Council Matters - update from the meeting November 2019

This communication complements the information available about the meetings of the University’s executive governing body on the Council website behind SSO. The information available includes the meeting agendas, papers, decision notes and minutes (please note that the minutes are posted after approval at the following meeting).

Items discussed at Council on Monday 4 November included: 

The University Sustainability Strategy

Council endorsed the development of a new Sustainability Strategy to help tackle the climate crisis to be approved by Council in autumn 2020 for the period until 2030.  It approved the expanded membership of the existing Sustainability Steering Group in order to develop the strategy. 

Background:

The University has had an environmental sustainability committee since 1997 and a policy since 2007. Strategy has already been developed in key areas such as carbon management, biodiversity and transport and food policy. These key documents have led to measureable success.

The University’s carbon emissions have been dropping since 2010 and we are working towards a carbon reduction target of 50% from peak emissions by 2030.

Many members of the University are involved in one of our 100+ Green Impact teams. This national initiative provides simple and effective ways for staff and students to improve the sustainable practices of their building, department or college.

The current True Planet campaign highlights the plethora of sustainability related research being carried out across the University.

 

Report of the meeting of Finance Committee held on 16 October 2019

On the recommendation of Finance Committee: 

A)     Tinbergen Project

Council approved the full business case for the Tinbergen project at a set total budget. Council also approved the release of funding to enable the project to progress.  

Background

Find out more about the Tinbergen Building development 

B)     Strategic Research Fund

Council approved the allocation of £15m from the Bond, previously earmarked by the Strategic Capital Steering Group for strategic research purposes, to the Strategic Research Fund. This will help the University to deliver its Strategic Plan priority (Priority 10) to increase capacity to make strategic investment in research.

Background

Following discussions at Strategic Capital Steering Group at its July and September 2018 and March 2019 meetings, the concept of a Strategic Research Fund emerged as the focus for Priority 10 of the Strategic Plan 

These proposals have been developed further through discussion and recommendation at Planning & Resource Allocation Committee and Research & Innovation Committee. Council approved the creation of the Strategic Research Fund at its meeting in July 2019, noting that activities to agree governance arrangements for the SRF with Divisions were now underway with a target of opening the fund in early 2020

 

Council self-review of effectiveness

Following recommendations in the self-review of effectiveness carried out by Council in the last academic year, Council has made a number of changes to its Standing Orders to improve its transparency and communications with Congregation.

Council also agreed to submit to Congregation a draft legislative proposal relating to the proposal for changes to the composition of, and attendance at, Council.  

This includes the recommendation that Statute VI should be amended to add one additional external members to Council, making five in all, and to provide for the attendance at Council of a representative of the early career research staff (on the same basis as student representatives – in attendance not as a member and to attend for unreserved items only).  

Council noted that associated changes in regulations on the attendance of the representative of the early career research will need to come back to Council and will be published in the Gazette in the usual way.

The legislative proposal is on the Agenda for Congregation on Tuesday 3 December. 

It should also be noted that early career research staff who are members of Congregation may stand for election to Council. 

More information is available on page 112 of Gazette


Please email any questions or comments about the subjects covered by this update to: internal.communications@admin.ox.ac.uk 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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