Month: November 2011

Carbon Management Strategy

The Management Board considered a paper by Facilities Management, which outlined successes and challenges for the College’s carbon management strategy.

The successes noted include the ‘hit the button’ campaign, encouraging staff to switch off their computers when not in use, and the Student Switch Off initiative which promotes sustainable behaviour among students in halls of residence. The paper also reported the positive results of trials to reduce the energy usage of buildings, which have included reviewing and optimising the operation of central heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

Challenges faced include the difficulty in progressing energy-saving actions quickly due to the amount of consultation required, as well as the ongoing need to engage staff and students in steps they can take to reduce energy usage, as highlighted through the StepChange campaign.

The report noted future plans for carbon management at Imperial, including new processes to review building projects and influence sustainable options in design, and the development of further awareness and publicity campaigns.

To read more about Facilities Management’s approach to sustainability, visit the website;

Student System on ICIS – upcoming change to its online location

Staff who use the Student System (SAMS) on ICIS are advised that from early December access will be via a new URL

At 17.00 on 9 December 2011, ICT will be transferring all the responsibilities within ICIS associated with the Student System to a new online location.  This change, which means ICIS will be unavailable over the weekend of 10-11 December, will enable the upgrade of the Finance, HR and Grants systems within ICIS, and should impact only those staff members who use the Student System.

From the morning of Monday 12 December onwards, those wishing to access the Student System will need to do so via a new link, which will be signposted on the following webpage: The login details required to gain access will remain the same.

Staff wishing to access the responsibilities remaining within ICIS (HR, Finance, Grants) will continue to use the same ICIS login and URL as before.

More information about the project is available at the link above. Any queries should be directed to the ICT Service Desk, either by email, phone (ext. 49000) or via their website:

Applying for job vacancies at Imperial – new online functionality

Staff searching and applying for job vacancies at the College from December will be able to use new functionality within the Employment webpages and ICIS aimed at streamlining the process. Staff will be able to access vacancies either by clicking on the ‘Job Search for current Imperial College staff’ button on the Employment website or by logging into ICIS and selecting the ‘My Opportunities’ responsibility.

Staff will able to set up ‘job alerts’ to receive emails when new vacancies become available which match their pre-selected criteria.  If a member of staff chooses to apply for a vacancy via the new facility, personal information will be extracted from ICIS to automatically populate a number of fields in the online recruitment system. To ensure your personal details are up to date, use the ICIS Self Service facility:

Once the new functionality has gone live, links to guidance, online demonstrations and FAQ’s will be publicised in Staff briefing.

This is the first in a series of improvements to streamline the application process, and further developments to the system will be implemented as part of the College’s upgrade of Oracle next year.

Survey on Professional Web Pages (PWPs)

A review is underway of Professional Web Pages (PWPs), which are used on the College website to offer contact details and information about the activities of staff such as publications and awards. To guide a redesign of PWPs, staff are invited to participate in a survey to help identify the content and features which are particularly important for current and future users of these online profiles. The survey should take about five minutes to complete, and all those who complete the survey will be entered into a draw to win a £100 Amazon voucher.

Access the survey here

Industrial action – 30 November

The University and College Union have issued the College with a notice of industrial action in the form of a one day strike on 30 November 2011.  This is in support of their continued dispute on the USS pension reform and is timed to coincide with the protest by public sector trade unions at the Government’s proposed changes to public sector pension schemes.

The strike by public sector workers which is not linked with the College may impact on the ability of staff to attend work as normal on 30 November. The most likely causes of disruption are school closures and changes to travel services. Each member of staff is expected to make every reasonable effort to present him/herself for work.

Guidance for staff participating in industrial action on 30 November and for staff who may be impacted by the wider strikes by public sector workers is available on the HR website at:

Review of professional development provision for postgraduate students and early career researchers

The Management Board agreed to implement the recommendations resulting from the Strategic Education Committee’s Review of Professional Development for Postgraduate Students and Early Career Researchers.

These recommendations include a renewed focus for transferable skills programmes – they should help students to gain skills that they may not practice as part of the core academic programme, which equip them as leaders and innovators. Examples include teamwork and leadership skills and business awareness.

Among the other proposals agreed were that the Graduate Schools would support MSc coordinators in their efforts to embed transferable skills training in Master’s programmes; that the role of Mentor should be developed for research students to include responsibility for overseeing an individual student’s professional development; that an online tool should be introduced to enable students, with their mentor, to manage a personal development plan by setting targets and tracking progress; and that there should be more effective mechanisms of career advice for both postgraduate students and early career researchers.

A proposal to develop a professional development programme for undergraduate students will be presented at the next Management Board.

Rector’s Away Day outcomes

The Management Board reviewed the outcomes of the Away Day, held on 21 October 2011, which focused on the Student Experience and covered many of its aspects: undergraduate and postgraduate, academic and pastoral etc.  While a number of action points emerged from the Away Day, the two most significant and pressing related to the undergraduate experience and in particular: the quality and timeliness of assessment and feedback; and the quality, price and distance from College of student accommodation.

It was agreed that:

  • Faculty Principals should require their Heads of Department to provide action plans outlining measures already in place and measures that they would be introducing during the current academic year to improve the undergraduate student experience.  These plans would be collated by the Faculties and presented at the Management Board’s December meeting.
  • The Chief Financial Officer and Director of Commercial Services should together produce a plan for the refurbishment (where appropriate and necessary) of existing accommodation and the development of new accommodation – with recommendations for suitable social amenities at or close to this accommodation, as well as suitable catering facilities at the South Kensington Campus.
  • Faculties and Departments should also provide action plans for improving both the undergraduate and postgraduate student experience, including identifying any necessary investment, as part of the Planning Round in Spring 2012.  This would enable the Management Board to form a strategic view of requirements, whether capital (perhaps for accommodation) or otherwise (perhaps for assessment and feedback), for improving the student experience at the College.

Illegal use at the College of software program ‘Mathematica’

Following the illegal use of software at Imperial, the College is required to publish the following notice to all staff.

It has come to the College’s attention that unauthorised copies of the software program ‘Mathematica’, owned by Wolfram Research Inc. (Wolfram), have been in use within the College. Such use is not only contrary to College policy, it is illegal.

Members of College are reminded that under the terms of the College Policy on the use of IT Facilities, users must not use, download, copy, store or supply copyright materials including software and retrieved data other than with the permission of the copyright holder or under the terms of a licence held by the College or individual.  Any use of unauthorised software is a serious offence subject to disciplinary action.  Details of the relevant policy are available at:

If College members wish to use the Mathematica software a legitimate copy must be purchased either from the ICT Shop or directly from Wolfram.   The College recommends that purchases of the software be made through the ICT software shop as the College is able to offer the software at competitive prices.

In order to minimise the risk of use of unauthorised copies of Mathematica software within College, and to assist the College in detecting any unauthorised use, the College has implemented the following procedures:

  • All copies of Mathematica software used by College members will require an authorised licence key.  This licence key must be registered with ICT via the ICT Service Desk as soon as possible following purchase of the software.
  • ICT will monitor use of Mathematica licences and any unregistered licence will be blocked until such time as the user of the software is able to show that the licence is legitimate.
  • The College will then investigate all reported cases of unauthorised use and take appropriate steps to ensure that the software is either properly licensed or deleted from the offending computer. College disciplinary processes will be invoked should this be appropriate.

Online safety incident reporting system

The Safety Department has launched a new system for staff and students to report accidents, ‘near misses’ or other safety incidents. The new online tool, called ‘Salus’, asks users for information about when the incident took place, where in the College it occurred, what happened, who was affected or involved, and the actions taken. The details are then submitted to the Safety Department.

To access the system, click on the ‘Salus’ graphic on the right of the website here.