Monthly Archives: December 2021

Rachel Christie – London Landmark Half Marathon

Article from Rachel Christie, Admissions Coordinator| Division of Human and Social Sciences 

Myself and my best friend of 13 years, Summer will be tackling the London Landmark Half Marathon on the 3 April 2022. We will be running for Strode Park Foundation where Summer is their Fundraising and Communications Assistant.

Strode Park Foundation are a local Kent charity that provide care and support for children and adults with disabilities. They believe in independence, well-being and choice, and promote these ideals throughout their care services, enabling people to live life the way they choose. We think this is a fabulous charity that deserves our support so please help us smash our target to help this deserving cause. This is such an important foundation to make a real difference to so many families and their community.

We are not seasoned runners at all so this is a real challenge for both of us, but we’re so excited to be doing it! We are completing the Couch to 5K app and are currently finishing up on week 5 and already noticed a real difference in our stamina and health. Once this is done we will move onto Couch to 10K! Our goal is £800 between us and we’re at 30% so far! I know it is an expensive time of the year so any donations or support are greatly appreciated!

Please see our JustGiving page.

£5 and £20 notes

Financial support (Christmas deadline)

This year has come with many difficulties. If you find yourself struggling financially, you are welcome to apply for financial support from the University. Please note the deadlines and university office closure dates below.

Kent Emergency Short Term Loan

You will need to have your application for the Kent Emergency Short Term Loan completed by 16.00 on Tuesday 14 December to receive any money by Christmas.

If you are eligible to apply you will need to log onto your KentVision Portal and select My Fees & Finance, Apply for funding, to apply for a KESL.

Other financial hardship packages

The other financial hardship packages are still available for students to apply but please be aware that any application may not be processed or finalised before Christmas. Students should therefore not rely on receiving any funds granted before the New Year for these packages.

Office closures

The Financial Aid Office will be closed from 16.00  on Tuesday 21 December 2021 and will re-open on Tuesday 4 January 2022.

human hand holding robotic hand

Future Human SRT – Sandpit debrief

A two-day intensive research Sandpit, held by the Future Human Signature Research Theme (SRT) in November, has resulted in two PhD Studentships and two seedcorn funding projects.

The Sandpit event brought together academics from five Divisions, who participated in facilitated discussions aimed at developing new inter-disciplinary research ideas and projects relating to human augmentation.

On the first day, participants discussed their hopes and aspirations for the Sandpits, introduced their experience and expertise, and exchanged initial ideas about exciting themes to develop. On the second day, the group prioritised research themes and spent much of the day refining these and working towards well-shaped projects that were shared with the wider cohort and benefited from their feedback.

From the two-day Sandpit, ten project proposals were developed and pitched to a selection panel comprising of the Future Human Theme Leads and Dr Tim Hopthrow from the Graduate and Researcher College. The standard was amazingly high, with all ten of the pitched projects demonstrating huge potential and exciting opportunities for follow-up.

The Panel identified two of the project teams to receive the two Future Human PhD Scholarships for the 2022-23 academic year, and a further two teams to receive seedcorn funding to run more contained projects. The projects are:

Future Human PhD Studentships

Decision design ecology and deciding whether or not to treat Simon Bailey, Larry Duffy, Raza Mikelyte, Connal Parsley, Daniel Soria

Taking a combined technology driven and patient-centred approach to the development of next-generation bladder cancer treatments Michelle Garrett, Jennifer Hiscock, Katrina Taylor

Future Human Seedcorn Funding projects

Exploring the use of static transport: its role in the life of the future human Samuel Smith and Katrina Taylor

Establishing user-led priorities for use of immersive technologies in palliative care Project team: Jim Ang, Rasa Mikelyte, and Samuel Smith

Quotes from Sandpit participants

‘As a new member of staff at the University of Kent, I was excited to be selected to take part in the Sandpit days. It was a great opportunity to network, and I enjoyed hearing first-hand about diverse areas of research colleagues at Kent are engaging in. Through the sandpits, I have become part of an interdisciplinary team, researching within a field I hadn’t imagined a few weeks ago. The Sandpits encouraged me to think outside the box and explore ways to apply my interests and expertise beyond my own academic discipline.’

‘As an interdisciplinary researcher, I often wonder if there are colleagues across the University who I could be collaborating with on ‘big questions’ beyond our individual fields. The Sandpit offered a concrete process for finding those colleagues and identifying questions in common. Over the course of two days, I ‘went with the process’ and became part of a collaborative group with diverse expertise, but a clear set of shared research interests—enabling us to frame a PhD project in the multi-dimensional way that is so important today. I also met many people I would like to talk to more in the future.’

Find out more

The Future Human Theme Leads will be running another research Sandpit, specifically for Early Career and Mid Career Researchers on 4 and 5 May 2022. More seedcorn funding will be available for the teams and projects formed at this Sandpit.

Please watch out for further communication and watch for updates on our website. The Future Human Blog provides more details about the projects that were pitched at the November Sandpit.

Dr Lex Mauger, Dr Sarah Hotham and Professor Aylish Wood |Future Human Leadership Team

Professor Clive Church PolIR

Condolences for Professor Clive Church

The University was very sorry to hear of the death of Clive H Church, Emeritus Professor of European Studies.

Clive joined Kent from the University of Lancaster in 1981 as Senior Lecturer in European Studies, affiliated with the then European Studies unit in the School of European Culture and Languages. He was promoted to a professorship in 1992 and became a member of the Department (now School) of Politics and International Relations in 1996. Upon his retirement in 2003, he was appointed Emeritus Professor.

A historian by background, Clive became a leading scholar of Swiss history and politics and of European integration. Among his numerous works are The Politics and Government of Switzerland (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), Understanding the European Constitution (Routledge, 2006 – with David Phinnemore), A Concise History of Switzerland (Cambridge University Press, 2013 – with Randolph Head), and Political Change in Switzerland (Routledge, 2016).

He was an active member of the Channel Tunnel Research Unit from 1986-1993, a co-founder of the Kent Centre for Europe (a Jean Monnet Centre), which was in operation from 2000-2010, and of the Centre for Swiss Politics, in operation from 2003-2016. He remained very much active past his retirement and was planning to write on external views of Swiss politics at the time of his death.

Outside academia, Clive was much involved in the local community. He was the founder of the Alliance of Canterbury Residents’ Associations, an organisation which is still important and active today. He was also a key member of the Campaign for Democracy in the Canterbury district, where his understanding of political issues and processes made a valuable contribution. As the same time he was active in Thanington, the part of Canterbury where he lived, writing a history of the area and contributing to the parish council.

He will be fondly remembered by all those who knew him.

We express our deepest condolences to his daughters, Hilary and Joanna, and partner, Clare, and their families.

Dr Paolo Dardanelli | Deputy Head of School of Politics and IR

Picture shows: Clive with his granddaughter, Claudia

A world without violence is possible. 16 days against gender-based violence. Consent. Get it. Fullstop.

Have you heard of the #ConsentGetIt campaign at Kent?

As the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence comes to an end, where are we as an institution?

Hopefully you will have noticed that lots of different staff and students from various teams and departments at the University of Kent all came together to declare their solidarity for the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence campaign. Most women who experience violence do so at the hands of a partner or potential partner. Eradicating violence against women means obtaining consent in all situations.

How is the University of Kent walking the walk on this issue? We have launched a sex-positive campaign to cultivate and strengthen a culture of consent in our community of staff and students. Everyone should be able to explore their sexuality with confidence, and we know that consent is key and necessary for all sexual activity. Getting consent might at first seem tricky so, we have created a consent webpage where you can learn about what consent is and read some tips on how to ensure you have it, and how you can give it clearly to your partner(s).

As a University and with the collaboration of Kent Union, we are actively working on making sure that we…

  • are transparent with you about our approach and response to sexual misconduct and harassment.
  • clearly inform you of the procedures, expectations, and actions taken within the university are.
  • give you all the information you need about the support we offer and how you can access it.

Check out our YouTube video on the launch of the Consent campaign at Kent:

Links mentioned in the video:

As part of our aim to be transparent with you and make sure you know where to get support, we have put together the following guides:

Will you help us put a full stop to sexual assault and misconduct? Join us in making our university the safest it can be – look up #ConsentGetIt on socials to see what activities are coming up soon.

Written by Filipa Paes, third year student, and Natalia Crisanti, Student Services staff 06.12.21

Templeman library from outside with two people walking by

Covid-19 update: Returning home, staying on campus for Christmas and Spring Term

From Professor Richard Reece | Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience

As we reach the final weeks of term, I would like to start by thanking you for your help in keeping our community safe with Covid-19 cases remaining low at the University of Kent.  

As you may have seen, further restrictions were announced yesterday in response to the national rise in Covid-19 omicron variant cases – this makes the additional guidance I shared with you last week on face coverings and testing all the more important. In the meantime, all face-to-face teaching and student support services will continue as they are for the rest of this term. 

More widely, I wanted to advise you on how to travel safely home for Christmas, highlight the support available to you if you are staying on campus for the winter break, and to let you know what you can expect in the Spring Term. 

Travelling home safely for Christmas 

The Government is asking that students take a lateral flow test before travelling home to help stop the spread of Covid-19. Please remember to add your test result to NHS Test and Trace, even if it is negative. We have testing centres on campus, where you can have a test or pick up an at home kit. Testing kits will also start being delivered to on-campus student rooms from today and should be completed by Tuesday 14 December to allow time for isolation before Christmas if needed.  

If you are planning to travel abroad, make sure you check the Government’s travel advice before you leave.

Staying on campus for the winter break 

If you are staying with us over the Christmas period, please can you let us know by completing the online form if you have not already done so. This will help us to support you over the break and let you know about festive activities. 

See our Christmas on campus webpages for facility opening times, events, and support.  

Spring Term plans 

Subject to Government guidance at the time, we plan to deliver most teaching in person from January 2022, including lectures. Most examinations will however, continue to be delivered online and we will provide more exams guidance in the Spring Term.  

Remote study is still available in the Spring Term for students who need it. Find out more about remote study online.  

When returning to campus for the Spring Term, the Government is asking that you take a lateral flow test before you travel. If you are returning from abroad, please check the Government’s travel advice before you make travel arrangements.  

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch by emailing  

Have a wonderful Christmas and I look forward to welcoming you back to campus in 2022. 

All best wishes 


Professor Richard Reece | DVC Education and Student Experience 

Apple Macbook Pro, iPad and iPhone and glasses on table

Updated Covid-19 Guidance: Working from Home

Last night the Government announced additional guidance taking effect across the country to help slow the spread of the new omicron Coronavirus variant. We have also subsequently received more specific information for Universities from the Department for Education on what this means for teaching for the rest of the year. In brief the guidance is that ‘providers should continue to deliver face-to-face teaching and staff can continue to attend work as necessary to deliver this. For other staff, there is a recommendation to work from home if possible’. 

In line with both of these updates, with the exception of staff involved in the delivery and support of teaching and direct student services, everyone who can do so should return to working from home from Monday 13 December until further notice.  As per the specific university guidance, all timetabled face-to-face teaching will continue until the end of term, with staff working from home outside of any in-person sessions. Essential campus support services such as security or mental health support will also continue in person under local team agreements.  

Christmas parties and on-campus activities 

Any non-essential on-campus meetings or gatherings should also be avoided where possible – many of these have already moved online or been postponed so do consider what is best based on what you have due to take place. I also appreciate that many of you will have planned off-site Christmas meet-ups before the end of term; bars and restaurants remain open as before so there is no need to cancel these, but again I’d ask you to consider what the best format is and how you can make these as safe as possible.  

I know this will be disappointing news and that lots of us have enjoyed returning to campus in recent months. This will also be a worrying time for many, particularly those who have a continued need to be on campus. I can only thank you for your continued assistance in supporting the national effort to keep each other safe and avoid further Covid restrictions in the future – as ever, the safety of our students, staff and wider community is our number one priority throughout. 

While cases regionally have been rising, those linked to the University remain low thanks to a combined effort across our community. We also have a number of additional health and safety measures in place. 

Face Coverings 

Everyone on campus is now expected to wear face coverings in all teaching spaces and communal areas, unless they have a medical exemption. Face coverings should also be worn in shared offices and other indoor spaces where social distancing can not be maintained. These are available free of charge from any student reception desk. 

Testing and Vaccines 

Regular testing remains key to keeping everyone safe, and those still coming onto campus should continue to take a Covid lateral flow test at least twice a week and report your results to the NHS onlineYou can get walk-in tests or pick up take-home kits from the Old Bank on our Canterbury campus or the Old Sports Hall at Medway, or order them online.  If you have symptoms or if you do test positive, you must self-isolate for 10 days from the day your symptoms started and get a PCR test as quickly as possible. Positive tests should also be reported to the University by letting your line manager know and via  

Vaccinations remain a critical part of stopping the spread of the virus – everyone who qualifies for a booster jab is strongly encouraged to get one if they can. 

Ongoing support 

As always, if you have any questions or need further support, please email You can also get free, confidential advice at any time via our Employee Assistance Programme. 

I know the continued impact of Covid-19 has made this a difficult year for all of us and that these additional changes late in the year will be disruptive – however, taking these additional steps should help all of us make the most the festive period and hopefully support wider efforts to return to normality as quickly as possible. 

The measures are due to be reviewed on Wednesday 5 January, so I will update again on where things stand after the Christmas break. 

With all best wishes,  


Professor Richard Reece | DVC Education & Student Experience

Fir tree in snow

Supporting you over the festive season

From Brenda Brunsdon, Occupational Health and Wellbeing Team Manager

The winter can be a difficult time for us human beings. Short days and long nights mean that we have less time in the daylight. This is made worse by the weather being cold so we’re not so inclined to venture out or spend time outside. Being out in the daylight is known to boost our mood and help us fend off depressive thoughts by stimulating our bodies to produce serotonin, one of our ‘happy chemicals’. Sunlight also helps boost the production of melatonin which helps us with sleep quality.

And then there’s Christmas. A winter festival that should help us relax, enjoy ourselves and have a positive effect on our wellbeing. And hopefully, that is what Christmas will be like for you this year. However, it also means a time when people spend too much money and party too hard. The intense atmosphere can give rise to arguments with family and partners; divorce solicitors know they will experience a spike in enquiries almost as soon as their services are open for business after the festivities.

Professionals working in the field of domestic violence acknowledge that Christmas is a particularly difficult time for those living in abusive relationships as the extended periods spent within the family can lead to more opportunity for aggression and cruelty. In addition, those with no family or friends to celebrate with can find themselves being overwhelmed by feelings of loneliness, longing for someone to talk to.

Our Employee Assistance Programme

If you find yourself affected by any of the issues outlined above, you should know that University staff can access support 24 hours a day through our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). This scheme is managed by Sodexho/Care first and provides easy access to expert help with both workplace and personal issues. You can phone Care first/Sodexho, free of charge, on  0808 168 2143 and get free and confidential advice from an information specialist or accredited counsellor.

You may prefer to access services through the Care first website. To log-in, use the username: uokent and the password: university. The website contains information on a host of subjects relevant to how we live our lives and the challenges we face. There is even an AI interaction available for those who are drawn to technology.

The EAP is not just for Christmas and New Year; it’s there any time you need help; contact details are exactly the same. Please, keep this information handy so it is there if you need it.

Brenda Brunsdon | Occupational Health and Wellbeing Team Manager

Tins of food and bottles of water been packed in cardboard boxes

Christmas on Campus? Donate to foodbank to support our students

Due to ongoing Covid restrictions, we are anticipating a larger than usual number of students remaining on campus over the winter vacation.

Many of these students were planning to spend the vacation away from campus and they will now need to extend their food budgets for a month longer than planned. Some students may also experience situational hunger or insecurity, while this period may cause others to demonstrate chronic hunger or insecurity and a need for continued support. Our on-campus Foodbank provides short-term support to students who find themselves in need of supplemental food.

Regardless of circumstances, no student should have to choose between food and other basic needs. Over this period, Kent Union will be making special arrangements to provide this service to students in need – but they need your help! Volunteers will organise, run and distribute the food to students in need – they need donations in order to do so!

What to donate

Anything! Apart from alcohol.

It must be:

  • in date,
  • unopened
  • not need to be refrigerated

Major needs

  • Breakfast items such as cereals/porridge
  • Pasta sauce jars
  • Sweets, crisps and chocolates
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Noodles

Christmas Bonus!

While these items are welcome all year, sharing something as a treat would be very welcome:

  • Toiletries
  • Chocolate
  • Sweets
  • Crisps

How to donate

Permanent Foodbank donation points are located at the Kent Union Reception in the Mandela Student Centre, Keynes Atrium, Plaza Co-op and Parkwood Co-op. Please drop your donation into the easiest location for you.

Thank you for donating. The difference this makes to individuals cannot be underestimated. We would also like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the volunteers for all the work they are doing to provide this service through the vacation.

Find out more

Find out more about the Foodbank, what you can donate, where and when on Kent Union’s website.

The Marsh family’s charity song

The Marsh family are back again with a new song, this time singing and swinging for a leading men’s health charity.

Teaming up with Prostate Cancer UK, Ben, Danielle and their four children Alfie, 15, Thomas, 13, Ella, 12, and Tess, 9 have released a song that they hope ‘will raise awareness of a disease that will affect 1 in 8 men in our lifetime’.

A sparkling new video of their adapted version of the swing classic ‘Mack the Knife’ was launched this week (on 6 December). You can view it now on YouTube (or see link below). 

Titled, ‘Mack the Knife’ (prostate cancer – facts of life)’, the lyrics written by Ben have been adapted to feature some facts about Prostate Cancer.

This single is particularly poignant as it comes after Danielle’s father, John Burn, was diagnosed with the disease in 2018.

In a Kent Online article, Danielle says: ‘We were so lucky with my dad but even he nearly left his concerns too late. We hope the lyrics will make people smile but also make them start discussions with loved ones about actions that they may need to take.’

The Marsh family will be donating all profits from downloads of this song to Prostate Cancer UK.