RSB and COVID-19
Last updated: 28 May 2020
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the RSB is working to adapt and ensure our services are still delivered to the greatest extent possible whilst also taking into account PHE and Government advice.
We are working with relevant bodies to ensure that we can appropriately use our networks to communicate key messages to members. Find out more:
- Sign up to our COVID-19 bulletin, which is free to members and non-members
- Online education resources for those who are homeschooling
- Programmes and projects looking for input and volunteers
- The Biologist interview series with experts in the field
- COVID-related resources published by other bioscience organisations
The RSB is encouraging its members and Fellows to complete our short survey to help us understand how the research community has been affected by the pandemic.
How the RSB is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, by area of activity:
The Biologist and publications
To assist during the pandemic, schools and colleges can access our digital archive for free until 1st October 2020.
Teachers can sign up and request access online via our publishers, and also access other magazines including Chemistry World, BBC History Magazine, BBC Science Magazine and The World Today.
The Biologist’s COVID Q&A series explores how life scientists around the world have sprung into action to help understand, track, and treat COVID-19 and the April issue features a guide to the biology of SARS-CoV-2.
Although the Society is working to ensure that there is no disruption to sending out print copies of The Biologist, we would like to remind you that you can also access your subscription digitally by logging in with your RSB credentials to the magazine website.
Online-only publication of the Journal of Biological Education and Emerging Topics in Life Sciences, and development and production of the Oxford Biology Primers series will continue subject to publisher updates.
The Royal Society of Biology has shared the following statements to Higher Education Institutions with degrees accredited by RSB, to provide reassurance to life science departments that changes to teaching and assessment that prove necessary should not impact on the accreditation of their degrees:
“The outbreak of coronavirus is an evolving situation that may require universities to take action in order to protect the health, welfare and safety of students and staff or to follow the advice of local or national authorities.
"The Royal Society of Biology appreciates that universities and individual departments may need to make adjustments at short notice as a result of coronavirus. The RSB would like to be clear that these measures will fall under the principle of force majeure with regard to meeting the requirements of degree accreditation.
"Universities and life science departments are responsible for ensuring that their approach to this situation upholds overall standards and mitigates impact on their students and the overall learning outcomes of their programmes.
"Accreditation requirements should be preserved where possible but should circumstances beyond the department’s control not permit this, temporary deviation from accreditation requirements is likely to be acceptable.”
RSB site visits due to take place after 15 March 2020 have been cancelled, these have been rearranged to take place online where possible. It may be necessary to extend this approach to all applications from September, if travel restrictions and social distancing requirements are still in place.
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The RSB has cancelled all external room bookings at its head office in London.
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All meetings are being moved to virtual meetings until end of May including all curriculum committee and primary curriculum advisory group meetings, and management, thematic, and learning and development meetings attended by ASE, IOP, RS, RSB and RSC.
Our Education Policy Advisory Group meetings are unaffected.
Events and regional activity
All in-person events have been postponed or cancelled until the end of August. Refunds for fee paying regional branch events will be processed in due course.
Suspended events include:
- All Branch Meeting (24th March)
- HUBS Annual Meeting (20th-21st April)
- Accreditation Conference and Awards Ceremony (29th April)
- RSB Annual General Meeting (6th May)
- Education Awards Ceremony (26th June)
- Pioneers of Biology: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (4th July)
- Pioneers of Biology: Lancelot Hogben (26th August)
We will aim to reschedule all cancelled events where possible, and updated information will be made available on the events pages.
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Client services for all existing clients continue as usual.
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Outreach and Engagement
All upcoming events and festivals in which we were due to participate have now been suspended in accordance to the organiser’s wishes and in line with Public Health England advice. We are in contact with key organisers and will update any partners and recruited volunteers as and when we know more.
We have suspended our second round of the Big Biology Day grants, and will be in touch with entrants in due course. We are still reviewing our Biology Week 2020 Outreach and Engagement grants for feasibility of delivery.
Teachers can register their students aged 16-17 for the Intermediate Biology Olympiad 2020. Students will need to be invigilated when taking the paper, either virtually by a teacher or at home by a parent/guardian.
We have launched a new bulletin for members and non-members covering the latest news and science behind the COVID-19 pandemic and response. To download the latest bulletin and for more information on how to subscribe to future outputs for free, visit the policy newsletter page.
We will continue our work to respond to relevant open consultations, inquiries and calls for evidence, including the current call for submission of nominations of Research Excellence Framework (REF2021) panel members, which remains open. To stay up to date on what we are working on, to find out more and to contribute, visit our Open Consultations page.
We have taken the decision to postpone the next round of Plant Health Undergraduate Studentships until 2021. We have arranged ten exciting projects to take place around the UK and will update our website with details in the spring of 2021, along with information about how students can apply to take part.
All Qualified Person interview assessments have been postponed until further notice. We will still be accepting new applications electronically but please expect a delay in processing and assessment timelines. We will be reassessing the situation on a regular basis and will resume normal procedure as soon as possible. For more information contact email@example.com
All RSB in-person training courses taking place until the end of August 2020 will be postponed, and where possible courses will be delivered remotely via online video conferencing. If this is the case you will be notified separately via email. This will be reviewed regularly based on official government guidance.
All RSB online training courses are still available as usual and can be accessed via myLearning.
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We will continue to support our membership of individuals and organisations as much as possible in changing circumstances, please keep in contact with us, and follow our social media for further updates.