Monthly Archives: May 2021


Upcoming Study Plus workshops

Our Study Plus scheme provides a range of free short-term courses and workshops which can enhance your graduate employability skills alongside your main subject specialism.

Get the most of our your time at Kent and develop your skills to enhance your CV.

Some highlights from upcoming courses include:

See full list of Study Plus courses and sign up.

New Director for Division of CEMS

Welcome to Professor Ben Cosh who joins the University as Director of our Division of Computing, Engineering & Mathematical Sciences in September. 

Ben is joining us from the University of Reading where he is currently Head of the School of Mathematical, Physical and Computation Sciences. 

Ben completed a PhD at Goldsmiths, working with Bill Jackson on Vertex Splitting and Connectivity Augmentation in Hypergraphs, before starting his career in FE teaching maths to students on BTEC, GCSE, A-Level and International Baccalaureate courses. 

On returning to Goldsmiths as a Lecturer, he taught undergraduate courses in Mathematics, wrote a Foundation Year programme for Computer Science and took significant responsibility for teaching quality assurance. 

In 2004, Ben joined the University of Reading as Programme Director for the Science Foundation Year. He was appointed Faculty Director of Teaching and Learning (in 2008), Head of the School of Systems Engineering (2010) and Dean of the Faculty of Science (2014), before becoming Head of the School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences in 2016. He has served on the University Boards for Teaching & Learning and Research, the Senate and the governing Council, and contributed to committees and working groups on all aspects of the University’s operation. 

Ben is married to Amy, and they have two boys aged 9 and 7. In his spare time, he enjoys walking in the Lake District, playing the guitar and piano, and failing to keep up with his wife in CrossFit workouts! 

On his new role at Kent, Ben says: ‘I am thrilled to be joining the Executive Group as Director of CEMS and I am very much looking forward to working with the Division’s outstanding staff and students.’ 

India flag

Solidarity with India event, 28 May

In empathy with the challenging situation in India associated with the pandemic, the University will be holding a ‘Solidarity with India’ event, which will take place on Friday 28 May at 13.00 UK time and 18.30 IST, via Zoom.

Solidarity for India builds on other web-based events which we have organised this year. We recognise that India is experiencing a particularly challenging period and we want to reach out in solidarity with our students, alumni and collaborators to show that we are thinking of you and continuing to support, whether you are currently on campus or overseas.

This event will also be supported by Mahesh Loganathan, President of the University of Kent International Student Network and member of our Indian community.

“I’m pleased to support this event with Dr Manning in order to acknowledge the very difficult time that students and stakeholders of the University are currently experiencing in India. I’m currently in Chennai and I can see first-hand the impact of the virus. Through this event we hope to demonstrate the University’s solidarity with India and reiterate the support available to students whether they are currently at home in India or in the UK.”

During the event there will be a series of uplifting and mindfulness activities and we will share details of how to gain support from our Students Union, Wellbeing Colleagues and Student Learning Advisory Service.

Please join us in solidarity with India!

Sign up for the event.

Juliette Patterson, Athena Swan Chair

Kent professor appointed Athena Swan Chair

Congratulations to Professor Juliette Pattinson, Deputy Director (People) in the Division of Arts and Humanities, on her new role as an Athena Swan Chair for Advance HE.

Juliette’s appointment by Advance HE reflects her commitment to promotion of the EDI agenda. Specialising as a gender historian, she has three degrees in Women’s Studies and History. She sits on the Editorial Board of Women’s History Review, and has previously served on the Steering Committee of Women’s History Network (2009-12) and co-edited its Women’s History journal.

As Deputy Director (People) at Kent, Juliette leads on probation, promotion, mentoring, appraisal and career development and is acutely aware of the pressing issues of equality, diversity and inclusivity.

As Head of the School of History (2015-2020), Juliette worked closely with colleagues in the submission of an Athena Swan Bronze, which was successfully awarded in 2017, making it just one of eight History departments in the country to hold the award. Her EDI work has also included organising International Women’s Day events, as well as women’s history outreach/aspiration-raising/recruitment events and helping the University to mark Black History Month, Disability History Month, Holocaust Memorial Day and LGBT History Month.

Commenting on her new Athena Swan Chair role, Juliette says: ‘I am delighted to have this opportunity to work collaboratively together to advance gender equality in the Higher Education sector and I hope this role will be to the benefit of the University of Kent in preparing future Athena Swan submissions.’

About Advance HE

Advance HE is a member-led, sector-owned charity that works with institutions and higher education across the world to improve higher education for staff, students and society. It has a particular focus on enhancing teaching and learning, effective governance, leadership development and tackling inequalities through its equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) work.

You can find out on the Advance HE website.

Woman in white tank top wearing a mask putting a bag in the boot of the car

Updated Staff Travel Policy

Following the UK Government’s recent relaxation of travel rules, our Procurement team has published an updated policy on staff travel during 2021-22.

The new policy states that staff should travel in the UK and abroad only where absolutely necessary and following detailed risk assessment and latest FCDO guidance.

Travel requests will have to be approved by your line manager or director. The expectation is that travel will be much lower in the financial year 2021-22 than in pre-pandemic years.

The new policy includes detailed information on what you need to take into account before you travel including:

  • Your health, safety and wellbeing
  • Insurance cover
  • Financial implications
  • Travel/border/visa requirements

Find out more

You can view the new policy now on our Procurement webpages.

Alumni Stories – Jaime Blakesley

Article by Rhys Higgins, Support Engagement Officer 

Alumna and University of Kent in America board member, Jaime Blakesley (Eliot, 2000), tells the story of how she became a volunteer vaccinator in her city, Chicago.

On December 15, 2020 Phase 1A of the City’s vaccination plan began. This included long-term care and other residential healthcare facilities and healthcare workers, most being vaccinated in January.

At this time there was a call out to all departments within the City for volunteers to work “on loan” from their regular duties to assist with the vaccination plan. Volunteers are from a wide range of City departments and sister agencies as well as non-for profit health and community organizations. It is a real citywide team effort organized by the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Over the December holidays volunteers were trained, Point of Distribution sites (PODs) were setup, logistics and other important details were put into place. By mid January six PODs located within currently unoccupied City College buildings were in operation five days a week.

Patient flow is in one direction to eliminate cross contamination. Volunteers take on various roles at each site and are trained to be as versatile as possible for tasks that are non-clinical such as registration and observation post-vaccination (all the vaccinations themselves are administered by nurses, paramedics, or clinical staff), for 8 hour shifts. Everyone is devoted to the mission of vaccinating as many clients as possible. I have been working on average two days a week at the clinics since January and have enjoyed meeting and assisting the healthcare and essential workers, senior citizens, and the members of the public that have come to the vaccination sites to date. It’s also been a fun change of pace from my regular duties as an environmental scientist and I have enjoyed getting to know my fellow volunteers from other sectors of City departments; from librarians to public planners to accountants.

As of March 3rd, the PODs had administered over 562,000 vaccines. I originally agreed to volunteer for 6 months or until needed. So many of us felt helpless during this pandemic that I was keen to accept an opportunity to contribute towards the effort to end it. I’m proud to have a small part in helping my colleagues, friends, and neighbours gain access to this vital vaccine and look forward to a return to some semblance of normalcy again soon.

Since then I have started work as the POD Coordinator at the United Center federal vaccine clinic location a couple days a week. The United Center site is one of four identical ones being helped by the Army in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The 101st Airborne Division is part of a 222-Soldier team, helping to administer close to 6,000 vaccines per day at the center for what was originally planned to be eight weeks; but was extended a few weeks longer. It is coming to a close next week.

I represent the City of Chicago as the POD Coordinator for the combined interagency effort with federal, state, and local government agencies on-site. Most of my daily tasks are assisting clients with appointments and checking them in before sending them through to the medics for their vaccination and also train and supervise volunteers. More than 289,000 shots have been administered at the United Center site. It’s been an honour to collaborate with everyone there, a true team effort.

New funding opportunity

Kent staff academics can access up to £15k with the Knowledge Exchange Opportunity Follow On Fund. Check your eligibility and apply before 2 June on the Knowledge Exchange and Innovation website.

Applications are now open to University of Kent academics for a short-term pilot programme follow on fund that develops Knowledge Exchange Opportunities.

The University’s Knowledge Exchange and Innovation (KEI) Department has launched its Knowledge Exchange Opportunity Follow On Fund to support follow on from Impact Case Study development  (Knowledge Exchange Impact Follow On) and recent Innovation funding applications (Knowledge Exchange Innovation Follow On).

Eligible projects are those developing from an Impact Case or from a recent Innovation Funding application (since June 2018) such as Innovate UK or EIRA. Projects can be funded up to £15,000 to help develop further, or understand the market for, a service, research or technology. The costing is for existing staff time, and no recruitment of new staff will be covered by the funding. Costing may include reasonable project specific consumables, access to existing equipment where justified and travel costs.

Applications are open from Tuesday 18 May 2021 with deadline 17.00 Wednesday 2 June 2021. This is a pilot for a short-term funding stream and all funding expenditure will need to be spent, and expenditure related project outcomes delivered before 31 July 2021.

Funding will be attributed on a competitive basis within the limitations of the funds available against Knowledge Exchange Opportunity. As part of the pilot process, consideration will be given to spread of funding across the six Divisions in order to fully evaluate uptake and outputs from such a fund for the benefit of the university as a whole. Decisions will be communicated by 9th June 2021.

To apply for the Knowledge Exchange Opportunity Follow On Fund, academics are encouraged to contact KEI’s Business and Industry Relationship Team via who will answer questions and support with the application process.

Vice-Chancellor’s update – May 2021

Dear Colleagues,

This week gives cause to reflect once again on an extraordinary year as we welcome the latest relaxation of the Government lockdown restrictions. Students across the country have missed out on so many experiences due to the pandemic, so it is now very encouraging to have more students on campus and the chance to look forward to something to celebrate together at KentSummer as things (hopefully!) relax further and exams are out of the way!

Balancing the desire to get back to some form of normality with a need to exercise caution as society opens up again has been at the forefront of my mind as we’ve prepared our plans for the next academic yearOpening our campuses in the autumn and prioritising face-to-face teaching where it makes a real difference are central to our plans – however, we have to balance this with keeping student and staff safety as our number one concern. Planning for large group lectures to remain online is key to this and will add agility to our planning, while allowing us to build on what we’ve learnt over the past year. I know we are having to navigate a range of views here but this approach does give us flexibility and will allow us to move quickly to adapt if we need to.

Covid continues to impact our wider planning and current budget setting too. As a large, complex organisation operating in what is still a global crisis we simply cannot predict all of the outside factors that could impact upon us next year, something which I appreciate is unsettling for everyoneIt remains an unstable time for the sectorrecruitment challenges both home and international have not gone away; regulation continues to increase and costs continue to escalate, alongside cuts in our core grants. However, the way we have collaborated in the face of adversity over the last year has shown the best of us as a university.

In addition, the discussions I know are underway to prioritise our strategic ambitions and target investment to deliver on our plan for a more sustainable and successful university are starting to bear fruit, and while we have challenges ahead it is really positive to start being able to look to the future again. I hope we can continue to work together in this spirit into next year.

I hope you are able to get a chance to meet up with friends and family over the coming weeks, whether inside or outside – and thank you to everyone working to keep both students and staff safe on our campuses.

With my best wishes to you and your families,


Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President

BioBlitz University of Kent

University of Kent’s first BioBlitz event, Saturday 29 May

On Saturday 29 May the Sustainability Working Group in the School of Anthropology and Conservation is hosting the University of Kent’s first ever BioBlitz! This is open to every staff member, student and member of the public, whether you are a biodiversity expert or complete novice!

What is it?

A BioBlitz is an interactive event where as many species as possible are recorded in a short period of time. At the University of Kent, we will be focusing on the Canterbury Campus and the event will run from 8.00-21.30. The data will be collected by experts and volunteers together, which allows the University to gain a better understanding of its biodiversity, and the public to take part in citizen science and learn more about conservation. It will be a fantastic day out in nature, learning about the species we have present here in Kent.

Learn more about what a BioBlitz is and why we are hosting one.

How to get involved

Find out all the information you need to know on our BioBlitz web page! Here you can check out the timetable and sign up to one of the biodiversity activities.

When you arrive on the day, head to the front of the Marlowe building on Central Campus, where you will find the central Hub. All activities will begin from this point including walks to survey amphibians, insects, birds, bats, mammals and plants. It is important that you sign up for these events ahead of attending so that we can monitor numbers and ensure your safety within COVID guidelines. However, should any activities be sold out, we still encourage you to attend should we have any dropouts.

Furthermore, if you don’t sign up to event but you’re spending time on campus on the 29, please tweet us pictures of any species you find and our experts will be on hand to identify them!

Keep updated

Be sure to follow the Sustainability Working Group social media for updates about the event. You can find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Students studying at picnic bench

What’s on this week: 17-23 May 2021

This week, from 17 May, England will transition to step three of the Government’s plan to ease lockdown restrictions. This means you can socialise indoors in a group of up to six people or two households, or outdoors in groups of up to 30.

Please be kind and considerate when meeting up with your friends. Many students have online exams this term, and it’s important they have a quiet and comfortable space to study and take their exams. 

Student WebChat on Friday 21 May, 13.00-14.00

Professor Richard Reece and colleagues from across the University will discuss the Summer Term, Kent Summer Fest and provide an update on the University’s plan for Autumn 2021.

Sign up for the Student WebChat


Kent Summer Fest is a fun-packed fortnight of events taking place 21 June – 2 July, arranged jointly with the University, Kent Union and GKSU.

You can look forward to outdoor cinema screenings, live music, street food from around the world and more! This includes lots of evening events so you may wish to stay on campus to make the most of what’s on.

Find out more about staying on campus for #KentSummerFest 

Events for you to try this week:

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