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No 6551

Wednesday 12 June 2019

Vol cxlix No 33

pp. 666–692



14 June, Friday. Full Term ends.

16 June, Sunday. Trinity Sunday. Scarlet day.

19 June, Wednesday. Congregation of the Regent House at 2.45 p.m. (Honorary Degrees).

25 June, Tuesday. Easter Term ends.

26 June, Wednesday. Congregation of the Regent House at 10 a.m. (General Admission). Scarlet day.

27 June, Thursday. Congregation of the Regent House at 10 a.m. (General Admission). Scarlet day.

28 June, Friday. Congregation of the Regent House at 10 a.m. (General Admission). Scarlet day.

29 June, Saturday. Congregation of the Regent House at 10 a.m. (General Admission). Scarlet day.

2 July, Tuesday. Discussion in the Senate-House at 2 p.m. (see below).

9 July, Tuesday. Discussion in the Senate-House at 2 p.m.

19 July, Friday. Congregation of the Regent House at 10 a.m.

20 July, Saturday. Congregation of the Regent House at 10 a.m.

Additional Discussion on Tuesday, 2 July 2019

The Vice-Chancellor has approved an amendment to the schedule of Discussions in 2018–19 and invites those qualified under the regulations for Discussions (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 105) to attend an additional Discussion in the Senate-House on Tuesday, 2 July 2019 at 2 p.m., for the discussion of:

1. First-stage Report of the Council, dated 12 June 2019, on the construction of the National Centre for Propulsion and Power and re-development of the Whittle Laboratory (p. 684).

2. Report of the General Board, dated 5 June 2019, on Senior Academic Promotions (p. 686).

3. Report of the General Board, dated 12 June 2019, on the establishment of a Professorship of Ophthalmology (p. 690).

Further information on Discussions, including details on format and attendance, is provided at

Election to the Board of Scrutiny

7 June 2019

The Vice-Chancellor announces that he has received the following nominations, in accordance with Statute A VII 3, for election to the Board of Scrutiny in class (c)(ii) (members of the Regent House), and that it has been certified to him that the candidates have consented to be so nominated:


Nominated by

Ms Edna Helen Murphy, ED

Mr G. Chesterman, ED, and Ms L. M. Thompson, LC

Mr Ian Nicholas Molyneux Wright, PET

Mr T. N. Milner, DAR, and Dr S. M. Murk-Jansen, PET

No other candidates having been nominated, the Vice-Chancellor declares that Ms Murphy and Mr Wright are elected to the Board of Scrutiny in class (c)(ii) for four years from 1 October 2019. Their personal statements are available at (Raven only).

The Council shall be asked whether it wishes to appoint a member to the remaining vacancies, one in class (c)(i) and one in class (c)(ii), or to hold another election, in accordance with Regulation 3 of the regulations for the election of members of the Board (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 114).

Election to the Nominating Committee for External Members of the Council

7 June 2019

The Vice-Chancellor announces that he has received no nominations for election to the Nominating Committee for External Members of the Council in class (d).

A further election will be held to the same timetable as that already announced for the election of a member of the Council in class (a) (Reporter, 6550, 2018–19, p. 648), with a deadline for nominations of 12 noon on Friday, 21 June 2019.

Dates of Congregations, 2019–20 and 2020–21

The Vice-Chancellor gives notice, in accordance with Special Ordinance A (i) 2, and the regulations for General Admission to Degrees, that Congregations will be held on the following days in the academic years 2019–20 and 2020–21.


(on Saturdays unless otherwise stated)


Michaelmas Term 2019

Lent Term 2020

Easter Term 2020

Long Vacation 2020

Full Term: 8 October – 6 December

Full Term: 14 January – 13 March

Full Term: 21 April – 12 June

1 October (Tuesday), 9.30 a.m.1

25 January, 2 p.m.

25 April, 11 a.m.

17 July (Friday), 10 a.m.

26 October, 11 a.m.

22 February, 2 p.m.

16 May, 10 a.m.

18 July, 10 a.m.

30 November, 2 p.m.

21 March, 11 a.m.

17 June (Wednesday), 2.45 p.m.(Honorary Degrees)

28 March, 11 a.m.

24 June (Wednesday), 10 a.m.2

25 June (Thursday), 10 a.m.2

26 June (Friday), 10 a.m.2

27 June, 10 a.m.2


Michaelmas Term 2020

Lent Term 2021

Easter Term 2021

Long Vacation 2021

Full Term: 6 October – 4 December

Full Term: 19 January – 19 March

Full Term: 27 April – 18 June

1 October (Thursday), 9.30 a.m.1

30 January, 2 p.m.

1 May, 11 a.m.

23 July (Friday), 10 a.m.

24 October, 11 a.m.

27 February, 2 p.m.

22 May, 10 a.m.

24 July, 10 a.m.

28 November, 2 p.m.

27 March, 11 a.m.

23 June (Wednesday), 2.45 p.m. (Honorary Degrees)

10 April, 11 a.m.

30 June (Wednesday), 10 a.m.2

1 July (Thursday), 10 a.m.2

2 July (Friday), 10 a.m.2

3 July, 10 a.m.2


  • 1Vice-Chancellor’s Address followed by the Congregation for the election and admission of the Proctors.

  • 2General Admission (M.Eng., M.Math., M.Sci., Vet.M.B., B.A., and B.Th. Degrees only).

Procedures to Determine Fitness to Practise of Preclinical and Clinical Medical Students

The University’s student fitness to practise procedures will be subject to a formal review in 2019–20. However, following informal review, the Council, on the recommendation of the General Board, is proposing an amendment to the Procedures to Determine Fitness to Practise of Preclinical and Clinical Medical Students, to take immediate effect (Grace 3, p. 691).

The amendment would explicitly permit a preliminary consideration of a reported cause for concern, prior to it being referred to a Fitness to Practise Committee. This amendment would clarify the process that is undertaken following receipt of a cause for concern, ensuring transparency to all parties.

Report of the General Board on arrangements for the implementation of the Academic Career Pathways scheme: Notice in response to Discussion remarks

12 June 2019

The Council has received the remarks made at the Discussion on 28 May 2019 (Reporter, 6550, 2019–20, p. 655) on the above Report (Reporter, 6547, 2018–19, p. 562). It has consulted with the General Board in the preparation of this response.

The Council notes the many comments in support of the introduction of the new Academic Career Pathways (ACP) scheme to replace the current Senior Academic Promotions (SAP) process, including from Professor Ferran as the sponsor of the changes, several Pro-Vice-Chancellors, some members of the HR Committee and Heads of School and Institutions who set out the benefits they believe it would bring, including recognition within the scheme’s criteria for contributions made to a much wider range of activities than those captured currently in the SAP process. The Council also notes the remarks made by Dr Eglen in support of the new ACP scheme committing to the principles of the Declaration of Research Assessment (DORA) and by Dr Coxon who supports the addition of researcher development to the teaching criterion, including ensuring ‘that early-career researchers receive excellent opportunities to develop their potential and prepare them for future success’. Dr Mesquita da Costa’s positive comments on work under way to review the Senior Research Promotions (SRP) scheme to bring it in line with the ACP scheme, including her hope that its guidelines can be adapted to use in the new scheme, are noted and have been passed to the Working Group taking forward this review.

The Council notes that concerns were also raised on some aspects of the promotion and probationary arrangements set out in the Report. In response to remarks about ensuring that all those who meet the standard for promotion are promoted, the Council comments, as stated in the Report and by Professor Ferran in her remarks, that steps will continue to be taken so that there is appropriate budgetary provision for deserving candidates to receive recognition and reward. The General Board can confirm, in response to Dr Morgan’s query, that no candidate recommended for promotion by the Vice-Chancellor’s Committee in either the 2018 exercise or this year was denied their promotion because of a financial constraint. Dr du Bois-Pedain raises concerns that the new scheme seems to increase the expectations required for promotion to a senior academic post and compares it unfavourably with the arrangements at Oxford and with other leading universities in terms of the time taken to achieve promotion. Dr Morgan also comments unfavourably on the time taken to achieve promotion at Cambridge. The Council does not consider it appropriate to comment on the promotions arrangements of other universities, which operate differently. However, the development of an online application system to support the ACP scheme will lead to enhanced reporting capabilities which will facilitate better data analysis, so that these aspects can be monitored and compared with available external benchmarking data. This system will also facilitate the provision of the enhanced statistical analysis of equality and diversity data, as requested by Dr Sliwa.

The Council also notes concerns raised by Dr Sliwa about whether the ACP scheme will have a positive impact on the gender pay gap. The Council agrees that reducing the gender pay gap is of critical importance and notes remarks from Professor Ferran that the reforms proposed by the ACP scheme are designed to have a positive impact, and that their development is in line with work published by the Government Equalities Office that identifies improving promotion processes, creating an inclusive culture and supporting women’s career development as actions that employers can take to help close the gap. However, the Council also notes Professor Ferran’s comment that launching the ACP scheme will not do so on its own and that she is keen to work with all interested parties to maximise its practical impact alongside other complementary initiatives.

The Council notes Dr Sliwa’s concerns about equality and diversity (E&D) oversight of the ACP proposals, including consideration by the relevant committees before consultation, and of E&D oversight of local indicators of excellence. The Council confirms that the Equality and Diversity section was involved at all stages of the development of the ACP scheme and details were also passed to relevant E&D committees at appropriate points in its development. The Council notes that one of the E&D initiatives being taken forward is the development of Career Development workshops which should help address Dr Sliwa’s concern about women applying later in their careers than men. The Council recommends that the close involvement of the E&D section and consideration of equality and diversity matters continues, including the concern raised by Dr Sliwa about the possible impact on women and BAME staff of terms such as ‘collegiality’ set out under the service criterion in the scheme. The Council reiterates that the University’s core value of freedom of thought and expression is central to career progression at Cambridge. The Council expects local indicators of excellence within each School to be reviewed from an E&D perspective before adoption and this requirement to be included in the detailed promotions guidance being developed.

Dr Sucheta’s remarks urging a redefinition of the ACP to incorporate a broad and fluid portfolio of excellence indicators are noted. The Council comments that the current proposals provide for a wide range of examples of indicators of excellence and allow limited flexibility in adjusting the weighting of the promotion criteria; this scoring flexibility will be kept under review and if it works well expanded in the evolution of the ACP scheme. The Council agrees with Professor Leyser’s remarks that there are tensions between recognising and rewarding diverse contributions and providing specific and transparent criteria for assessment, and that while assessment is evidence-based there will always be a significant subjective element, which is why a well-trained and diverse committee is needed to carry out this assessment in a fair and robust manner. The Council shares Professor Leyser’s view that more could be done in achieving the sort of holistic assessment that Dr Sucheta is also advocating, but that there is a need to bed in changes before further evolution.

The Council has been informed by the General Board that feedback received since the publication of the Report has indicated that Schools and Institutions have some reservations about committing to launch the scheme at the start of 2019–20. The General Board has therefore agreed to the implementation of the recommendations in the Report being delayed until the start of 2020–21. The Council agrees with this decision on the basis that adopting the recommendations of the Report and delaying implementation will give potential applicants and institutions time to prepare for the new scheme and provide an opportunity for the probation and promotion committees to familiarise themselves with the new framework.

The Council notes several comments about the proposed probationary scheme for University Lecturers. These include concerns expressed about the appropriateness of including references to an ‘upward trajectory’ in the probation approval criteria, and the negative impact on current probationers of introducing these changes retrospectively, and that in making the probationary requirements more specific, the scheme would move towards the more rigorous tenure track system operated in the United States. As noted in Professor Ferran’s remarks, the reasons for including probation within the scope of the ACP scheme was to achieve an integrated career-long progression framework, where probationers could map out their career trajectory, and to clarify the role of the Heads of Institution and others in supporting staff to achieve their full potential. It would also ensure that recognition of contextual factors, already embedded in the SAP process and to be carried forward into ACP, also apply in the probation context. The Council notes this has particular significance because academic probation often coincides with periods of maternity and/or shared parental or other family leave, which was also noted as a concern in a few remarks made during the Discussion. The Council agrees with Professor Ferran’s statement that the University recruits outstanding academics that it wants to keep, will support these valued colleagues to reach the high standard that Cambridge sets, and will publicly recognise their success in doing so, in line with the University’s values, and there is no other unstated reason for setting out probationary requirements.

However, in response to the concerns about reference to an ‘upward trajectory’, the Council agrees with the General Board’s recommendation that these references (in Section 2 of Annex 2 – Academic Probation and Career Progression up to University Senior Lecturer; and paragraph 4.5.1 of Annex 4 – Probationary arrangements for academic offices) be removed to allow for further discussion. The Council also notes that there is a review being carried out of probationary arrangements in the University, which may propose further amendments to the probationary criteria which would, if formally approved, supersede those set out in the Annexes to the Report.

Professor Evans’s positive comments on the Report are noted. Her concern about the discretion given to the General Board to make changes to the ACP scheme processes it considers necessary, provided that they are in line with Key Principles and made in the light of experience, for the effective running of future scheme rounds, is also noted. The Council observes, as noted by Professor Evans, that the development of the ACP will be an iterative process, evolving over the coming years to ensure it meets the needs of the University and staff. The Council confirms that substantive changes to the scheme, such as changes to the probationary arrangements mentioned previously and the development of a distinct teaching strand referred to in the Report, will be taken through the usual formal channels.

The Council is submitting a Grace (Grace 1, p. 690) for the approval of the recommendations of this Report, as amended by this Notice to revise the date of effect of the Report’s recommendations from 2019–20 to 2020–21 and to remove the references in its Annexes to an ‘upward trajectory’ in relation to probationary arrangements.

12 June 2019

Stephen Toope, Vice-Chancellor

Nicholas Holmes

Helen Thompson

Philip Allmendinger

Matthew Kite

Graham Virgo

John Dennis

Patrick Maxwell

Mark Wormald

Abigail Fowden

Richard Rex

Chris Young

A. L. Greer

Sofia Ropek-Hewson

USS update: Current status of the 2018 valuation and next steps

The 2018 valuation of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) has projected a deficit for the scheme. This is smaller than that projected by the 2017 valuation, but would still require some increase in member and employer contributions to maintain the current schedule of benefits. Various options for these contribution increases are currently being considered by USS in conjunction with employers (represented by Universities UK; UUK) and scheme members (represented by the University and College Union). In response to a recent UUK consultation on three options presented by USS, the University of Cambridge, along with the majority of other respondents, indicated its preference for Option 3, which entails a combined contribution rate of 30.7% and a new valuation in 2020. The 2020 valuation could take into account any revisions to the USS valuation methodology proposed by the Joint Expert Panel, which is currently undertaking a second phase of investigations.

The timetable for implementing any contribution changes depends on how rapidly the various parties reach agreement. In addition, any changes to benefits and/or contributions need to be agreed by the Pensions Regulator. The University will keep USS members informed of developments via the For Staff website, the USS bulletin,1 and the Reporter; and a more comprehensive update on the 2018 valuation is available online at

Open information meeting

An open information meeting for members of the USS will be held at 12.15 p.m. on Thursday, 27 June 2019 in the Babbage Lecture Theatre, New Museums Site; for further details and registration see