Author Topic: University Challenged  (Read 21681 times)

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #60 on: March 20, 2020, 02:28:03 PM »
Back at werk today but it looks like Embra might finally shut down the research institutes and let us lab rats go home next week- there is another emergency meeting on Monday.

This follows Cambridge, Imperial and UCL doing the same this week. Apparently UCL have even deactivated everyone's cards so no panicking researchers can sneak into the labs and do a cheeky Western blot or two.

We have access for some lab work but only critical stuff and even then prioritised. I may be out of a job before this ends! Crikey. Returning like a post-crash banker to clear his desk in a cardboard box

Blue Jam

  • Crabs is sewage-proof
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #61 on: March 20, 2020, 02:59:41 PM »
How did your interview go btw? Any possibility you could take the job in France when/if this all blows over?

Blue Jam

  • Crabs is sewage-proof
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #62 on: March 20, 2020, 03:37:31 PM »
Just had an email sent round from NHS Lothian asking if we can spare some rtPCR machines so they can use them for Covid-19 testing. Frankly they need them more than us right now, lockdown imminent here I reckon.

Also some suggestions that our Infection Medicine research facilities may be getting turned into temporary NHS support facilities.

Blue Jam

  • Crabs is sewage-proof
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #63 on: March 21, 2020, 09:45:52 AM »
Further to that, if any of my fellow nerds are still looking to make themselves useful, you might want to sign up as a volunteer for this:

http://crowdfightcovid19.org/

Lots of universities involved, only Sheffield and York in the UK so far but I'm sure more will join.

Johnny Yesno

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Re: University Challenged
« Reply #64 on: March 21, 2020, 11:10:48 AM »
Been meaning to mention this for a while and now seems as good a time as any. If you have a university log-in, you should be able to access something called Box Of Broadcasts via LearningOnScreen. It's basically a repository of recordings from all major TV and radio stations, 24 hours a day going back a decade or so and includes films broadcast on those channels. Fantastic for binge watching/listening to series.

Yes, I've using it for some time and it's good once you work out how to get the most out of the search function, the filtering bit initially being hidden from view. Importantly, you don't need a TV license to watch anything on BoB.

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #65 on: March 21, 2020, 11:15:35 AM »
How did your interview go btw? Any possibility you could take the job in France when/if this all blows over?

Wasn't an interview, merely a "raising awareness" exercise. They would be happy to have me, but coronavirus has hit everyone. Anyway, he asked me to send CV and details of a project I wish to collaborate on to him and his colleague I also know. His colleague was interested and pointed me in the direction of some open positions in Montpellier.

I'm ok out of work for a bit, but it doesn't look good. Worst case scenario - "Explain any gapes in your CV" CORONAVIRUS BASTARD.

Johnny Yesno

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Re: University Challenged
« Reply #66 on: March 21, 2020, 11:21:30 AM »
Meanwhile, the dean has put out an email asking people to stop looting their offices of their PCs and monitors -- apparently security is having a field day nabbing people who are loading up their cars with uni equipement to work from home. It's not funny, but the thought of a bunch of tweedy looters is making me laugh.

Heh! Yesterday was a good day to be a looter. My workplace is now closed to all but essential staff.

However, our employers have responsibilities to take reasonable steps to make sure we can use DSE in compliance with health and safety regulations (and GDPR, for that matter). Thankfully, as long as we tell our managers what we've taken, we can take what we need. This is sensible.

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #67 on: March 21, 2020, 11:22:35 AM »
Further to that, if any of my fellow nerds are still looking to make themselves useful, you might want to sign up as a volunteer for this:

http://crowdfightcovid19.org/

Lots of universities involved, only Sheffield and York in the UK so far but I'm sure more will join.

Thanks, done. Also sent it to a colleague who works with phages, but I guess any little knowledge/skill or activity can potentially help.

Blue Jam

  • Crabs is sewage-proof
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #68 on: March 22, 2020, 12:48:03 AM »
At werk on Sunday. Quite pissed off because I strongly suspect that we'll be on lockdown from Monday and there'll be no point in me continuing a time-consuming experiment with expensive human cells when I'll just have to bin it the next day.

Got an email with an update for all staff and students: Admin staff- werk from home, you'll be fine; Students- you can access your lectures online- don't worry, stay safe; Lab-based researchers- we appreciate that you all just want to get on with your experiments- oh FUCK OFF, right now I'd be happy to let the whole lot burn.

Alberon

  • His heart is an empty fridge
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #69 on: March 23, 2020, 12:54:21 PM »
So we were due to be doing half day shifts in my team at uni (well, half of us as the other half are having to self-isolate already). My colleague was in this morning and I was due to do the afternoon shift.

But then Mrs Alberon came down with a virus (not seriously ill, thankfully) so I’m on lockdown for two weeks. Now our boss has abandoned the half day plan as virtually no one else is in which makes our job pointless. So we’re all working from home for however long this goes on.

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #70 on: March 23, 2020, 01:01:05 PM »
A lot of international alpha smart men are already talking about the forthcoming conference in the Swiss alps being done virtually. I don't know where they get the energy.

Blue Jam

  • Crabs is sewage-proof
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #71 on: March 23, 2020, 10:33:47 PM »
Had an email advising that our liquid nitrogen plant rooms will be shut down, because no-one is supposed to go into one of those things alone and that makes them impossible to operate while practicing social distancing. That's us cell culture peeps rendered utterly useless then, but still waiting to be told we can stay at home.

One of the profs here tried to keep his group coming in but allegedly there was something of a mutiny where everyone put their foot down and he eventually caved in. I'm in a much smaller group with a more junior PI who is understandably more worried about publications and grant application deadlines the REF, but those will all be getting put back, I'm sure.

Thankfully I have a bit of a cough right now- probably not the 'vid but it's enough to keep me at home.

greencalx

  • Never knowingly knowledgeable
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #72 on: March 23, 2020, 10:37:49 PM »
Did you not get the 5.22 email saying that only essential services are running from tomorrow?

Blue Jam

  • Crabs is sewage-proof
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #73 on: March 23, 2020, 10:41:09 PM »
Did you not get the 5.22 email saying that only essential services are running from tomorrow?

Nope, got one at 5.33 saying the main library will be closing but no major announcements after that! Will check the Covid-19 page on the site now...

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #74 on: March 23, 2020, 10:44:31 PM »
Nope, got one at 5.33 saying the main library will be closing but no major announcements after that! Will check the Covid-19 page on the site now...

Christ sake BJ, do you wait for work to tuck you in at night before going to sleep?

greencalx

  • Never knowingly knowledgeable
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #75 on: March 23, 2020, 10:48:26 PM »
Nope, got one at 5.33 saying the main library will be closing but no major announcements after that! Will check the Covid-19 page on the site now...

Same one. Section under social distancing:

“ At this stage we can confirm that only “essential-services” should operate on campus from tomorrow. We recognise that this will require actions over the next 24 hours to support a safe transition.   
 
Essential services include campus-based research related to Covid-19 as well as services which support NHS clinical activities, our student accommodation, data centres and animal welfare.”

Maybe you support nhs clinical activities, but I have a feeling you don’t.

greencalx

  • Never knowingly knowledgeable
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #76 on: March 23, 2020, 10:49:00 PM »
(Not getting at you btw, the uni corporate messaging tends to look content free even when it isn’t)

Blue Jam

  • Crabs is sewage-proof
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #77 on: March 23, 2020, 10:52:27 PM »
Christ sake BJ, do you wait for work to tuck you in at night before going to sleep?

Hahaha, kind of. It's the combination of working for a good but relatively junior PI who badly needs more publications and more funding and is panicking, and working at a research centre headed up by a prof who is trying to be stern and crack the whip in the face of all this and seems to think that closing would be an admission of defeat rather than common sense.

Thanks for the info there, greencalx, I checked the site and it mentioned the possibility of staff being temporarily redeployed to work of the same grade which can be done from home. I'd genuinely like to get put on coronavirus research duties though.

greencalx

  • Never knowingly knowledgeable
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #78 on: March 23, 2020, 10:54:54 PM »
Have you seen this: https://edinburgh.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/covid-19-testing-specific-expertise

Oh, and fuck the PI. (Not literally, of course). That’s their problem, not yours.

Blue Jam

  • Crabs is sewage-proof
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #79 on: March 23, 2020, 10:55:36 PM »
Nah, my PI is actually a nice guy and a good boss in general. He's panicking because his other staff and students are high-risk and off work now, and he's got young kids, leaving me as the only one who can be in the lab for long periods of time. Priorities though- he needs to stop panicking and realise there's no point in werking now and go and enjoy some time at home with his family.

The Prof, on the other hand...

(Not getting at you btw, the uni corporate messaging tends to look content free even when it isn’t)

I know- and tell me about it: the first thing I do every morning when I get to werk is spend 5-10 minutes deleting all the pointless-looking emails, so there's bound to be some important ones I miss.

greencalx

  • Never knowingly knowledgeable
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #80 on: March 23, 2020, 10:59:13 PM »
I know- and tell me about it: the first thing I do every morning when I get to werk is spend 5-10 minutes deleting all the pointless-looking emails, so there's bound to be some important ones I miss.

The best one yet was the one entitled “student travel options” which announced the removal of an important travel service for staff.

Blue Jam

  • Crabs is sewage-proof
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #81 on: March 23, 2020, 11:03:49 PM »
Oh yes, I think everything sent to the student mailing list goes straight to Trash, along with all the newsletters. No wonder I missed it.

I opted out of our social mailing list after about two weeks- no thanks, I don't want to buy a pair of size 4 stillettoes even if they are hardly worn, and I don't want two tickets for Clannad at the Usher Hall either.

Been here since 2011, email has always had a problem with the signal-to-noise ratio.

Re: University Challenged
« Reply #82 on: March 24, 2020, 08:33:24 AM »
The Principal has sent out an email stating that we shouldn’t work this Friday or next Friday, turn off the computers and phones and do stuff with the family.

The academics are wrecked doing tutorials and labs via zoom all day, but things are holding together just.

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #83 on: March 24, 2020, 09:19:01 AM »
I'm kind of frozen, patiently waiting for my more senior collaborator in Canada to sign off on a first author manuscript submission, do I apply for that lectureship in Lahti, Finland which requires me to write a 4-7 page teaching portfolio, or do I try and edit the REF impact case study statement down from 15 pages to 4 when I know their draft is no way complete.

Or do I just watch some Law & Order SVU in my pyjamas

Blue Jam

  • Crabs is sewage-proof
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #84 on: March 24, 2020, 09:31:23 AM »
Workwise I've got fuck-all to do. Really hoping I get picked to do some Covid-19 research or some NHS volunteer work doing the testing, need to get my geek on.

In the meantime I've got my homebrew kit and I'll have some fun practicing a bit of aseptic technique with that later.

Also got my Arduino robot, think I'll get her out and see how I can reprogram her to do stupid stuff like flash up naughty words on her LED display.

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #85 on: March 24, 2020, 09:38:52 AM »
Some data from our Urban Observatory showing the effect of COVID-19 measures on foot and transport traffic in Newcastle

https://covid.view.urbanobservatory.ac.uk/#intro

and the Navy taking our PCR machines away...to Milton Keynes


Blue Jam

  • Crabs is sewage-proof
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #86 on: March 24, 2020, 09:58:52 AM »
Kewl... and "Urban Observatory", I like that, sounds like a Hosegate coffee shop but it's something so much better.

Also kindly pull rank and tell those Navy bods to get a trolley. I know they're all dead strong and that but thinking about how much those machines cost is making me nervous.

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #87 on: March 24, 2020, 11:17:56 AM »
Kewl... and "Urban Observatory", I like that, sounds like a Hosegate coffee shop but it's something so much better.

Also kindly pull rank and tell those Navy bods to get a trolley. I know they're all dead strong and that but thinking about how much those machines cost is making me nervous.

From the photos, looks like we're sending about 8 or 9. Wonder if there will be provision for PhDs after this ends.

Blue Jam

  • Crabs is sewage-proof
Re: University Challenged
« Reply #88 on: March 24, 2020, 11:35:24 AM »
NHS Lothian have assured us that all of our PCR machines will be returned in full working order or replaced with new ones, so yes.

Edinburgh have received £4.9 million of emergency state funding for coronavirus research so hopefully I'll get drafted in soon. Looks like they mainly want clinicians for the project though.

Puce Moment

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Re: University Challenged
« Reply #89 on: March 24, 2020, 11:53:21 AM »
Unusually, our Faculty Head has just emailed to thank everyone for being so flexible and turning teaching and assessment around so quickly and with such collegiate care. He noted that we are under intense psychological pressure and that we should not do more work than we can. If we feel stressed or anxious just down tools.

I'm amazed.

He might be a genius because it has had the affect of making me all productive and work happy today.

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