RCSItogether Bulletin 13 – Mental Health, Leadership, Parental Leave and Innovation

Dear Colleagues,

What beautiful weather we have had this week, the sunshine makes all the difference to mood and our general wellbeing. Long may it last. As a country, we took a step in the right direction with the start of Phase 1 of the roadmap for reopening society and business and it is an important milestone for us all as we begin to emerge from the restrictions of recent months. As mentioned at the Townhall on Monday, a large number of our staff are participating in working groups planning for our own reopening and new academic year, thanks to them all for their hard work on this.

#RCSItogether – Learning

Many of you joined the #RCSItogether webinar on Tuesday,  “Let’s Get Physical”, which was led by colleagues from our School of Physiotherapy and gave us lots of great tips on movement and exercise needs across the lifespan, taking current restrictions into account. A point raised during the webinar was the really detrimental impacts of sitting for long periods and it is something which is undoubtedly impacting all of us as we move from one MS Teams call or Blackboard session to another. Next week, try scheduling your calls to finish at ten to the hour to give everyone a chance to stretch and move between sessions. If you missed it you can find the recording, slides and all other webinars to date here on the staff portal. Next week, Prof Eva Doherty, Director of our Human Factors programme, will be presenting on “Capitalising on your Emotional Intelligence to protect your mental health during the COVID-19 Pandemic”. If you would like to join please sign up here.

This week is Mental Health Awareness week and taking care of our mental health has never been more important as we live through these uncertain times. You might be interested in this mental health focused playlist from ‘Talks at Google’. These are expert led talks held at Google HQ which focus specifically on the RISE concept for supporting mental health – Routine, Interaction, Sleep and Exercise. Indeed these have been the topics of our own webinar series to date so we’re in good company! As ever if you are struggling in any way reach out to our Employee Assistance Programme where professional counselling support is available for free for you and your family.

You may have seen on Workvivo that the training network of the IUA is holding a webinar next Thursday May 28th on “Leadership and Motivation” for Academic and Research Leaders. It’s being led by a UK based academic development specialist Dr. Steve Hutchinson and will focus on academic leadership challenges during this pandemic. You can read more about it and sign up here.

#RCSItogether – Health  Science

Aligned with RCSI’s mission, the Office of Research and Innovation (ORI) recognises, actively promotes and supports innovative research that leads to the development of better diagnostics, therapeutics and devices. The goal of the Innovation Team is to work with RCSI PIs to ensure that RCSI research is given the best opportunity to make economic and societal impact through the provision of customer orientated industry engagement and research commercialisation services to researchers and industry partners.

In addition to the ‘Innovation Training Series’, the Innovation Team also hold a ‘Quarterly Innovation Workshop’ where they provide an opportunity for researchers and staff to find out more about industry engagement and research commercialisation from external speakers. The next workshop entitled, Carrick Therapeutics Model for Drug Discovery: A pinch of intellect, imagination, and a whole lot of collaboration’  provides first-hand insight from an RCSI industry partner into the challenges, benefits of industry-academic Collaborations and will take place via Microsoft Teams on Thursday, 28th May 2020, from 13:00-14:00. Any staff interested in registering for this workshop can do so by emailinginnovation@rcsi.ie. At this event, you will hear from two senior pharmaceutical executives (Dr Ash Bahl, Head of R&D at Carrick Therapeutics and Dr. Anthony Brown, VP Business Development who has over 30 years of experience of leading small molecule & biological drug discovery programmes)who have been involved in many industry-academic collaborations will share their insights on:

  1. How researchers can develop industry collaborations
  2. How large and small companies may approach collaborating with academia differently
  3. The approach Pharma take to selection of assets to in-licence
  4. Collaborative opportunities with Carrick Therapeutics

 #RCSItogether – Minding Others

As you will be aware, RCSI have a suite of family friendly policies in place to provide an inclusive and supportive environment with regard to personal situations and the work life balance of our staff. This week we would like to share with you the details of RCSI’s Parental Leave policy.

  • In line with legislation, all staff whether they are full or part time employees, with one year’s consecutive service, are eligible to avail of Parental Leave.
  • Once eligible, you are entitled to a period of up to 22 weeks unpaid leave (pro-rated if you work part-time) for each of your eligible children or the option to take a combination of periods of leave up to a total of 22 weeks. The period is pro-rated if you work part-time. The period has increases from 18 weeks to 22 weeks since September 2019 and will increase again to 26 weeks from 1 September 2020. If you have exhausted the previous 18 weeks entitlement you are entitled to take the difference where eligible.
  • While the legislation only provides staff to avail of Parental Leave until their child’s 12th birthday, RCSI allows for staff to avail of Parental Leave until their child’s 18th birthday.
  • A parent is defined as – the natural parent, the adoptive parent or someone acting in loco parentis.
  • Where both parents work for RCSI, up to 14 weeks can be transferred to the other parent. Please discuss this with Human Resources initially, if applicable.
  • While on Parental Leave you retain your annual leave, public and privilege holiday entitlements. Contributions to the Pension Scheme will be suspended for the period of leave and benefit will be reduced by the period of service in question.

#RCSItogether – Minding Yourself

The RCSI Institute of Leadership recently shared their short podcast series which has been designed to focus on key topics around ‘personal leadership and self-care’ to support those working in healthcare but is also available and relevant to all at this time. The emphasis in each podcast is on providing you with practical ‘takeaways’ on developing yourself in the relevant topic areas. The podcasts are hosted by Dr Mary Collins from the RCSI Institute of Leadership in conversation with experts in their respective fields.  The first podcast is in conversation with Dr Robert Kelly entitled ‘’Unflappable: How to stay calm in a crisis”. Other podcast topics include ‘Emotional Fitness – Building Emotional Resilience in a crisis” and “The Uncertain Brain: Building tolerance to uncertainty”, ‘Communication’, ‘Energy Management’, ‘Career Motivation & Change’, ‘Staying Positive’. You can find the podcast series here.

This week we are attaching Dr. Susan David’s model of ‘Emotional Agility’ – a simple outline of the psychological skills critical to thriving in times of complexity and change. Dr. David is an award winning psychologist at Harvard Medical School and has also recently launched a podcast ‘toolkit’ to help people cope with the heightened emotions we are all inevitably experiencing during this global pandemic.

I leave you this week with a beautiful picture taken by our own Ray Lohan posted on Workvivo yesterday, which beautifully captures the natural light created through the glass, falling through the top floor of the ERC, Beaumont Hospital!

I leave you this week with a beautiful picture taken by our own Ray Lohan posted on Workvivo yesterday, which beautifully captures the natural light created through the glass, falling through the top floor of the ERC, Beaumont Hospital!

Take care of yourselves and each other,

Barry and the HR Team