RSB and COVID-19
Last updated: 30 March 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.
Here is how the RSB is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, by area of activity:
The Royal Society of Biology appreciates that universities and individual departments may need to make adjustments at short notice as a result of the outbreak, and recognises that such measures will fall under the principle of force majeure with regard to meeting the requirements of degree accreditation.
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.
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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.
The Photography competition, the Nancy Rothwell competition and the Outreach and Engagement Awards will still be taking place as usual.
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.
The Biologist and publications
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.
The forthcoming April issue looks at ways to overcome global ‘vaccine hesitancy’, and the amazing work of Michael Levin, the Tufts University professor who makes ‘living robots’ or ‘xenobots’ from cultured cells.
You can already read The Biologist’s guide to the biology of SARS-CoV-2 online as an early digital publication ahead of the magazine’s arrival.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.