home, you should be aware of the likelihood that you will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon your return to UK.

Prior to any travel outside of UK, it is also important that you review your home government quarantine requirements as well as the requirements of any countries you may transit through. Any travel outside of UK made during this time is at your own risk and you should be aware of the potential requirement to self-quarantine both in the UK and overseas.

In order for GCU to ensure continued supported to students throughout this time, it is very important that all international students who intend on leaving UK complete the COVID-19 International Student Travel Form and provide the requested information before sending this to visa@gcu.ac.uk.

Form also accessible by clicking this link: COVID-19 International Student Travel Form

Please note the VISA Team will share this information with your Programme Co-ordinator, to ensure that remote-learning will remain possible both whilst you are outside of the UK (taking into consideration any time-zone differences), and also during any required period of self-quarantining upon your return to UK. This will also allow your Programme staff to arrange any additional support you may require throughout this time.

If you are an international student on a Tier 4 visa, it is extremely important you inform the VISA Team of any travel outside of UK at this time, and keep us updated on any changes to your plans. We also ask those on Tier 1, 2, and 5 visas to complete this form, to ensure you receive necessary support and guidance.

Please get in touch with the VISA Team directly on visa@gcu.ac.uk if you have any questions or concerns.

What if I can't travel home?

For international students who stay with us at our Glasgow campus and cannot return home, as well as care experienced students who remain on campus, we will continue to support you throughout where possible.

Please complete the Tier 4 Checkpoint Data Table sent to Tier 4 Students, in order to advise the VISA Team if you are currently in the UK and unable to travel at this time.

Will this have any implications on my visa?

Any student who is worried about visa implications of the coronavirus should contact the University’s VISA Team. The Home Office understands that in many cases these implications are because of circumstances outside of your control and arrangements are being made to support people. As the situation evolves, the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will be best placed to offer you the most up-to-date advice.

If you have returned to your home country, or intend to leave the UK due to the COVID-19/coronavirus, your Tier 4 sponsorship will not be withdrawn as a result of you leaving the UK during your studies. You should inform the VISA Team of travel so we can support you.

Online learning and your Tier 4 visa conditions

The Home Office has stated that it will lift the prohibition on online/distance learning for a period of time. This is still subject to Ministerial approval and we expect confirmation imminently. This means that you can access online/distance learning and are not breaching your Tier 4 conditions. Please continue to engage with your course through the online learning arrangements.


Tier 4 Checkpoint

In order for the VISA Team to support you, we require all Tier 4 Students to complete their Tier 4 Checkpoint Data Table, confirming your current location and contact details - please check your University email account as details of this have been sent to you. You can also contact visa@gcu.ac.uk (Glasgow students) or visa@gculondon.ac.uk (London students) if you require further information about this. 

We require a record of this so we can support your return to the UK in future. This process also replaces the mandatory bi-annual Tier 4 Checkpoint (March 2020) as students are currently unable to attend the campus in order to complete the usual process.

Visas Expiring between 24 Jan - 31 May 2020

For any students currently in the UK with a visa expiring between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020, UKVI has confirmed your visa will be extended to 31 May 2020 if you cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19). You must contact UKVI to request this - please ensure you contact the VISA Team also to ensure the correct process is followed and the University is kept up to date with your visa. This is not exclusive to Tier 4 students and applies to all studying at the university on any visa. 

UKVI is also expanding the options for switching visas in-country on a temporary basis. Please see information in UKVI links below or contact the VISA Team if you require further information.

Please read the UKVI published guidance for further information:

 

Information for GCU-sponsored Tier 4 students, Tier 2 employees, and Tier 5 temporary workers

 

The Home Office and UKVI recently published new guidance in relation to Coronavirus (COVID-19) for Tier 2, 4 and 5 visa sponsors, to help minimise the negative impact caused by the current global pandemic. The VISA Team have provided information on their website which summarizes how the changes may impact you as a GCU-sponsored Tier 4 student, Tier 2 employee, or Tier 5 temporary worker.

The VISA Team will continue to provide relevant visa-related COVID-19 updates as they become available. If you are a prospective or current international student with a visa, please visit their website and follow the VISA Team on Facebook and Twitter to keep informed of the latest UKVI updates.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has some really useful guidance for International students living in the UK on their website.

What should I do if I’m concerned about myself or a fellow student?

If you show any symptoms, the Scottish Government has advised that you should self-isolate for at least seven days.

If symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after seven days then you are advised to phone your GP or NHS24 (111).

For all student coronavirus concerns, you can also use our dedicated helpline on +44 141 331 3130. The helpline is available from 9am - 5pm, Monday to Friday.

If you are concerned about a fellow student, please make them aware of this advice if practical to do so.

I'm looking for a letter from the University to give to my private landlord. Who do I contact?

We realise that many students will have signed rental agreements with private landlords and providers but have now returned home.

Please contact studentrecords@gcu.ac.uk and ask for a letter stating that you no longer need to be in Glasgow for your studies. This may help with trying to recoup a refund on rent. 

Who do I contact if I don't have the resource at home to complete online learning?

Please email scholarships@gcu.ac.uk with the following information:

  • Name
  • Student ID
  • Programme 
  • Level of study
  • Confirmation that you have wifi access at home
  • Email address

Frequently asked questions for researchers and research students

Attendance, remote working and access to laboratories

Q. What do I do about attending work?

A. In line with the UK government’s advice, we are advising that anyone who can work from home, who is already equipped with the right technology and enabled with the necessary capabilities to practically deliver in a new way, should now do so. If you believe you can do this, you should agree with your line manager that this is the case.

Q. What about remote working?

A. This can involve Skype, WebEx, Zoom or MS Teams. For example, MS Teams is good for large groups, whilst, at the moment, Zoom is free for groups of six and meetings of up to 45 minutes’ duration. The IT Helpdesk can be contacted ithelp@gcu.ac.uk. All of the usual standards in terms of data security apply to home working, so make sure you are up to date on the online training and guides to handling special category/sensitive data. Wherever possible, sensitive data should be kept securely on campus. Where that is impossible, discuss with your principal investigator/supervisor. 

If possible, electronic data should be stored on University network drives so that it is held securely in the University’s IT infrastructure. This means that access is controlled and the data is available to appropriate staff/researchers. In cases where it is agreed that sensitive data can be removed from campus, staff have access to encrypted laptops/USBs which could hold electronic copies of the records that are scanned to secure files and shared. If physical records must be removed, then these should be redacted to remove any personal data. As well as obtaining copies of the data, a record should be kept of any personal data leaving campus such as when it was removed, who has it and where it will be located when off-site.

Some basic guidance to researchers on the best practice to protect personal data when offsite, includes:

  • Keep the information and personal data securely stored away in your home when not using it
  • Do not disclose personal data or allow others in your household to access the personal data
  • Where possible, limit the amount you transport or travel with the data – keep it at home, don’t risk leaving it in your car, a café or public transport
  • If you lose the data or have reason to think it has been stolen, contact dataprotection@gcu.ac.uk immediately
  • Personal data should be disposed of securely. Documents must be shredded or disposed of via secure document disposal (which may mean returning them to GCU for disposal). Do not throw them straight in your household bin.

Q. What about access to laboratories?

A. For staff and PhD students, access for this week will be facilitated as per usual, but beyond 20 March, it is important to plan for remote working with your supervisor or line manager. Where this creates an issue of risk and/or resource (such as extra costs), you should discuss this with your postgraduate research tutor/associate dean research and, if necessary, escalate this to the Pro Vice-Chancellor Research. The first course of action should be to attempt to reorganise the project so that lab requirements can be factored in at a later date without any adverse effect on project timelines

Data collection, supervision, impact on Vivas, RDC2, and research project applications

Q. What about research involving data collection from human participants (such as via interviews) and in specialist laboratories?

A. For research involving human participants:

Unless clinically essential for treatment purposes, all (staff, PhD, MSc) current and planned data collection involving direct face-to-face contact between researcher and participant should be suspended and re-organised when the coronavirus outbreak is over. Where relevant, NHS research guidance should also be followed. Your Associate Dean Research should be notified if you consider suspension is not possible at this point.

  • Do not enter into participants’ homes. Older participants and those with health conditions might be voluntarily self-isolating. You might still phone them to check on them and to explain. Some data collection might be done remotely – so, again, talk to your research team. Principal Investigators (PIs)s and Directors of Studies (DoSs) should consider whether such alternative approaches to data collection, eg telephone/Skype interviews are feasible.
  • PIs should notify funding bodies of any changes in circumstances and copy in your Associate Dean Research and Mark Anderson, Director of the Research and Innovation Office. For health projects based in the School of Health and Life Sciences (SHLS), the Centre for Living and elsewhere, please copy in Lyndsay McDade, Senior Clinical Research Governance Manager. Lyndsay will offer support and advice regarding any required NHS approval amendments. Any impact on fixed-term contract researchers should be discussed with the funding body and if necessary, People Services, with outcomes notified to your ADR and HoD.
  • DoSs and research students should discuss reorganising work activities to be productive during any suspensions of data collection or lab access, such as drafting chapters, but seek advice from ADRs/PGRTs in the event of potential inability to produce the thesis as originally planned.
  • Indeed, any issues with regard to risk or resource should be raised with the ADR and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

For research in specialist laboratories, we request that this research is ceased for the time being and that PIs/ DoSs decide and agree with ADRs how to safely ‘cease’ experiments/data collection in a way that minimises risk, waste, and maximises the utility of the existing work. As with lab access, any requests for ‘exceptional continuation’ should be put to the Associate Dean Research in the first instance.

Q. Is there any guidance on what to do about research on COVID-19 or if wider aspects of research are impacted by COVID-19?

A. Guidance on issues such as amendments to existing studies (for example, because of exposure of or to patients) is available at the following sites:

Q. What about the supervision of researchers?

A. It is important that, as a supervisor and line manager, you follow the University guidance issued to line managers.

Q. What about Vivas for PhDs?

Doctoral viva examinations are now being held and planned as online vivas for the foreseeable future. We are arranging for remote administration of them according to these guidelines. View - Advice to postgraduate research students and supervisors on viva examinations during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Q. What about RDC2 examination?

A. You can now hold the RDC2 examination by videoconferencing. Guidelines on how to do this are available by visiting: Advice to postgraduate research students and supervisors on viva examinations during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Q. What about research project applications?

A. These will continue as usual, as we have, for the most part, now established an electronic system. We await any announcements from funders as to any changes in grant deadlines or anything else with regard to submissions. If in any doubt, you can contact the Research & Innovation Office at riegeneral@gcu.ac.uk or the individual emails listed on the website.

REF, position on pay-for-research students, contacts for help and advice

Q. What about the REF?

A. Preparations for the REF continue, but, as with all areas of our work, have been impacted by COVID-19.

On 24 March, it was announced that the REF submission date of 27 November 2020, would be postponed. 

There are three main implications of the announcement, as follows:

  • Submission delayed: We will be informed eight months before the new submission date. So, for example, if we were informed in January 2021, the new submission date would be August 2021. Of course, REF could make the announcement before the now-previous submission date (27 November 2020), meaning that it would not necessarily be delayed by eight months as such. For example, if, by some stroke of good fortune, things were easing by May 2020, and a new submission date was announced at that point, then it could be January 2021; so not amounting to much of a delay at all. The logic for eight months is likely that it is approximately eight months from the March 24 announcement to the previous submission date.
  • Census date remains the same: This is the date on which staff in all Higher Education Institutions, who will have outputs submitted to the REF, have to be in the post. It is currently 31 July 2020. At the moment, it seems sensible not to alter this date given that, as illustrated above, the delay may not be that long in effect. However, it may change in the future.
  • Pressure still on: Due to the potential for the effective delay not being that long and the unchanged census date, our current timetable still applies, although this is being discussed by our Research Continuity Group and our REF Management Group.

Q. What is the position on pay-for-research students engaged through the casual process, if any scheduled work is cancelled for reasons relating to COVID-19?

A. Line managers should work with their casual workers to understand if or ensure that current work commitments can be fulfilled. It may be alternative ways of delivering the work can be agreed if necessary. However, it is important to reassure casual workers that they will receive payment for any work they may be unable to deliver that is disrupted or cancelled for reasons relating to COVID-19. This includes engagements where there is a reasonable expectation of work based on previous agreements or commitments being made. Line managers must ensure the normal casual worker paperwork is processed in line with normal arrangements. People Services will work together with school-based Professional Services staff and department process owners to ensure any casual paperwork is processed. If you have any concerns regarding this, please contact CasualHours@gcu.ac.uk

Q. Who can help with advice?

A. We are working on plans for the ongoing continuation of research studies, supervision and research within the new context of social distancing. You will see further updates as we develop resources and guidance for remote working in research.

For research students, in the first instance, you should keep in touch with your supervisors and raise any concerns you may have to them. If supervisors aren’t sure of the answer, please both raise your questions/concerns to your Postgraduate Research Tutor (PgRT) and then to your Senior PgRT and/or your Associate Dean of Research.

In addition, the Graduate School will continue to help facilitate answers and solutions to your questions at any point through the graduateschool@gcu.ac.uk mailbox.

A flow chart of who can help can be found on the Graduate School website. A list of key contacts is available on the Graduate School website.

For staff researchers, please raise your questions/ concerns to your research group leaders and ADRs.

Coronavirus advice: Students with any questions, please contact the coronavirus helpline: +44 141 331 3130 (9am to 5pm, seven days per week) or you can email coronavirushelpline@gcu.ac.uk

Further information for staff and students is available via our dedicated web page. Wellbeing advice: Staff members with any questions or concerns can contact the staff well-being service at staffwellbeing@gcu.ac.uk.

Research students with any questions or concerns can contact the student well-being service at studentwellbeing@gcu.ac.uk.

Frequently asked questions for students on placements

I am a student on placement, should I continue to attend my placement?

Students should attend their placement unless they have been informed otherwise by their placement provider or academic school.

The University is in regular contact with all placement providers and will update students if and when the situation changes.

As is normal practice, students should avoid attending their placement if they are unwell and should use the normal absence reporting procedures for their academic school.

What should I do if my placement provider is closing?

Students should contact their personal tutor or level co-ordinator, so they can plan accordingly.

I have been in contact with a patient/relative with known or suspected COVID-19, what should I do?

The current guidance is that if you are well and are not showing any symptoms, there is no need for you to self-isolate and you should attend your placement as normal.

However, if you are living with someone who is showing symptoms, you should seld-isolate as per NHS Inform guidelines.

I am an AHP student on a Tier 4 visa. If I am asked if I want to opt in to work as a Health Care Support Worker (HCSW), can I do this?

Not at the moment. Though we are awaiting further guidance from the Home Office to clarify if AHP students who are studying in the UK on a Tier 4 visa can opt in to work as a HCSW. We will update the guidance and inform programme teams as soon as we receive this clarification.