The Institute of Cancer Research, London, is doing everything it can to safeguard its staff and students in response to the coronavirus pandemic while attempting to minimise the inevitable disruption to its life-saving research.
The health and safety of our staff and students is our top priority and we are following the latest advice for the UK from the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England.
We are advising that all staff who are able to work from home should do so, and preparing to close our administrative building within the next week.
We recognise that it is much harder for our wet-lab researchers and members of our Facilities teams to work from home. Over the coming days, we will be making preparations for many more of our staff to work off site, including our researchers. We will be consulting with our scientific teams to ensure we do this in a way which minimises the long-term impact on our research.
The ICR is asking that all meetings and seminars should now be undertaken digitally wherever possible, and will be cancelling all other events. The ICR has also decided that all work-related travel should be cancelled.
We are working with our partners to ensure that our staff – and clinical colleagues in particular – can play their part in supporting the NHS as it copes with the coronavirus. As a scientific organisation, we can also play an important part as advocates for scientific approaches to disease control, including social distancing and hand washing.
Minimising the impact on our research
The ICR’s business continuity ‘Gold’ team is meeting on a daily basis to agree guidance for staff and students, and to take decisions around ICR work.
The ICR has plans in place to minimise any impact on our research – including protecting our research activities and samples from any shortages in supplies, and ensuring the welfare of all the animals used in our research.
We are working closely with our partner hospital, The Royal Marsden, and other external research partners, to ensure that we are joined up in our approach and are able to take the most effective decisions to protect our people and our research.
'Staff and students are our top priority'
Professor Paul Workman, Chief Executive of the ICR said: “We know this is a concerning time for all. We are encouraging all of our staff and students at the ICR to support friends and colleagues in following advice, appreciating that many will have their own concerns about friends, family and colleagues.
“Our staff and students are our top priority and we are updating information and guidance daily in line with the latest Government advice. We are also working hard to ensure research continuity – following and building on our existing Pandemic Preparedness Plan to ensure we can protect and deliver our world-class research.
“Our aim is to ensure the safety of our staff and students while minimising the long-term impact on our research to understand and defeat cancer and to translate our discoveries to benefit patients.”
Any further updates will be shared in due course from our main coronavirus page.
Staff and students who need more detailed advice can find it on the ICR’s intranet at nexus.icr.ac.uk, available via your normal work login.