National Heart and Lung Institute PhD/MD(Res) Offer Holders
We look forward to welcoming you to Imperial College London.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to ensure that your research degree can be delivered safely, we are writing to provide you with information about how we intend to deliver your programme of research.
Undertaking a research degree is always a challenging endeavour. We want to reassure you that we have taken measures to both ensure your safety and enhance your motivation and productivity and that Imperial is a safe place to carry out research, both in laboratories and in research offices . Our priority is for you to experience everything our campuses and London has to offer. However, all on campus provision will be subject to the requirements of the Public Health Advice from the UK Government and College guidelines on any additional health and safety measures in place at the time over the course of the academic year. You will be expected to adhere to the safety measures in place for the College, as set out below.
We expect to be able to deliver the majority of your programme on-campus and in person, including activities to support the delivery of your research and cohort-building activities to help you establish connections and become part of the Imperial College community. These activities are described in more detail under the Programme Delivery section of this letter which also provides further information on which activities may be delivered remotely.
We expect that you will be able to attend College in-person, on campus, to begin your research programme. Over the 2021-22 academic year, we plan to provide a combination of on-campus with some remote (i.e. multi-mode) activities for research degrees. Undertaking your research programme through multi-mode activities, together with flexible research plans carefully designed in collaboration with your supervisor(s), will minimise any disruption to your learning and research experience.
It is important to recognise that, depending on official Government public-health guidance for the foreseeable future, the balance between our in-person and remote offering may be subject to change. However, we will maximise your on-campus training and research activities as we progress through the forthcoming year. The College has been working at the forefront of research and patient care from the start of the pandemic and has world-leading experience and expertise to ensure your safety while on campus.
If you are unable to travel to London for the start of your programme, you should discuss this with your prospective supervisor(s) to ascertain whether your programme can start on a fully-remote basis, or whether your start date can be delayed.
It is critical that you keep in close contact with your supervisor(s), the NHLI PGR Office and the Graduate School, for the latest updates, including access to campus. For the latest College advice, please check this webpage.
College-wide induction and enrolment activities will operate in a remote format at the start of the academic year, supplemented by additional departmental induction activities that will be provided when you start working in your laboratory or office, regardless of when you start in the academic year.
All on-campus provision will be subject to the requirements of the current public health advice from the UK Government and strict adherence to College safety guidelines and protocols on Covid-safe working, including any social distancing measures. We will closely monitor and implement any additional health and safety guidance that may result from the developing scientific evidence. In the event of further restrictions during your programme, we may have to suspend on-campus activities in line with Government requirements.
Your supervisor(s) will work closely with you to agree a suitable research plan. Access to laboratories and/or other research facilities and offices required for your research project will be determined by the department in the context of official Government guidance.
The College is also developing community building activities to support the multi-mode experience for all students. This will include College-wide events for research degree students, organised by the Graduate School, which, depending on current restrictions at the time, will be delivered either remotely or on-campus during 2021-22. In addition, the Graduate School will deliver its programme of professional skills development training, which forms a key part of your educational development and is a requirement for your research degree milestone assessments, through multi-mode delivery, with some workshops available on-campus and some remotely.
In the event that there is an escalation of the current outbreak, or a new outbreak of COVID-19 during your programme, then, in line with Public Health Advice from the UK Government, we may be required to suspend all on-campus activity. In the event of suspension of on-campus activity, you should work with your Supervisor to determine a remote research plan.
You will be required to follow the safety requirements put in place on campus and in all College buildings (including halls) to ensure we keep the campuses and the Imperial community safe and to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, particularly in our ability to deliver your research degree programme and to offer you a full student experience. There will be requirements and expectations placed on you and other members of the College community to follow the safety measures put in place by the UK government and national and local public health authority. These may vary over the academic year but are likely to include a requirement to undertake regular testing and reporting the results of this testing to the College, and an expectation of ensuring that you have been vaccinated. Failure to follow the safety measures and report them to College may result in restrictions being imposed on the delivery of your research degree programme and on your access to the wider student experience.
The Departmental induction activities for your programme will take place remotely. Some activities may take place in real time (synchronously) and some may be pre-recorded. As part of your induction, we will direct you to the Graduate School’s online induction programme, and to the NHLI’s online PGR induction when you are fully enrolled.
When you first start at the College, whether that is on campus or remotely, it is important to meet with your supervisor(s) to discuss how your partnership will work. The College’s mutual expectations for the research degree student supervisor partnership should be used to facilitate this conversation. It is likely that at least some of your supervision sessions will run remotely and the Graduate School has developed guidance for students and staff to help these run effectively.
If you can access the campus, your research programme will be delivered through a mixture of in-person and remote activities.
The following activities will be delivered in person where possible: supervisor meetings, lab access and safety inductions, research group meetings and seminars, small group training sessions related to your research project.
The following activities may be delivered remotely: Graduate School skills courses and the Plagiarism Awareness course which are requirements of your research programme, as well as safety inductions if in-person attendance is not possible.
Where possible and appropriate, your supervisor(s) will arrange for you to engage with in-person UK-based activities to support your research programme, such as placements, study leave and conferences. As soon as restrictions allow, international engagement opportunities may also be supported.
In the event of suspension of on-campus activity, all in-person activities will be adapted for remote delivery.
Support for remote access to college activities
To access the content of the programme remotely, you will be expected to have access to a computer, webcam, reliable internet connection and you will need to cover any costs associated with this requirement. You will be expected to use Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Office365 suite of tools, to which you will be provided with free access via your Imperial College IT account.
Further information about how to use Microsoft Teams is available at: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/admin-services/ict/self-service/connect-communicate/office-365/apps/microsoft-teams/. Training and support for how to use other systems and software will be provided during the programme induction and through specific online training modules.
Assessments (Early Stage Assessment, Late Stage Review and PhD viva voce)
We plan that your Early Stage Assessment (ESA), Late Stage Review (LSR) and final viva will take place in person and on campus wherever possible. However, depending on changes to Government regulations and if you so choose, these assessments can also take place remotely. We have developed and tested protocols to ensure that these assessments can take place remotely without detriment to you and guidance is available to you to ensure that you can prepare yourself for these remote assessments.
Work at facilities not based at Imperial
If your research involves work at a remote facility (for example, RAL or CERN), your Supervisor(s) will work with you to agree a suitable schedule of work in accordance with local or national advice in place at the time.
Length of research programme
We anticipate that you will be able to complete your research degree programme within the timescale previously advertised. However, if we are required to close the College and are therefore unable to deliver part of your research programme, the length of the research active period of your programme will be extended, with no additional tuition fees being levied for that period of extension. Note that you will be responsible for any additional living/maintenance costs during this extension and, if you are living in College accommodation, we are unable to guarantee that your accommodation can be extended beyond your original completion date.
Visas and Immigration
If you require a visa to study in the UK, it is important that you have read the guidance provided by the International Student Support Team at the College online.
Imperial has a team of specialist immigration advisers who can provide specific advice on your immigration situation and on the best options for you. They can be reached by email on firstname.lastname@example.org
It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct immigration permission for your studies in the UK.
Departmental PGR Handbook You are advised to refer to the online version of the Department Handbook, which will be regularly updated with information regarding your research programme.
Should you have any questions, please contact us and we will be delighted to talk to you to clarify any point or address any concerns. Please contact us at email@example.com
With best wishes,
Professor Michael Lovett
Chair in Systems Biology
Director of Postgraduate Studies
Programme Head MSc in Genomic Medicine
Imperial College, London