- 18 March 2020
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The RSB has been proactive in ensuring members, stakeholders and staff remain safe during the COVID 19 pandemic, and is monitoring Government advice closely to ensure all decisions are in line with expert advice.
The RSB has postponed a number of events in the coming months in response to advice regarding mass gatherings. These include this month’s All Branch Meeting, the Accreditation Conference and Awards Ceremony on Wednesday 29th April, and the RSB Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 6th May. We will aim to reschedule all cancelled events where possible, and updated information will be made available on the RSB website.
The RSB has also cancelled all external room bookings at its head office in London, and the majority of RSB regional branch events will be cancelled or postponed, pending review at the end of April.
Dr Mark Downs CSci FRSB, chief executive of the RSB, reiterated the need for communicating evidence-based information and analysis, and calls on members to use their expertise to help improve understanding: “Factoring new evidence and insights into policy and planning is the correct response to an evolving situation and we encourage constructive engagement with this.
“We must all strive to communicate and promote evidence-based information and analysis informed by expertise.
“We call on members and others to take part in the public discussions, using their expertise and knowledge wisely."
He also reiterates how key the biosciences are in helping address the pandemic, and how grateful the RSB is for all of tireless efforts of the biologists and healthcare professionals on the frontline: “As the coronavirus illness spreads, the importance of understanding the biology of it is clear.
“The extraordinary volume of information and knowledge already accumulated is a huge tribute to science and medicine, including an enormous collaborative community of bioscientists worldwide.
“Tackling the pandemic requires collaboration across so many sub-disciplines of our subject, as well as intersection with mathematical modelling, social science and clinical practice; it is clear that biology now, and in the future, is central to the communities in which we live.
“There is a great deal more to do, and RSB is enormously grateful for the many people working in an effort to manage this crisis.
"We wish you well and urge you to follow advice to keep yourself and others safe.”
As of the 16th of March, the RSB has taken the following actions to ensure the wellbeing of our staff, members and stakeholders:
- External room bookings at our Naoroji Street offices have been cancelled, with the next review of this policy at the end of April.
- All RSB meetings held at the RSB’s Naoroji Street offices will be held virtually as currently scheduled, or rescheduled.This will include meetings of committees and representatives of Special Interest Groups.
- The RSB’s AGM (scheduled to take place in May 2020) has been postponed, and we will shortly be contacting those who have booked to attend.
- Most RSB branch events will be cancelled or postponed, pending review at end of April; anyone who has paid to attend these will be refunded in full. Contact the appropriate branch committee with specific queries, and continue to check the RSB website for updated information on specific events.
- RSB head office staff will be working remotely pending review at the end of April. With the plans and facilities already in place, members, stakeholders and other partners should not notice any significant difference of the Society’s day to day business.