Month: May 2011

iTunes U

The College’s extensive media library of audio and video clips is now available through iTunes U. At its launch it contains over 700 pieces of audio and video content from all areas of the College’s activities. They include gems from the Imperial archive, films about accommodation, London and College life for prospective students, and interviews with academics explaining their research. For the full experience search for Imperial College London on the iTunes U store (you will need the iTunes software). Content is also available via the College’s Media Library, which requires no additional software

Childcare vouchers and tax relief

Tax relief on childcare vouchers is being restricted for higher rate tax payers from 6 April 2011. The monthly limit for tax-free vouchers will be reduced from £243 to £124 for higher rate (40%) taxpayers and to £97 for additional rate (50%) taxpayers. There is no change for basic rate taxpayers.

The change applies only to new joiners to the childcare voucher scheme after 5 April 2011. Anyone already registered with the scheme before that date can continue to claim at the existing monthly rate of £243, even if they are higher rate taxpayers.

It is in the interests of staff who are higher rate tax payers and have a child born before 6 April 2011 to register for childcare vouchers as soon as possible, even if they do not immediately intend to claim these. Provided that staff begin claiming for childcare vouchers before 5 April 2012, their tax position will be protected for subsequent tax years. Managers should pass on this information to any staff currently on maternity leave who could benefit.

More information on maternity pay, childcare vouchers and income tax is available here

Coaching available to help staff with work-related challenges

Help with work-related challenges and support to refine skills and explore options for action is available to staff from trained Imperial coaches. 28 coaches, who are members of staff in a range of academic and professional services roles across the College, are willing to assist other staff to address work issues and support career development. All coaches have participated in the College’s Coach Development Programme and receive regular support and training. They take on coaching assignments in addition to their main responsibilities and, unlike mentors, do not need to have expertise in the work or discipline area of their ‘coachee’ to offer support.

Coaches are able to offer up to four confidential meetings over a period of three to six months and have worked on issues including:

  • Developing strategies for managing time and external pressure more effectively
  • Enhancing the quality of delegation and staff motivation
  • Improving interpersonal/communication skills
  • Enhancing decision-making and influencing skills
  • Managing a change project

To find out more about how coaching could play a part in your development visit this site, or email Judy Barnett, Talent Development Manager if you are interested in working with an Imperial coach.

Deadline for next round of Knowledge Transfer Secondment applications – 8 June 2011

Applications to the next round of Knowledge Transfer Secondments (KTS) to external organisations, which aim to build on and share knowledge derived from EPSRC sponsored research, are invited and should be submitted by 8 June 2011 in all Faculties. If you are currently employed on an EPSRC-funded project, you are able to freeze your funding to embark on a secondment, returning to the project once the secondment is complete.

Applications will be considered by the Cross College Research Proposals Review Group and should be submitted to the following people:

Further information on the KTS can be found here, or by emailing Angela Kingman


Enrol for summer term evening classes in the Department of Humanities

The Department of Humanities is again offering a short summer evening class programme with a range of evening classes in languages at different levels (including Arabic, Japanese, Russian, Mandarin Chinese as well as modern European languages and English Conversation for non-native speakers).  The programme is also offering short arts courses in Creative Writing, Friedrich Nietzsche Philosophy and Music Technology.  Courses comprise two two-hour evening classes a week for 5 weeks from 18.00 – 20.00 on weekday evenings from Tuesday 31 May to Monday 4 July 2011. Online enrolment starts on 28 March 2011.

For full details and to enrol online visit the Department of Humanities site

Removal of the default retirement age

The default retirement age [DRA] of 65 years will no longer apply from 6 April. The removal of the DRA by the Government is being phased out over a transitional period and means that the College’s normal retirement procedure will be followed for the final time in 2011. Members of staff who will be 65 or over on or before 30 September 2011 have been made aware of their options to retire or request to work beyond that date.

Following the transitional period, the removal of the DRA means that the College will no longer set a date when members of staff retire. Members of staff will be able to choose when they enter retirement. Where a member of staff is considering retirement they should discuss their intentions with their line manager in good time. They may choose to take full retirement or – where the pension rules allow it and operationally it is in the College’s interests — retire and, following a short break in service of normally one month, be re-employed whilst in receipt of their pension in a part-time capacity.

College procedures and processes will be updated to reflect the changes in legislation and staff are invited to comment on the proposed changes to the College’s retirement procedure here

Find a copy of a managers’ briefing note about the changes here

Find out more details of the change in government policy here

Local number for employee assistance programme, Confidential Care

Confidential Care (CiC) is the College’s employee assistance programme which offers staff and members of their families assistance 24 hours a day and provides information and advice on a wide range of work and life issues.

Please note that CiC can be reached using a local number which reduces the cost for anyone calling from a mobile phone: +44 (0)20 7938 0881. Alternatively, staff can call +44 (0)800 085 4764 which is free from a landline.

Find out more about CiC services here [userID: Imperial, password: College]

New Classes at Ethos from 3 May

Ethos is introducing several new classes for the summer period. These include outdoor pilates and yoga in Prince’s Gardens, a high energy interval training class called Body Attack; the Beach Body Quickfix which targets legs, buttocks and tummy; Summer Sculpt which combines body conditioning with step moves; Aqua Aerobics for getting fit whilst using the water’s resistance to tone and shape; ViPR Training Zone which uses the ViPR training tool to work the whole body, as well as express and extended versions of Zumba, the calorie-burning dance class. There will also be some free classes throughout May to choose from.

Click here for more information and to download the new timetable


Access to facilities at clinical imaging centre

Following the announcement that Imperial, King’s College London, UCL and the MRC are forming a new alliance to assume responsibility for the operations at GSK’s Clinical Imaging Centre, new opportunities will be available from the autumn for staff to access the state-of-the-art imaging facilities there. The centre houses an advanced radiochemistry facility, two MRI machines and two PET scanners, with the ability to conduct highly sophisticated molecular and functional imaging studies on both healthy volunteers and patients.

To find out more about the facilities available and how to make use of them, contact Dr Kevin Cox, interim Chief Operating Officer, or Professor Shitij Kapur, interim Chief Scientific Officer.