April 9, 2020, by Communications

Let’s try to establish a business-as-usual approach during the COVID-19 Closure Period

Your wellbeing remains the University’s absolute priority. I do hope this extended break over the Good Friday Easter weekend provides an opportunity to rest, recharge and enjoy the sunshine.

Many of you are aware that our University and higher education in Malaysia continue to face challenging times and the pandemic has resulted in significant pressures across our sector. Despite these pressures, Prof Graham Kendall, Provost, published an article in the Malay Mail this week on “Covid-19: Experiences, optimism of University of Nottingham Malaysia

We wish to reassure you that the University is very much aware of the pressures being felt in your professional lives as researchers. We are thinking through the options available to us at this time and working hard on behalf of our research community to assess the details. Some of the options will depend on the funder of your research, and on whether it is government, NGO or industry. We will soon be circulating a COVID-19 impact statement to all PGRs registered in years 1-3 and Principal Investigators who are leading externally funded research projects. This statement gives you the opportunity to evaluate the impact of the Closure Period on your research and to tell us about any severe disruptions that cannot be circumvented. We will draw up plans of action and communicate these with you soon to ensure that your questions are answered. Please raise any immediate concerns with your School/Dept Director of Research.

We’ve also put together some guidance notes that we hope you will find useful.

  1. Please email your research team and seek to understand how they are all managing to get set up to work from home (including IT equipment and internet access). Don’t hesitate to negotiate flexibility in-home working arrangements, for example, if staff/PGRs have childcare or other dependent responsibilities.
  2. Establish a pattern of regular contact with your research team. UNM is making full use of Microsoft Office teams and there are online training sessions available on how to use this software. Its also a good idea to share your contact details with all your team – mobile numbers for WhatsApp, Skype IDs, etc – so that it will be possible to continue regular supervision meetings via multiple options. It’s useful to set up a WhatsApp group in case of internet technical issues to ensure communication is maintained.
  3. Establish a regular work pattern. You might find it best to work for periods of an hour or so and then take a break. Please keep a logbook record of what you are doing, and organize a weekly meeting to ensure all is fine (even if very brief).
  4. Think of this period as a unique opportunity to develop important skills to become researchers who can perform at a high level in an increasingly challenging and turbulent environment. As the control on movement extends over time, you and your Supervisory team will need to find creative solutions to continuing your research activities, potentially in a novel form to that which was originally planned. So don’t rely on an extension to your research time. Instead think about active solutions to progress your research, such as looking for ways to reorganize and adjust your project.
  5. Graduate School is providing a range of online activities for PGRs and ECRs, including training and development.
  6. For all other queries, e.g. about continuing to perform essential research at the University, stipend payments & financial matters, annual reviews, please see this webpage which is being updated regularly.

Thank you once again for your dedication and thoughtfulness. I wish you, your family and friends the best of health, and, wherever possible, the fulfilment of time spent with loved


You might also be interested to follow the link below to read a COVID-19 update from Dame Jessica Corner, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research and Knowledge Exchange).

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