Skip to main contentCambridge University Reporter

No 6720

Wednesday 29 November 2023

Vol cliv No 10

pp. 127–162


Annual Report of the Council for the academic year 2022–23

The Council begs leave, in accordance with Statute A IV 1(c), to report to the University as follows:


The Council presents this report on its work for the academic year 2022–23 to the University. The report has three main sections. The first focuses on the key themes and strategic developments that have engaged the Council during the year, the second includes brief reports of the work of some of the Council’s committees, and the third provides an overview of changes to the University’s Statutes and Ordinances, senior leaders and the Council’s membership.

To build on the constructive discussions at the joint workshops of the Council and General Board in 2021–22, the April meeting of the Council was expanded to a residential Strategic Awayday for members of the Council, the General Board and the wider Senior Leadership Team. The themes discussed at the Awayday reflected many of the Council’s current priorities: ensuring the sustainability of the University’s finances and that resources are used to further the University’s mission; maintaining the University’s ability to attract and retain the people that it needs to remain a global leader; and enabling the University to make a full and meaningful contribution to the energy transition and to solving the global challenges arising from the climate crisis.

During the year the Council also spent considerable time discussing the future of the University’s estate, in recognition that this will have significant operational, environmental and financial implications for the University. Each theme is discussed in further detail in Part I of the report.

This report should be read in parallel with the Annual Report of the General Board to the Council for the academic year 2022–23, which sets out the University’s academic activities.

Part I: Key themes and strategic developments

The increasingly turbulent and uncertain context in which the University, and the HE Sector as a whole, operates is challenging for both staff and students. Throughout the year the Council received updates on the many matters on which members of the Senior Leadership Team1 engaged with the UK government, the Office for Students (OfS) and various national and international bodies to advocate for measures that will further the University’s mission.

The announcement of the Cambridge 2040 plan from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, which aims to create the ‘Silicon Valley of Europe’ in the greater Cambridge region, was initially made without prior consultation with the University. However, the University is now engaged in local and national conversations regarding the plan and the Council will consider how to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the plan as it develops. The Council has already signalled its commitment to Cambridge being at the heart of the technology sector by agreeing in November that the University should be a founding signatory of the Innovate Cambridge Charter. This Charter is part of the Innovate Cambridge Initiative which was developed by Cambridge Enterprise, Cambridge Innovation Capital and the University and which aims to shape the vision for the greater Cambridge innovation ecosystem.

Staff-related matters

2022–23 was a particularly challenging year for many due to the cost of living crisis. In the higher education (HE) sector continuing national disputes over pay negotiations and the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), together with concerns about casualisation, workload and inequality, resulted in periods of industrial action and a Marking and Assessment Boycott (MAB) by the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU).

Throughout the year the Council strove to put measures in place to support staff and address their concerns, within the constraints of the national negotiations. The Council particularly welcomed work to develop a People Strategy for the University (this is discussed in greater detail below) as it will aim to address many of the concerns that underpin the industrial action, including workload, employment conditions and the structure of courses.

Pay and the cost of living crisis

The Council was extremely conscious of the impact of the unusually large increases in the cost of living on staff, and in October it approved the introduction of two measures to support staff during this difficult time. First, it agreed that all non-clinical employees of the University should receive an exceptional, non-pensionable payment of 2% for 2022–23 (funded by the Investment Fund and/or existing grant funding where appropriate). These payments were made over the winter months when pressure on household bills was particularly acute. Separate arrangements were made for colleagues who were on NHS pay scales, or who were not on the single pay spine, which took into account their respective annual pay award positions.

The Council asked the HR Division to put measures in place to enable the University to take a more nuanced approach to any future exceptional payments. It was subsequently confirmed that any future non-consolidated payments could be structured to pay proportionally more to lower paid staff through a varied percentage payment linked to spine points.

The Council also reintroduced the temporary scheme for Staff Hardship Grants, which had originally been introduced in 2020 in the context of the pandemic but had been discontinued in September 2021. The scheme was initially reintroduced until 31 March 2023, but following a review in the Lent Term, and in light of the ongoing cost of living crisis and the uncertainty about the wider economic situation, the Council extended the scheme until 30 April 2024.

In November the Council agreed that the University should participate in the 2023–24 national pay negotiations and encouraged colleagues to work hard with the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) and other employers to achieve a good outcome for staff. In February, the Council responded to a UCEA consultation on the future of collective pay bargaining. In its response the Council agreed with the three principles that were intended to underpin effective pay bargaining in higher education and supported an option to ‘replace’ the current framework, principally supporting a system which would recognise the differences between research-intensive and other institutions.

The Council’s response neither committed to staying within, or withdrawing from, national negotiations in the future and emphasised its desire to continue work with local union branches to try to find solutions to the current concerns.

UCEA’s final offer to the Unions was for a pay award for 2023–24 of a headline figure of 5%, rising to 8% for lower paid staff. The Council agreed that the initial portion of the pay award be implemented in the April payroll (backdated to February), and the remainder in August, for all non‑clinical University staff whose stipends were steps on the Cambridge general stipend and salary scale. This was the most financially advantageous option for staff as it kept the value of the non-consolidated payment.


The Council discussed the latest developments with the USS at every meeting. During the year there was positive news about significant changes to the funding position and future service cost of the USS compared to the valuation as at 31 March 2020, which should allow a return to the pre‑1 April 2022 benefits structure in April 2024.

In other constructive developments national working groups were convened to consider how to reduce volatility in the Scheme and to examine potential options for recompensing members for the benefits that had been lost since the cuts were introduced. The Council have long advocated for these measures. The Council is particularly pleased that active consideration is being given to the conditional indexation model, which it believes could make the scheme more financially resilient and less vulnerable to short-term shocks, as well as delivering a better outcome for members.

In October the Council responded to a request for the publication of a Report on alternative means for maintaining the total remuneration and retirement package of the University’s USS members. The Council’s response reflected its view that reinstating benefits and improving the resilience of the scheme must be the priorities and argued that, given the improvements in market conditions, pension benefits could most quickly and effectively be restored through the valuation as at March 2023.

At its meeting in March the Council approved responses to consultations by the Department for Work and Pensions and The Pensions Regulator (TPR) on draft regulations covering the funding of defined benefit pensions. The Council’s responses argued that the proposed ‘one size fits all’ approach was not appropriate and could significantly increase costs without materially reducing risks for members. It stressed that any deficit must be addressed over an appropriate time and noted that this was particularly significant in the context of a multi-employer scheme, where affordability for deficit recovery contributions could vary greatly between employers.

In April the Council supported an amendment to the rules of the USS which would allow the USS Trustee to ask participating employers to make a payment to the Trustee in the event of USS being fined by TPR.

In September the Council agreed a response to a consultation by the USS Trustee on the proposed assumptions for the Scheme’s Technical Provisions relating to the 2023 actuarial valuation. The response highlighted the importance of the long term stability of the USS, to avoid the need for benefits to be changed following each valuation, and noted that adopting an alternative valuation methodology could reduce volatility between valuations.

Industrial action

As in 2021–22, students and staff were affected by periods of industrial action relating to pay and working conditions. For the first time this included a MAB by members of UCU. The Council received regular updates from its Industrial Action Task Force (IATF) and was particularly concerned to ensure that all possible measures were taken to mitigate the impact of the industrial action on students.

In April the Council noted that the IATF had used the authority delegated to it to agree that pay should be withheld on a percentage basis (50%) for each day that an employee self-declares that they have participated in the MAB in relation to assessments in taught courses. This decision, which was consistent with the approach taken by the Russell Group, and with UCEA’s recommendation, reflected the University’s responsibility to take all appropriate steps to minimise the impact of the boycott on students.

The Council sought emergency powers from the Regent House to help mitigate the impact of the MAB on students, but its proposals were rejected. The Acting Vice-Chancellor and the President of the Cambridge branch of UCU then issued a public joint statement – the first of its kind in the context of this industrial action – which urged UCEA to resume negotiations. On behalf of the Council the Vice‑Chancellor and other members of the Senior Leadership Team also advocated for the resumption of negotiations in numerous conversations between UCEA and representatives of other universities.

The Council supported the measures taken by the General Board to mitigate the impact of the MAB on students within the Board’s existing powers, for example by approving the release of provisional marks where these existed and by allowing the final meeting of the Examiners to take place without all Examiners being present. In response to concerns from the Colleges about the impact of the boycott on graduate admissions, the Council requested that the Postgraduate Admissions Office send regular updates to Postgraduate Admissions Tutors, Bursars and Heads of House over the summer.

UCU ended the MAB on 6 September 2023. However, there is likely to be further industrial action during 2023–24. In particular, the Council was concerned to learn that the Cambridge branch of UCU intends to boycott College supervisions in Michaelmas Term in an escalation of the ‘Justice for College Supervisors’ (J4CS) campaign. Collective negotiation on this matter is extremely complex as Colleges are separate legal entities which have individual contracts with individual supervisors. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) and Chair of the Colleges’ Committee are liaising with the campaign organisers and will provide updates to the Council as the situation develops.

Review of the Employer Justified Retirement Age (EJRA)

In February the Council approved the membership and terms of reference of an academic-led group which it tasked with reviewing the terms of the current Retirement Policy and the operation of the EJRA to determine whether they are still fit for purpose.

At the following meeting the Council considered requests from speakers at a recent Discussion that the operation of the EJRA be suspended, pending the outcome of the review. The Council concluded that it would be premature to suspend the EJRA before the Review Group had consulted with the wider University community and completed its review. Further, it was not within the power of the Council to suspend the EJRA: to do so the Council and the General Board would need to publish a Report, followed by a Discussion and a Grace. The timeline for this would cut across the work of the Review Group.

The timetable for the review has been streamlined and resources prioritised to enable the Review Group to reach its conclusion at the earliest opportunity without compromising the overall quality of its work and while ensuring that the University community has ample opportunity to engage in the review.

Development of a People Strategy

In line with the Council’s desire to provide strategic direction for new initiatives at an early stage, the development of a People Strategy for the University was the basis of one of the main sessions at the Strategic Awayday. Members were briefed on the findings of research undertaken by McKinsey and Company (pro bono) and on emerging plans for a Strategy that will focus on five main elements: recruitment and offer; career progression and retention; culture and institution; pay and benefits; and diversity and inclusion.

The Awayday attendees discussed current staff-related challenges and aspirations for 2035, both in terms of all staff and in relation to particular groups. They also highlighted actions which they would like to be implemented as soon as possible. They agreed that the aim should be for the University to be the prime place to work in Cambridge and an attractive employer in the global market by offering staff a good life, affordable housing and competitive salary and pension. Attendees recommended that the Strategy should aspire to make kindness and respect central to the culture of the University and create an environment where staff feel valued and excellence is rewarded. Other recommendations related to relationships between the University and the Colleges, recruitment and grading, performance management and professional development.

The Council agreed a summary of key points from the workshop, which has informed the development of the People Strategy. The Council expects to consider the draft Strategy in Michaelmas Term; a follow-up discussion is planned for Easter Term to enable the Council to provide further strategic direction as required.

Other new staff-related policies

During 2022–23 the Council approved several new policies which are designed to improve staff wellbeing and reflect new ways of working after the pandemic. These included a new Dignity at Work Policy for all University staff which addresses issues of bullying, harassment, discrimination, sexual misconduct and victimisation, and is designed to support the resolution of such incidents at an early stage and in an informal and collaborative way where possible. The Policy aims to strike an appropriate balance between freedom of speech and the University’s duty to provide a safe workplace free from discrimination and harassment. In addition, the Council approved a new Grievance Policy which combines, updates and replaces the existing separate policies for unestablished Academic and Academic-related staff and Assistant staff. Both policies had been prioritised as part of the University’s Recovery Programme to enhance staff wellbeing and had been subject to extensive consultation.

The Council also approved a new Hybrid Working Policy and a revised Flexible Working Policy. The former reflects changes to working practices since the pandemic and the preference for flexibility around hybrid working to be retained. The latter includes new content to cross refer it to the Hybrid Working Policy and revisions that simplify and improve the functioning of the policy. In addition, the Council approved the introduction of an International Working Policy, together with associated guidance, to replace the existing Global Mobility Policy. This new policy, which will apply to all employees carrying out a paid activity outside the UK, reflects the University’s focus on employee safety and wellbeing, recent changes to the workplace and the tighter legislation applicable to these working arrangements.

Student-related matters

Although the General Board oversees academic and educational matters, the Council’s continued interest in student wellbeing was reflected in its discussions throughout the year.

Update on the Strategic Review of Mental Health Provision

In January the Council discussed progress made in implementing the recommendations of the Strategic Review of Mental Health Provision. The collegiate University is still relatively early in its three-year transformation programme, but significant progress has been made towards realising the vision of student support that was set out in the University’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Plan 2022–25.2

The Council invited the Head of Student Wellbeing to comment on what had helped her team to make such solid progress and, in particular, any points which might be transferable to similar programmes and projects. Her reflections informed discussions at the Strategic Awayday about the development of the People Strategy and were also referred to the Change and Programme Management Board for dissemination to relevant programme leads.

Proposal to pilot a reading week

In June the Council considered a proposal to pilot a reading week in the middle of Lent Term by starting the teaching period one week earlier. The Council agreed that the University and the Colleges should collectively seek to address the issue of excessive workloads on students and staff as a priority, but shared the doubts raised by other bodies about whether a reading week was the most effective way to achieve this. Members also had serious reservations about the risks of implementing the reading week and of creating inequalities between student groups, as the proposal indicated that it might be necessary to exempt some courses from the reading week.

The Council therefore commissioned a discussion paper on options to reduce student workload (e.g. syllabus review, supervision norms and grace weeks, as well as the proposal for the reading week pilot), for consideration at one of its strategic sessions in Michaelmas Term.

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

In January the Council received the University’s submission to the national TEF exercise, together with Cambridge SU’s independent student submission. In September 2023, the Council was delighted to learn that the University had been awarded an overall rating of Gold in the exercise, together with Gold for each of the student experience and student outcomes aspects.

The University’s finances

The successful completion of work to ensure the long-term sustainability of the University’s finances is a key priority for the Council, as it will be vital to furthering the University’s mission. Accordingly the Council received updates throughout the year on the University’s finances and the Enhanced Financial Transparency Project (EFT), including via a big picture overview at the Strategic Awayday.

Ten-Year Cash Flow Model

As in previous years the Council considered updated versions of the ten-year cash flow model for the academic University in October and May. The earlier review found that further increases in forecast energy costs, combined with a reduced level of research awards and non-research cost growth, had led to an expectation of a material core academic cash flow deficit in the years 2022–23 and 2023–24 but that this was expected to recover over the following years as energy prices and pension contributions reduced.

The Council recommended that a plan should be drawn up to generate a modest annual operating surplus from the core academic University, in order to supplement the unrestricted reserves available from other sources (predominantly Cambridge University Press & Assessment). Growth in unrestricted reserves over time would support an increase in the size of the Investment ‘Fund’ available for capital and other ongoing investments (as directed by the Planning and Resources Committee (PRC)).

The latter review found that while there had been significant changes to individual items of expected cost and revenue these largely cancelled each other out and the overall modelled position was broadly comparable to that presented earlier in the year. The model suggested that the current Investment Fund level could be committed comfortably under downside scenarios and that, if the base case projections were delivered in reality, a further £1bn could potentially be committed to the Investment Fund by the end of the decade. The Council emphasised the need for the General Board to work with the Schools to continue to develop costed academic plans, to enable the most effective use of resources in the Investment Funds as they become available.

Academic investment

At its Strategic Awayday the Council received an update on the development of costed academic plans and investment proposals for the Schools. Although the General Board has oversight of these plans, the Council was keen to discuss them as they have major implications for making best use of the University’s resources. The Council, together with members of the General Board and the Senior Leadership Team, agreed on the need for a unified overall academic vision for the University that is informed by the academic visions for the Schools. They also identified various needs, plus a list of impediments to developing these plans, for further consideration by the General Board.

Financial Statements and the Annual Financial Return

In November the Council reviewed and approved the Reports and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 July 2022. The Council requested that further thought should be given to how to help readers navigate the Group Accounts, which, with the continued growth in the Endowment Fund and the greater complexity of the University, were becoming increasingly complicated and removed from the underlying Academic University position. The Council also discussed the future inclusion of costs relating to meeting the University’s sustainability targets.

Cambridge University Endowment Fund (CUEF)

In November the Council also approved CUEF’s audited accounts for the financial year to 30 June 2022 and noted the Investment Management Report. The Council noted that while the CUEF’s net return of -0.3% for the financial year was below the Fund’s absolute long-term target of CPI + 5%, it was pleasing relative to the CUEF’s passive composite benchmark return of -6.9%. The figures also showed that the Fund had produced an annualised return over the last ten years of 10.8%, 3.2% in excess of its current long-term inflation linked objective (CPI + 5%). Despite the volatility of the markets, University of Cambridge Investment Management Limited (UCIM) believes that its strategy of partnering with best-in-class managers, as well as capturing the illiquidity premium offered by longer-duration investments, will ultimately yield world-class returns for its investors.

At the Council’s request the Chief Investment Officer briefed members on the Fund’s approach to environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) factors. She reported that UCIM had continued to make encouraging progress towards its ambition to drive the CUEF to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2038. UCIM aimed to achieve this goal with a three-pronged strategy of: divesting from all meaningful exposure to fossil fuels by 2030 and investing instead in a way that supports renewable energy development; engaging with the CUEF’s fund managers and holding them to account on reducing carbon emissions in their portfolios; and reporting regularly to stakeholders on progress. Further, sustainability has been fully integrated into UCIM’s investment process and two cohorts of CUEF’s investment managers have completed the ‘Net Zero by 2038’ course, which was created in partnership with the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.

Allocations Report

The Council approved the Allocations Report for 2023–24 at its meeting in June. As in the previous year’s Report, Chest allocations to Schools and Non-School Institutions were underwritten in full; however, only a proportion of that allocation would be released at the beginning of the financial year, with the remainder ‘held back’ until needed.

Despite the University Group as a whole continuing to generate a material annual cash flow surplus from its operations and distributions from the endowment, the Report again indicated a budget Chest operating deficit and a projected overall Academic University budget deficit in 2023–24. The Council therefore stressed the importance of the University continuing to develop activities which are strategically important and able to return a net financial gain, and to deliver the actual cost savings implied in the development of transformation and recovery programmes.

In subsequent budget cycles the Council expects the EFT project to provide further management information which will enable better-informed decisions that support academic priorities while at the same time achieving improvements in the University’s financial sustainability. Although full implementation of the EFT will not occur until 2027, due to pressures of the ongoing broader Change Management Programme, the Council urges progress towards financial transparency, where possible, at the earliest opportunity and encourages all members of the University to support this endeavour.

Carbon-neutral futures

Study to assess the likely impact of the Grace on fossil fuel industry ties on the University’s mission

In October the Council considered its response to a Grace initiated by members of the Regent House which asked it to impose restrictions on research funding and sponsorship from, and collaborations between, the University and companies that had links to fossil fuels.

The Council reiterated its strong commitment to the University making a full and meaningful contribution to the energy transition and to solving the global challenges arising from the climate crisis. However, in light of serious concerns that the proposals might have unintended consequences that would adversely affect the University’s ability to fulfil these commitments, the Council commissioned a Study to assess the likely impact of the proposals on the University’s mission. The Council assured the Regent House that, following completion of the Study, the University would have a thorough and deep debate about the advantages and disadvantages of the Grace, as well as of alternative formulations and approaches, so that the Regent House could reach an evidence-based decision.3

Following Council approval of the Terms of Reference for the Study, Nigel Topping, the UK’s former High-Level Climate Action Champion, was appointed to lead the Study. The Council received regular progress updates throughout the academic year and provided strategic direction for the Study.

Mr Topping presented his recommendations to the Council in July. In summary these were: to focus on the opportunity for a major cross-School fundraising initiative to bolster the University’s position as a global leader in tackling the climate crisis; to significantly simplify the processes followed by the Committee on Benefactions and External and Legal Affairs (CBELA), by referring to credible third-party benchmarks while retaining discretion for exceptional circumstances; to limit the application of the Grace to research/philanthropic funding; and to phase in climate alignment expectations for all companies with which the University has a relationship of any form (excluding investments, which are covered elsewhere). The Study was published on the University website after the Council meeting.4

The Council welcomed the Study and established a Working Group to consider whether, and if so how, the recommendations might be implemented. The Council also asked the Working Group to propose a format for consultation across the collegiate University during Michaelmas Term about the original Grace, informed by the findings of the Study, to enable the University to reach a conclusion on the issues by the end of 2023. The Working Group will report to the Council in October and its findings will form the basis of the strategic session at that meeting.

Carbon reduction

The Council received an update on the University’s carbon emissions and considered the 2030 carbon reduction plan at its Strategic Awayday. Attendees advised on how projects in the gathered field for the carbon reduction plan should be prioritised for implementation and on best practice for making decisions that involve trade-offs between different objectives. They also discussed the roles that members of the Council, the General Board and the Senior Leadership Team can play in supporting, and being seen to support, a good decision-making process.

In July the Council reviewed progress towards delivering the University’s carbon reduction programme and noted that to remain on track to meet the mid-term target of reducing the University’s energy-related emissions (scopes 1 and 2) by 75% against 2015–16 levels by 2030 the University would need to achieve annual carbon reductions of c. 730 tonnes p.a. between 2023–24 and 2030–31.

One positive recent development which will contribute to meeting these targets is that the University has been granted permission to build a solar farm, which could deliver 26% of its energy needs. In addition, the Estates Division is exploring options for degasifying certain buildings and sites to provide preliminary outline estimates of the carbon savings that they would deliver and how much the projects would cost.

The Council noted that work is underway to develop a scope 3 action plan and that priority areas have been identified for reducing scope 3 emissions and for further data collection. It encouraged relevant parties to accelerate progress where possible and to set more ambitious expectations for suppliers to align with the Science‑Based‑Targets initiative.

Development of a Strategic Framework for Sustainability

At the Strategic Awayday attendees were briefed on work to develop a Strategic Framework for Sustainability, which would take a whole-institution approach to sustainability and therefore would be broader than the existing Environmental Vision, Policy and Strategy. The draft Framework will be discussed at a strategic session of the Council in Michaelmas Term.5

The University’s Estate

The Council spent considerable time discussing the future of the University’s estate during 2022–23, in recognition that this will have significant operational, environmental and financial implications for the University. Estates‑related matters will remain high on the Council’s agenda in 2023–24, particularly in respect to the progress of the Reshaping our Estate programme and the future of North West Cambridge (NWC) and the West Cambridge Innovation District (formerly known as West Cambridge).

Principles for Reshaping our Estate

In February the Council advised on a set of principles which the Estates Division, in conjunction with the Reshaping our Estate Steering Group, had developed to underpin the Reshaping our Estate programme. The Council welcomed the ambition behind the Programme to deliver a smaller but improved estate which will operate with greater efficiency and better support the University’s academic mission, reduce long-term annual costs and aid the drive for zero carbon emissions.

In approving the principles the Council recommended there should be particular emphasis on the need to build momentum and urgency around this work, the adoption of an iterative approach and the benefits of taking a holistic view of academic imperative, space, sustainability and financial imperative. As behavioural change will be key to the success of this long-term programme the Council also advised the identification of some quick wins to help to secure buy-in for the principles.

North West Cambridge (NWC)

The future of NWC was a particular focus for the Council during the year. In March it considered the Property Board’s recommendation that the University should partner with external developers to deliver future phases of NWC. The Council noted that this approach would allocate development risk to external parties who were best equipped to manage it on the University’s behalf and that it learnt from the challenges experienced during Phase 1 of the development, particularly with regard to financial sustainability, cost control and risk management. The Council advised on issues to be considered and groups consulted to identify the optimum structure that would meet the University’s strategic need for key worker housing in a financially sustainable manner and within acceptable risk parameters.

In May the Council received a further briefing on the opportunities and challenges associated with Phase 2 of the NWC development. This noted that, with the increases in construction costs and the higher interest rates that were affecting all developers, it currently seemed unlikely that the second phase of development at Eddington would deliver a full commercial return.

The Council recognised that the cost of living and especially housing in Cambridge presents a major challenge for staff, which could impede the University’s ability to attract and retain the people that it needs to remain a global leader and further its mission. As Phase 2 offers the possibility of building significant additional key worker housing that would be available to staff at a sub-market rent, as well as providing the critical mass necessary to create a vibrant community at Eddington, the Council agreed that the Property Board should proceed with planning for Phase 2, despite the associated costs, challenges and risks, and with plans carefully staged to mitigate the University’s exposure to risks.

The Council urged the Property Board to continue to learn the lessons from Phase 1 of NWC and to resolve the issues experienced by existing residents. Members of the Council, together with members of the Finance Committee, subsequently visited NWC in June to see the development and learn more about the challenges and opportunities posed by the future development phases.

Changes to estates-related governance

In November, the Council established a new Estates Committee whose purpose is to direct the planning and oversee the development, construction, and performance management of the University’s operational estate. Existing committees and sub-committees with remits that relate to the operational estate will report to the Estates Committee, which in turn will report jointly to the General Board and the Council. The Council also agreed that the University Housing Commissioning Body and the Housing Sub-Committee, which it established in 2022 to replace the work of the Accommodation Syndicate, should report to the Estates Committee.

Information security

The Council continued to take an active interest in matters relating to information security, particularly in light of the Audit Committee’s concerns about the operational and reputational risks posed by the fragmentation of the University’s digital estate and the increasing threat of cyber security.

In February the Council endorsed a plan for reducing cyber security risks by ensuring that basic controls were in place across the University. As part of this plan the Council mandated cyber security awareness training for all staff.

At the same meeting the Council received an update on initial work undertaken by UIS to defragment the digital estate. This is a complex, long-term programme with significant operational and financial implications, and the Council will receive further progress reports in 2023–24.

In June the Council approved a new Email Address Allocation and Retention Policy for a trial year on a small sample of volunteer institutions. The Policy, which resulted from extensive consultation within the University community, set out criteria for the allocation of University email addresses and their retention when a staff member or a student leaves the University. These criteria were relatively open and generous, in order to strike a balance between the need to address cyber security risks and to ensure compliance with data protection regulations, and the desire to do what was in the best interests of the University’s staff and wider community. The Council expects to consider further information security policies next academic year.

Part II: Reports from committees and working groups

Audit Committee

During 2022–23, the Audit Committee discussed the findings of internal audits which covered areas of strategic risk and key operational processes for the University. The Committee noted that many of the issues identified related to poor data quality, particularly in the areas of research costing and estates. The Committee discussed that there seemed to be a wider ‘dialling-up’ of compliance in the HE sector which the University would need to respond to. The University’s devolved structure and lack of common approach can make it difficult to understand and evidence the level of residual risk the University carries.

The Committee also received updates on the implementation of actions to address recommendations identified as part of internal audits reported in previous years, with a particular focus on overdue actions. The Committee noted pleasing progress in the resolution of overdue actions, which were down to 18 in September 2023 (compared with 23 in 2022, 26 in 2021 and 77 in 2020).

The Committee reviewed the University Risk Register and would welcome a re-articulation of some of the risk areas and their scoring in subsequent years to reflect the data and compliance risks noted above. The Committee also undertook deep-dives into those risks relating to cyber security, the estate, fragmentation of the IT infrastructure and IT disaster recovery arrangements for critical University systems. For further information please see the section on the work of the Information Services Committee.

The Committee received updates on the planning, interim and final audits of the financial statements for the University and recommended to the Council the appointment of the external auditors by Grace of the Regent House until 31 July 2023.

Finance Committee

During 2022–23, the Committee’s main focus was on securing long-term financial sustainability to maintain Cambridge’s profile as a world-class university. The Committee continued to refine the ten-year cash-flow model and monitor progress on the EFT project, which is expected to help unlock efficiencies and cost savings. The Committee remained confident that the University’s approach to managing the overall financial position was sensible, given the challenging circumstances of the last few years, recognising the need to continue to invest despite rising costs in the short to medium term. The Council supported the Committee’s approach, agreeing to add a further £100m to the Investment Fund.

The Committee approved objectives and investment principles proposed by its Financial Investments Sub‑Committee (FCFISC) to support decision-making in relation to the Bond Repayment Portfolio. These parameters are intended to assist the Portfolio in meeting its liabilities and investing capital in a way that is proportionate to the risk in the investments, which are managed on a commercial basis.

The Committee received the Financial Statements, management accounts, and updates on pensions (supported by the work of the Pensions Working Group), investments (through FCFISC) and developments with the non-operational estate (led by the Property Board). The Committee received presentations from Press & Assessment, Cambridge Enterprise and from the University Trusts, and FCFISC received a presentation on the Endowment Fund’s performance.

Planning and Resources Committee (PRC)

The most significant decision taken by the PRC during 2022–23 was its approval of a business case to replace the University finance system as part of the Finance Transformation Programme.

The University’s portfolio of major building projects is smaller than in the recent past, pending insights from the Reshaping our Estate programme. The focus has been on projects for which there is an urgent and critical need, specifically the refurbishment of the Stirling Building on the Sidgwick site and the renewal of the University’s infrastructure for radiochemistry research on the Biomedical Campus.

The PRC has authorised expenditure on master planning for the Forvie site and for the School of the Biological Sciences; the new Estates Committee will identify a preferred option in each case during 2023–24.

Decisions have been sought on business cases to renew or enhance the University’s IT infrastructure, consistent with the requirement to ‘defragment’ the digital estate and address the technical debt that has accumulated in prior years.

Several Schools sought and received approval for the development and implementation of their academic priorities via the Surplus Improvement Fund (SIF), as in 2021–22 with a focus on new and expanded Masters-level courses.

During the transition to EFT, the PRC continues to manage Chest allocations within a framework that provides mid-term stability for planning purposes (by providing upfront clarity of allocations for the subsequent year), and expects Schools and institutions to plan to a known quantum of Chest resource. The PRC’s discussion of the 2023–24 budget was the first to be informed by EFT management information.

Human Resources Committee (HRC)

The HRC considered a wide range of matters during 2022–23. As in 2021–22, the Committee continued to consider measures to support and retain staff, particularly in the context of the cost of living crisis. These included the approval of an exceptional payment of 2% per annum, which was paid to all staff at 4% over the winter months (from November 2022 to April 2023), and the reintroduction of the Staff Hardship Grant (originally set up in response to the Covid-19 pandemic) and its subsequent extension until April 2024.

As noted in the staff-related section in Part I of this report, the HRC oversaw the development of several policies which were approved by the General Board and the Council during 2022–23. These included: a new Dignity at Work Policy, a new Grievance Policy; a new Hybrid Working Policy; a revised Flexible Working Policy; and a revised International Working Policy.

Throughout the year, HRC also recommended to the General Board and the Council: the publication of a Report containing proposals to allow curators and associated academic staff at Grade 9 to apply for promotion to Grade 10; changes to the Contribution Reward Scheme for Academic Related staff in Grade 12; proposals to standardise the process of booking, calculating and using annual leave; and the terms of reference for a review of the University’s Retirement Policy and Employer Justified Retirement Age.

Remuneration Committee

The Remuneration Committee published the 2021–22 Annual Remuneration Report for the University in March.6 This report included a description of the work of the Committee and the University’s approach to the pay of senior post-holders, including the Vice-Chancellor, in line with the Committee for University Chairs’ HE Senior Staff Remuneration Code.

In line with its terms of reference, the Committee recommended to the Council a set of objectives for the new Vice-Chancellor for the first fifteen months of her term in office.

As in previous years, the Committee reviewed and, as appropriate, approved new cases and renewals for market payments to Grade 12 staff and approved cases for payments to external members of certain committees. The Committee reviewed and contributed to the University’s Equality Information Report 2021–2022.7

The Committee also reviewed the draft report of the Market Pay Working Group, providing advice on those recommendations concerning staff at Grade 12.

The non-conflicted members of the Committee reviewed the proposal approved by the Council in October 2022 for the exceptional payment to all employees of the academic University.

Committee on Benefactions and External and Legal Affairs (CBELA)

CBELA is primarily concerned with the scrutiny of sources of significant funding to the University from a reputational perspective. It also oversees the University’s legal affairs and reviews the University’s policy on investment responsibility on behalf of the Council.

During 2022–23, an increasing proportion of CBELA’s business concerned scrutiny of potential engagements with individuals or entities from the People’s Republic of China. CBELA received guidance from an expert in the region and in defence-related research. It noted provisional criteria for decisions on funding from Chinese sources that it expects to become formal guidelines next year. These are that the University avoid all collaborations with potential dual use; avoid all collaborations with entities that overtly carry out offensive or defensive work; and ensure that any collaborations are accompanied by strong contracts that protect intellectual property, clearly delineate the extent of the collaboration, and provide the University with withdrawal clauses. This reflects changing geopolitical circumstances, including the UK government’s increasing emphasis on research security and future reporting requirements on foreign sources of funds to the OfS.

CBELA continued to receive a climate-related assessment of all external sources of funds referred to it under its terms of reference and carefully scrutinised all sources of funds from the energy sector. The Committee welcomed the review of its processes around energy sector companies by Nigel Topping and looks forward to resulting recommendations from the Council in the coming year (see the section on carbon-neutral futures in Part I of the Report for further information).

Information Services Committee (ISC)

Enhanced cyber security and the consolidation of the IT estate remained the ISC’s main priorities in 2022–23. It received regular reports on cyber security, the related areas of disaster recovery and incident management, and the pilot or ‘discovery’ phase of work to unify the wired network.

The Committee strongly supported a series of measures to reduce cyber security risk and improve assurance, also endorsed by the Audit Committee, and approved by the General Board and the Council. These included mandatory cyber security awareness training for staff. Uptake of the short online training exceeded 50% by the end of the academic year with rates rising steadily.

Also as part of this work, the ISC is sponsoring the development of information security policies to help ensure the security of University-wide information systems. In 2022–23, work started on an updated Information Services Acceptable Use Policy and on a Systems Management Policy. The development process includes extensive consultation and the policies will include suitable transition periods upon introduction to ensure that they work within our institutional and academic contexts.

Following all-staff consultation in 2021–22 and redrafting and focused consultation in 2022–23, the ISC recommended an Email Address Allocation and Retention Policy to the General Board and the Council, which approved the policy in June, for a trial year in the first instance.

Environmental Sustainability Strategy Committee (ESSC)

In February 2022, the Council asked ESSC to oversee the development of a new Sustainability Strategy, noting that the new strategy would be broader in scope that the University’s current Environmental Sustainability Vision, Policy and Strategy, which is predominantly concerned with the environmental performance of the University’s estate. Throughout 2022–23, the ESSC has provided strategic direction to this work including the stakeholder engagement process which, due to the broad nature of the new Strategy, has included a number of other committees that will have a role to play in overseeing implementation of the Strategy.

ESSC has been overseeing the development of a costed plan for decarbonising the University’s operational estate. An initial draft was presented to the Council in April. Further work is now ongoing to align the decarbonisation programme with the University’s capital and Reshaping our Estate programmes, to set it in the context of the other factors the University needs to take into account when taking decisions on its estate, and to refine the initial cost estimates that were presented to the Council.

Key areas of work that ESSC have directed this year include the scope 3 screening assessment, the pilot and soft launch of Local Sustainability Plans – a tool intended to guide Schools and departments in taking action at the local level to improve their sustainability performance – and ongoing development of the University’s offsetting scheme. The Committee oversaw the development of the University’s Annual Environmental Sustainability Report for 2021–22 and, relating to this, improvements to data collection and reporting.

The Committee has also commented on areas of work that are being directed by other committees, for example relating to sustainable procurement and the University’s engagement with its banks.

International Strategy Committee

The International Strategy Committee remains steadfast in guiding and overseeing the University of Cambridge’s core international strategies and partnerships. This year saw the establishment of the South Asia Strategy Working Group, a proactive move to further cultivate and guide our engagements with the South Asian region. This new initiative dovetails seamlessly with our already established strategy groups for China, Europe, and Africa.

The formation of the International Crisis Response Taskforce (IRT) represents another strategic move, underscoring our proactive stance towards global challenges. Tasked with monitoring and addressing international crises that could potentially affect the University’s global footprint, the IRT will play a crucial role in safeguarding our academic community and upholding our international standing.

The Cambridge Centre for Advanced Research and Education in Singapore (CARES), maintains a steady presence in the international research landscape. With support from Singapore’s National Research Foundation, CARES has focused on impactful initiatives such as moderate-scale urban and industrial decarbonisation projects, and explorations into the potential of AI for sustainable urban environments.

In an ever-shifting global landscape, the International Strategy Committee diligently monitors the University’s operating environment. The work of the International Support Services remains a top priority, ensuring that the University engages safely and effectively overseas. With the Committee’s direction, the University maintains a prominent role in worldwide academic discussions.

Health and Safety Executive Committee (HSEC)

The Committee received a report on the ‘Strategic Oversight of Health and Safety – Review of Safety Committees’ and advised that prior to adoption the Terms of Reference for HSEC should be revised and its membership should be amended to include external members.

On several occasions in the last twelve months floods, fires, war and other incidents have highlighted the importance of knowing where staff and students are at risk when travelling. The Deloitte Travel audit recommended the rationalisation of staff and student travel arrangements. The procurement of travel risk assessment software and development of a new travel portal will make it easier for staff and students to prepare and travel more safely and at the same time will enable the University to know where they are and how to contact them. To support future strategic planning HSEC has been asked to incorporate the oversight of travel risk within its remit.

In December the University signed a new maintenance delivery contract with Equans. To address early concerns raised by some Departments, HSEC recommended that the Estates Division closely manage the contract and report progress against the Key Performance Indicator agreed with the company.

The University Health and Safety Plan (approved by HSEC) and the Deloitte audit of safety managements identified the need to support Departments to manage and evidence safety procedures and processes. HSEC and the Audit Committee have supported the proposal for an IT solution.

Press and Assessment Board (PAB)

PAB met regularly throughout 2022–23 to oversee the management of the finance, property, strategy, conduct and affairs of Cambridge University Press & Assessment. The main integration workstreams, following the merger of Cambridge Assessment and Cambridge University Press on 1 August 2021, are now complete. The schools businesses, covering both exams and learning materials, are successfully operating as two groups: UK Education (including the OCR awarding body) and International Education. ELT publishing and English exams (including IELTS) are integrated as a single English business. Academic publishing continues to produce research books and journals, reference materials, HE textbooks and associated online outputs under the imprint of Cambridge University Press.

PAB commissioned a self-effectiveness review from Heidrich & Struggles, delivered in November 2022, whose recommendations have been followed up to create a more strategic focus for the Board. In the course of the year PAB received reviews of the key IELTS and OET product lines, monitored the critical people & culture and EDIB (Equality, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging) strategies, and approved the organisation’s annual accounts, FY24 budget and three-year plan.

Eleven sub-committees continue to report to PAB, including two which changed their name during the year – the ELT & Education Publishing Committee becoming the Teaching & Learning Committee and the Audit Committee becoming the Audit & Risk Committee – reflecting their enlarged remits as the integrated Press & Assessment business continues to achieve ever greater scale.

Committee on Prevent and Freedom of Speech

During 2022–23, the Council received regular reports from the Committee concerning the implementation of both the Prevent duty and freedom of speech obligations at the University. These included: the Committee’s annual review of its Prevent Risk Register and Action Plan and associated documentation about both Prevent and freedom of speech; its discussions about and preliminary plans to address the new and enhanced provisions of the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Act 2023; and its consideration of the outcomes from the Independent Review of Prevent, which contained several sector-specific recommendations that have been accepted (albeit not yet implemented) by the Government.

The Council also approved the University’s 2021–22 Prevent accountability and data return to the OfS.

Part III: Ballots and changes to Statutes, membership and personnel

Ballots and topics of concern

As noted in last year’s Report, in October 2022 the Council published a Report explaining its reasons for deciding not to authorise submission of a Grace initiated by members of the Regent House on fossil fuel industry ties.8 The Council’s decision was supported in a subsequent ballot called by members of the Regent House (1,032 in favour; 553 against).9

Members of the Regent House also requested a ballot on two Graces published on 15 March 2023 concerning the arrangements for examinations in 2023. Grace 1 was approved as amended, and Grace 2 was not approved.10

Two topics of concern were considered during 2022–23. The first, on North West Cambridge Phase 1, was discussed in October 2022.11 The second, on forced retirement, was on the agenda of a Discussion in January 2023 (see also the review of the University Retirement Policy, p. 132).12

Changes to the University’s Statutes

The Statutes and Ordinances provide the constitutional framework that allows the University to govern its affairs. The Statutes contain the fundamental constitutional and governance provisions of the University and are subject to approval by His Majesty in Council.

The following changes to Statute were approved during the academic year:

(b)revising the method for determining the membership of the Regent House of those employed at Cambridge University Press & Assessment.13

(b), C and E I 7, acknowledging in Statute the office of Clinical Professor.14

Changes in the University’s senior leadership

The General Board approved the reappointments of Professor Nigel Peake, as the Head of the School of Physical Sciences for a four-year term from 1 January 2024 until 31 December 2027, and of Professor Tim Harper, as Head of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences for a two-year term from 1 October 2024 until 30 September 2026.

The General Board also approved the appointment of Professor Jocelyn Wyburd as the Interim Head of the School of the Arts and Humanities from 1 January 2023 until 30 September 2023, while the Head of School, Professor Chris Young, was on sabbatical leave. It further approved the appointment of Professor Jon Simons as Interim Head of the School of Biological Sciences from 1 October 2023 to 31 December 2023, while the Head of School, Professor Anna Philpott, is on sabbatical leave.

Council membership

The Council noted with great sadness the death of Dr Ann Kaminski on 31 October 2023. Dr Kaminski was Head of Scientific Administration at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute and a Fellow of St Edmund’s College. She had been a member of the Council since 1 January 2021.

As noted in the last Annual Report, in September 2022 the Council appointed Professor Deborah Prentice as Vice‑Chancellor with effect from July 2023. The Acting Vice-Chancellor, Dr Anthony Freeling, therefore acted as Chair for all but the July meeting of the Council during 2022–23. However, from early April until 30 June Professor Prentice, as Vice-Chancellor Elect, worked alongside the Acting Vice-Chancellor in preparation for formally taking up office. The Council appointed Ms Gaenor Bagley, one of its four external members, to the role of Deputy Chair of the Council from 1 January 2023, following the conclusion of Mr Lewisohn’s term on the Council.

In preparation for its biennial elections, the Council held an online Town Hall meeting during Michaelmas Term for those who were interested in standing. The aim of the meeting was to encourage a diverse range of candidates by answering their questions about the nature of the role and the Council’s work. A recording of the event was shared with all staff.

Council members (other than ex officio and student members) serve for four years from 1 January. Student members of the Council serve for one year from 1 July. Due to changes in personal circumstances there were a number of membership changes outside the standard cycle. Council membership for the 2022–23 academic year was as follows:

The Chancellor

The Vice-Chancellor (Chair), Professor Deborah Prentice (from 1 July 2023)

The Acting Vice-Chancellor (Chair), Dr Anthony Freeling (from 1 September 2022 until 30 June 2023)

Elected as Heads of Colleges (class (a))

Professor Dame Madeleine Atkins, LC
Ms Heather Hancock, JN
Baroness Sally Morgan of Huyton, F
Professor Pippa Rogerson, CAI

Elected as Professors, Clinical Professors, Readers and Professors (Grade 11) (class (b))

Professor Arif Ahmed, CAI (from 1 January 2023 until 1 June 2023)
Professor Anthony Davenport, CTH
Professor Maria Manuel Lisboa, JN (until 2 March 2023)
Professor Richard Mortier, CC (from 15 June 2023)
Professor Sharon Peacock, JN (from 16 May 2023)
Professor Richard Penty, SID (until 31 December 2022)
Professor Jason Scott-Warren, CAI

Elected as members of the Regent House (class (c))

Dr Zoe Adams, K
Ms Milly Bodfish (from 1 January 2023)
Dr Ruth Charles, N (until 31 December 2022)
Mr John Dix, DAR (from 1 January 2023)
Dr Nicholas Holmes, T (until 31 December 2022)
Dr Louise Joy, HO (from 1 January 2023)
Dr Ann Kaminski, ED
Dr Philip Michael Knox, K (until 31 December 2022)
Mr Scott Mandelbrote, PET (from 1 January 2023)
Dr Andrew Sanchez, W (until 31 December 2022)
Dr Michael Sewell, SE
Dr Pieter Van Houten, CHU

Student members (class (d))

Ms Zaynab Ahmed, N (until 30 June 2023)
Mr Sam Carling, CC
Ms Amelia Jabry, LC (until 30 June 2023)
Mr Fergus Kirman, CC (from 1 July 2023)
Mr Vareesh Pratap, LC (from 1 July 2023)

External members (class (e))

Ms Gaenor Anne Bagley, TH
Ms Sharon Flood
Professor Sir Alexander Halliday (from 1 July 2023)
Mr Mark Lewisohn, CHR (until 31 December 2022)
Professor Andrew Wathey (from 1 March 2023)

Council meeting plan for 2023–24

In response to concerns raised in various fora about the workload of Council members, the Council has agreed to trial a new meeting schedule during 2023–24. This schedule has been designed to use members’ time more effectively while enabling the Council to operate more strategically and to show greater leadership in the context of large-scale institutional and external change.

In the new schedule there will be six in-person meetings, each of which will start with an in-depth strategic session on a particular topic. There will also be three shorter online meetings that will normally take place outside term and which will focus on updates from the Vice-Chancellor and Pro-Vice-Chancellors on recent developments and emerging issues, plus any urgent business.

Finally, following positive feedback on this year’s Strategic Awayday, there will be a residential Strategic Awayday for members of the Council, the General Board and the Senior Leadership Team to facilitate joined-up strategic discussions on the main challenges facing the University.

28 November 2023

Deborah Prentice, Vice‑Chancellor

Zoe Adams

Madeleine Atkins

Gaenor Bagley

Milly Bodfish

Sam Carling

Anthony Davenport

John Dix

Sharon Flood

Alex Halliday

Heather Hancock

Louise Joy

Fergus Kirman

Scott Mandelbrote

Sally Morgan

Richard Mortier

Sharon Peacock

Vareesh Pratap

Pippa Rogerson

Jason Scott-Warren

Andrew Wathey

Michael Sewell

Pieter Van Houten


Annual Report of the General Board to the Council for the academic year 2022–23

In accordance with Statute A V 1(a), the General Board makes the following Report to the Council on the discharge of its duties during the academic year 2022–23:


This Annual Report describes the major pieces of business that engaged the General Board during the 2022–23 academic year, focusing on the following areas:

1.Key themes and strategic developments

1.1Academic strategy

1.2Education and other student-related matters

1.3Research matters

1.4Human resources matters

2.Reports from committees

3.Other items of business

1. Key themes and strategic developments

1.1 Academic strategy

The General Board has a key role in identifying funding priorities and objectives for the academic University, and in Lent Term 2023, endorsed a proposed approach to developing a University priority setting framework, with the intention of incorporating the consideration of priorities into future planning rounds, and informing Cambridge University’s Development and Alumni Relations (CUDAR)’s approach to pursuing philanthropic opportunities. The General Board will receive an update on the development of this priority-setting framework in 2023–24.

In July 2023, the General Board received an update on the implementation of the Schools’ academic visions. Informed by the issues raised by the Schools, the General Board agreed a small number of strategic priorities to provide a focus for its work in the upcoming academic year: securing additional funding for postgraduate scholarships; growing and diversifying research income; curriculum review and reform to address staff and student workload issues; and prioritisation of capital investment in buildings, including a longer term plan based on academic priorities.

In April 2023, the Council, the General Board and the University’s Senior Leadership Team held a strategic meeting at which topics for discussion included academic investment, achieving change, sustainability and carbon reduction, and people.

1.2 Education and other student-related matters

Marking and Assessment Boycott

University and College Union’s marking and assessment boycott began on 20 April 2023. University staff participating in the boycott did not participate in marking and assessment processes that contribute to summative assessment decisions for students.

Between June and September 2023, the General Board held seven extraordinary meetings to consider matters related to the Marking and Assessment Boycott. At its meeting on 22 June 2023, the General Board agreed that on a case by case basis, it would consider allowing Final Meetings of the Examiners, at which class-lists are signed,1 to take place without all Examiners being present. These decisions would be made on the basis that the students being examined had a full set of marks, that academic standards would be maintained, and that these students would consequently receive their degree or other qualification. Subsequently, the General Board approved a number of these requests.

On 31 August 2023, the General Board published a Notice2 giving a deadline of 16 October 2023 for the Registrary to receive class-lists. The Notice stated that Boards of Examiners could seek permission exceptionally from the General Board for the deadline to be extended. Subsequently, the General Board approved six requests for permission for this deadline to be extended, in cases where Faculties and Departments did not have the capacity to meet this deadline.

Student mental health and workload

Along with the Council, the General Board received a summary of the main areas of activity undertaken in response to the Strategic Review of Mental Health Provision, together with an outline of work still in progress. The update covered the broader change programme which resulted from the Strategic Review of Mental Health Provision, the Student Suicide-Safer Strategy, and the Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Plan 2022–25.

The General Board also received a proposal from the Reading Week Working Group to run a pilot for a reading week in the middle of Lent Term 2024–25, as a means of reducing the pressure of workload on students. The General Board noted that high workload had a negative impact on student mental health, and it was supportive of efforts to reduce workload for students, but agreed that the introduction of a reading week was not the best way to address this issue. Recognising that there were strong feelings on the matter across the University, the General Board recommended to the Council that the proposal for a pilot of a reading week be taken to the Regent House for decision. The General Board further noted that work was ongoing to develop other approaches to address the issue of workload, and that a progress report would be brought to the Board during 2023–24.

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) submission

At its January meeting, the General Board approved the University’s submission to the TEF – a national scheme run by the Office for Students (OfS) to encourage higher education providers to improve and deliver excellence in the areas that students care about the most: teaching, learning and student outcomes. The results of the TEF were released in September 2023, and the Board noted the award of a Gold rating overall, with Gold in both of the sub sections of student experience and student outcomes. The General Board’s Education Committee (GBEC) will review in detail the assessment made by the OfS and prepare an action plan to address any areas where improvements might be made.


The General Board received a paper from the University and Colleges’ Joint Committee (UCJC), outlining the context of ongoing discussions relating to the reform of undergraduate admissions governance structures, and possible models of governance committee structures arising from that work and subsequent consultations.

The General Board also received an update on progress replacing the admissions tests currently administered by Cambridge University Press & Assessment with tests provided by a new external delivery partner for the 2024 admissions round. The General Board will receive a further update on this work in 2023–24.

Administering bodies

Administering bodies are considered to be authorities within the University with permission to directly recruit and deliver programmes which lead to University sub‑degree awards (certificates and diplomas) to non‑matriculated students. During the 2022–23 year, the General Board approved a Framework for Administering Bodies which sets out clearer expectations regarding their responsibilities, and approved a request from the Degree Committee of Engineering to become an administering body.

The Strategy for Sport and Physical Activity (2023–27)

The General Board approved the Strategy for Sport and Physical Activity in March 2023. The Strategy incorporated a new, core focus on physical activity, in its broadest sense, for both students and staff. It aims to support the University’s commitment to delivering a positive student experience, recruiting and retaining staff, and proactively supporting the health and wellbeing of the University community.

New rate of study for part-time students studying for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

As part of the University’s widening participation agenda, the General Board approved the publication of a Report proposing an amendment to the General Board Regulations in the Ordinances of the University for the introduction of a new rate of study of 0.75 FTE (full-time equivalent) for part-time Ph.D. students. The new rate will be offered to all part-time incoming and current Ph.D. students, in addition to the current part-time option of 0.6 FTE. The Report was subsequently approved by the Regent House on 4 August 2023.3

Exams and assessment

At its March meeting, the General Board approved an amendment to the Examination Review Procedure. At its June meeting, it also approved amendments to the way in which the modes and methods of assessment were regulated, granting Faculty Boards, Degree Committees and equivalent bodies greater flexibility to determine the most appropriate forms of assessment for their courses within an overall framework, and to simplify procedures. The Report was subsequently approved by the Regent House on 4 August 2023.

Other education/student-related matters

In November, the General Board approved the publication of a Report proposing the establishment of a new degree of Master of the Conservation of Easel Paintings. The Report was subsequently approved by the Regent House on 24 February 2023.4

In July, the General Board approved proposed revisions to the Student Discipline Procedure as a result of updates to sector and legal guidance, and due to the University having been able to reflect on its experience in handling cases. At the same meeting, it approved, for its part, the Student Consultation Framework – a good practice guide intended to enhance the University’s collaborative engagement with students.

The General Board also approved, on a permanent basis, the delivery of fully online certificates and diplomas for non-matriculated students when current temporary permissions come to an end in 2025.

The General Board also responded to a query from the University Council’s Business Committee addressing the possibility of a student resigning their University membership and renouncing their degree. The General Board agreed to review the Statute on continuing University membership to consider the option of removing University membership from a person but with the option of retaining any conferred degree(s).

1.3 Research matters

Actions arising from the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

At its January meeting, the Board agreed a list of proposed actions arising from the University’s REF 2021 preparation process and the REF results. Actions were divided into high and standard priority, and focused on the following areas: funding; future REF preparation and research support. The General Board will receive an update on the implementation of these actions in 2023–24.

Strategic Research Reviews (SRRs)

Following the results of REF 2014, the University introduced a programme of SRRs, with the aim of developing the long-term quality of the University’s research endeavour.5 Throughout 2022–23, the General Board received updates on the progress of the implementation of the recommendations of the SRRs of Astronomy; History and Philosophy of Science; and Politics and International Studies.

Other research-related matters

In June 2023, the General Board received an update on the progress made by the contracts team at the Research Operations Office in relation to process improvements on managing research contracts. The General Board noted the progress already made, and will receive a further update in 2023–24.

The General Board endorsed the Annual Research Integrity Report for 2021–22, which provided an overview of activities that supported and strengthened the understanding and application of research integrity at the University. Production of this annual report is a requirement of the Concordat to Support Research Integrity. The General Board also received an accompanying table of assurance of compliance with the Concordat to Support Research Integrity.6

The General Board also approved the adoption of a mandated University Procedure for the management of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Training Grants, in order ensure compliance with UKRI funding terms and conditions.

1.4 Human resources matters

In the 2022–23 year, the General Board, along with the Council, approved the publication of a Report proposing a new Dignity at Work Policy (2023 ed.) and a new Grievance Policy. The new Dignity at Work Policy addressed issues of bullying, harassment, discrimination, sexual misconduct and victimisation, and supported the resolution of such incidents at an early stage and in an informal and collaborative way where possible. The new Grievance Policy combined, updated and replaced the existing separate policies for unestablished Academic and Academic-related staff and Assistant staff. The Report was subsequently approved by the Regent House on 9 June 2023.7

In January 2023, the General Board approved a New Hybrid Working Policy covering non-contractual arrangements around hybrid working across the University, reflecting the change to working practices since the pandemic and the preference for flexibility around this type of working to be retained. In addition, the Board approved a revised Flexible Working Policy including new content related to the Hybrid Working Policy and revisions arising out of a general review to simplify and improve the functioning of the Policy.

The General Board and the Council also approved a revised International Working Policy reflecting the University’s focus on employee safety and wellbeing, recent changes to the workplace (with an increasing number of staff requesting remote working outside the UK), and the tighter legislation applicable to these working arrangements.

The General Board also received the University’s annual Equality and Diversity reporting, noting in particular that the pace of progress towards equal pay was slow, and that the University would soon begin work to develop an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. It recommended the reports to the Council for publication. The General Board also requested that further work be undertaken to consider how to improve the University’s market pay process.

The General Board also advised the Council on a response to Discussion remarks proposing the suspension of the Employer Justified Retirement Age (EJRA), pending a review of the outcome of the University’s EJRA and its Retirement Policy.

At its May meeting, the General Board approved the establishment of a group to review the operation of the Head of School and Head of Department selection and appointment process across the Schools, the role descriptions, and the payments for taking on these roles. The General Board also approved the addition of the posts of Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of School to the list of those offices whose holders may apply for study leave, in line with the academic-related responsibilities associated with these roles.

Throughout the 2022–23 academic year, the General Board also approved: the publication of a Report containing proposals to allow curators and associated academic staff at Grade 9 to apply for promotion to Grade 10 (subsequently approved by the Regent House on 4 August 2023);8 a schedule of payments for medically qualified examiners; proposals to standardise the process of booking, calculating and using annual leave; and changes to the Contribution Reward Scheme for Academic-Related staff in Grade 12.

2. Reports from committees

Committees reporting to the General Board

Change and Programme Management Board (CPMB)

The CPMB was established in May 2022, and in the intervening period, added the Director of Finance to its membership in November 2022 and an additional independent member in May 2023.

Its major activities throughout the 2022–23 year included:

Establishing a Sequencing Steering Group as a sub‑committee of the Board, with a goal to develop a roadmap of key milestones and impact across the portfolio to enable the CPMB to prioritise the work of the overall programme. It has recently begun to include consideration of activities which sit outside the portfolio but which may in time affect the performance of the portfolio.

Approving the establishment of the Business Data Governance Group to make decisions about the integrated management of the University’s business data.

Maintaining consistent communications, providing updates after each Board meeting to senior leaders and other important stakeholders.

• Providing an additional level of scrutiny for business cases from the transformation programmes prior to being submitted to the Planning and Resources Committee (PRC) for consideration.

Enabling discussion about cross-portfolio risk management, including the impact of activity outside the portfolio.

Holding important conversations focused around where accountability lies for decisions made within the portfolio.

Coordinating an assurance programme across the portfolio, in collaboration with the Governance and Compliance Division.

General Board’s Education Committee (GBEC)

GBEC continued to be the primary authority in regard to operational responsibility for teaching quality assurance and standards. In addition to engaging with the education/other student-related matters considered by the General Board, the following section summarises other aspects of GBEC’s activity.

Strategic Review of Mental Health Provision

A new Joint Wellbeing Committee was established with the Senior Tutors’ Committee, and took responsibility for monitoring progress against recommendations of the Strategic Review of Mental Health Provision. It endorsed a Suicide-Safer Action Plan; a new Student Death Response Plan; and a mental health training framework and agreed that the University should sign up to the Cambridge and Peterborough Suicide Prevention Strategy.

Course provision

The Committee approved the introduction of a non-accredited Engineering Sciences pathway for the Engineering Tripos in response to changed requirements of the accrediting bodies.

Following extensive consultation, the Committee approved revised guidance in respect of expectations for the recording of teaching.

Quality and standards

The Committee received a positive report from the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) on its review of the University’s Higher and Degree Apprenticeships delivered through the Institute of Continuing Education (ICE). ICE will receive a full inspection visit in due course.

The Committee commended a new framework on student consultation, developed by the Cambridge SU, which was subsequently approved by the General Board and the Council.

The Committee noted concerns raised by a UKRI Audit on procedures for the management of UKRI studentships and agreed that new arrangements should be put in place.

Postgraduate research matters

The Committee, through its Postgraduate Committee, continued to oversee a programme of work to review doctoral education. Under the auspices of this programme, GBEC approved changes to working to allow students to work for up to 20 hours a week and to remove restrictions on the type of work that can be undertaken; approved changes to the regulations and procedures for allowances and exemptions of terms for postgraduate research students; and approved a new framework for PGR supervision.

The Postgraduate Committee was formally placed under GBEC replacing the direct reporting line to the General Board.

Other work

GBEC has kept the University’s risk register under review in so far as it relates to activity under its purview, and has continued to monitor mitigating actions.

It also remained actively involved in external educational affairs, participating in, and/or being informed of, responses to consultations on: changes to the regulation of Access and Participation Plans and equality of opportunity in English Higher Education; and the future of the National Student Survey.

GBEC discussed potential risks to assessment in Easter Term 2023 of recent developments in text-writing software (AI), and issued guidance to Faculties and Departments on possible mitigations; it agreed that the current academic misconduct policies had sufficient flexibility for sanctions to be applied if a student used such technologies to generate work for summative assessment. Work on the implications of changing technologies on teaching continues with support from the Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning and the Blended Learning Service.

It agreed that a procedure for precautionary action in the context of discipline should be drafted jointly with the Colleges. It also approved changes to the exam review procedures to remove the informal stage which allowed students to immediately inform examiners of alleged procedural irregularities, in favour of a consolidated approach.

It approved new arrangements for self certification by students of extensions to coursework deadlines.

The Committee discussed the developing sustainability strategy; a refreshed version of the Cambridge University’s Libraries Strategy; and approved a strategy digital education, which is built on a set of guiding principles for blended learning within the residential Cambridge model. The Digital Education Strategy will be supported by a series of implementation frameworks which will be developed over the course of 2023–24.

GBEC also noted disappointing National Student Survey response rates for 2022 and that response rates to the Postgraduate Research Experience Survey and Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey were also low. Work is underway to develop a strategy to improve levels of student engagement.

The Committee reviewed rates of payments to Examiners, Assessors and Supervisors including descriptions of the roles. It received updates on its review of part-time students and supported proposed arrangements for the provision of disability and careers support for non-matriculated students. It received regular updates on UCU industrial action; noted outcomes of a review of Cambridge costs of living for students; and received results from the 2022 Teaching and Learning Survey.

Museums Committee

During 2022–23, the Museums Committee advised on funding applications for the University of Cambridge Museums (UCM) Consortium, as well as the matter of curatorial progression within the University’s Collections. The Committee further received updates on the University’s progress to create and recruit to the position of Director of Collections Strategy; a project between the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology to facilitate closer structural alignment between the two institutions; UCM’s Legacies of Enslavement Programme;9 and the work of the Collections–Connections–Communities Strategic Research Initiative.10 Finally the Board considered amending its terms of reference to include representatives of other University Collections in its membership. The matter will return to the Committee for decision in 2023–24.

Research Policy Committee (RPC)

During 2022–23, the RPC confirmed that from October 2023 the Cambridge Global Challenges and Cambridge Academy of Therapeutic Sciences Strategic Research Initiatives (SRIs)11 would transition to become Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IRCs)12 with the aim of facilitating those groups to attract major interdisciplinary research funding and create new partnerships. The RPC also established a Working Group to review the SRI and IRC portfolio and proposed next steps for the development of the scheme.

In October 2022, the RPC approved a number of recommendations and actions designed to ensure the University’s compliance with the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Trusted Research and Innovation Principles.13 The RPC has monitored the implementation of these recommendations through 2022–23 and will continue to receive reports on these actions in 2023–24.

The RPC welcomed steps by the University’s Sustainability Team to develop a Sustainability Strategy for the University. To ensure strategic oversight of policy relating to the sustainable design and delivery of research activity at the University, the RPC established a Sustainable Research Working Group. The new Working Group will contribute towards the delivery of the wider Sustainability Strategy and report regularly to the RPC.

In April 2023, the RPC received a report on Fossil Fuel Energy Related Company Funding for Research from the Advisory Group on Research Purpose (AGRP). This report identified a need to develop a strategic approach to support for energy transition research in the University. The RPC requested that AGRP undertake a review and provide recommendations for the development of such an approach.

Following approval of its updated terms of reference in June 2022, the RPC also, together with the Human Resources Committee (HRC), agreed the establishment of the Research Culture Steering Committee, which will provide oversight of the University’s research culture activities and support. The RPC also continued to oversee work to develop an Enabling Framework for Research.

University Research Ethics Committee (UREC)

During 2022–23, UREC continued its work of reviewing and advising departmental and School research ethics committees (RECs) to ensure they meet University standards, including reviewing of documentation of three new local RECs that were formally established. The Committee has noted the sustained increase in the number of ethics applications reviewed by RECs in the 2021–22 academic year and expects School-level RECs to report increased numbers in 2022–23.

Responding to feedback, UREC has worked to enhance the support and guidance it provides to RECs. Following completion of a detailed review, UREC developed a handbook for RECs that updates and harmonises relevant University ethics guidance, bringing clarity to key ethical themes. On this basis, UREC has embarked on the development of an online induction module for new and existing REC members. The expectation is that the module will launch in 2023–24.

UREC has agreed to establish an expert sub-committee to be tasked with providing advice around University policies and processes relating to research with the potential for environment impact and/or involving cultural objects to facilitate UREC consideration of these matters as part of its remit.

Committees reporting jointly to the Council and the General Board

Fitzwilliam Museum Syndicate

In 2022–23, the Fitzwilliam Museum Syndicate kept the Museum’s Business Plan under regular review, including a new income generation strategy containing details of vision, timetable and capacity, ensuring the project fully aligns with the University’s mission14 and its Enhanced Financial Transparency (EFT) project.15 The Syndicate was also regularly involved in discussing an updated Masterplan Vision document that resets the direction for the Museum’s work in the context of the Reshaping our Estate project.16

The Syndicate approved the acquisition of works that better reflect the diversity of the Museum’s audience and tell a larger and more complex history of art. This includes significant acquisitions of works by major Caribbean Artist Movement painters, Antico’s Apollo Belvedere, and the hybrid acquisition of Bridget Riley’s Banner I of 1968. The Syndicate further approved major loans to a number of institutions in the UK, Europe and America.

The Syndicate supported a number of major developments currently transforming the Fitzwilliam Museum as a research institution, focusing on collaborative and participatory research and impact, and thereby bolstering its contribution to the wider strategy of the University.

The Syndicate, through the Hamilton Kerr Institute (HKI) Advisory Committee, also considered work regarding the long-term future of the HKI as a leading teaching and research institute for art conservation and heritage science.

A review of the Syndicate and its sub-committee is underway, considering the Syndicate’s role and the Museum’s needs in terms of decision-making advice, support, and advocacy.

Kettle’s Yard Committee

At its November meeting, the Kettle’s Yard Committee considered the ‘Charging Project’, which led to the decision to recommend to the General Board that paid admission to the house at Kettle’s Yard be introduced from April 2023. The General Board approved the proposal, which will continue to be monitored by the Committee following its implementation. The introduction of charging is part of the Kettle’s Yard business plan – a wider initiative to increase Kettle’s Yard’s annual revenue to ensure its financial sustainability in the long-term. The Committee has continued to monitor progress on other elements of the business plan, including an Endowment Campaign to be launched later in 2023.

The 2022–23 year also saw the start of a new period of Arts Council England (ACE) funding allocated to Kettle’s Yard, and the Committee monitored the progress that Kettle’s Yard is making to implement the terms of its funding agreement with ACE.

The Committee continued to review Kettle’s Yard’s risk register and management accounts, and in July 2023, it received the first indicative forecast for 2023–24.

Library Syndicate

In the 2022–23 year, the Library Syndicate engaged with a strategy refresh for Cambridge University Libraries (CUL), with the developing strategic plan being a substantive item of business at all meetings. These high-level discussions were underpinned by the cycle of routine business including the CUL Strategic Risk Register; the Planning Round submission; and financial forecasting and reporting.

The Syndicate also discussed other substantive issues throughout the year. These included an item on estates strategy, which prompted a rich discussion about the importance of place as well as resources and services in library provision. In this context, the Syndicate approved the terms of reference for a Programme Board for Phase 1 of the University Library Masterplan.

The Syndicate also considered equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and received external reports reviewing issues around inclusion in the University libraries through consultation with staff and students, and bringing forward recommendations. The Syndicate approved a series of EDI actions in support of the Strategic Plan. Another substantive discussion was around education; the Syndicate considered the range and depth of support, services and facilities which CUL provides to students and those who teach them, and how this support enriches the overall educational experience.

On the research side, the Syndicate welcomed the launch of the University Library Research Institute with a mission to enhance international scholarship by connecting people and collections.

The Syndicate also received a report on the external review of the governance of the designated special collections at the University Library and a report from the Joint Sub-Syndicate of the Arts and Humanities and the Humanities and Social Sciences Libraries.

Sports Committee

Following an extensive consultation process, the Sports Committee approved the Strategy for Sport and Physical Activity (2023–27). The Strategy includes a new, additional focus on physical activity programmes for both students and staff. The Sports Service, in consultation with the Committee, also commenced work on a Sports Facilities Masterplan with the ambition of supporting the development of West and North West Cambridge, improving and increasing the University’s offer for students, staff and the wider community.

The Sports Committee continued to oversee the work of the University’s Sports Service. 3,554 students signed up for Sports Club memberships (48 clubs) during the academic year. There were 514 British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) (inter-university) league and cup fixtures. More than 2,000 students competed for Cambridge in BUCS competitions and the final ranking for Cambridge in the overall BUCS table was 15th, out of 148 institutions. Resources continued to be invested in helping intercollegiate sporting competitions to expand and thrive, with an estimated 4,500 students participating in a range of leagues, cups competitions and events.

Operationally, the Sports Service remained focused on rebuilding membership numbers, which reached 96% of pre-pandemic levels by the end of the Financial Year. Both student and community membership categories recovered fully but staff membership numbers remained lower, likely due to hybrid working patterns changing how often staff are in the workplace, and how and where they access gym facilities. Sports hall and external facility hire, class and court usage fully recovered for student, staff and community groups by the end of the year.

Other joint committees

The Committee on Prevent and Freedom of Speech, the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, the Environmental Sustainability Strategy Committee, the Estates Committee, the Health and Safety Executive Committee, the HRC, the Information Services Committee, the International Strategy Committee and the PRC are also joint Committees of the Council and the General Board, and report to both bodies. More information regarding their work can be found in the Council’s Annual Report (from p. 136).

3. Other items of business

Establishment of senior positions

The Board proposed the establishment (or re-establishment) of the following senior positions, in some cases supported by generous benefactions or other external funds:

Professorship of Quantitative Plant Development

Professorship of Organisational Behaviour

Kuwait Professorship of Number Theory and Algebra

Professorship of Stem Cell Medicine

Professorship of Control Engineering

Professorship of Social Psychology

Dobson Professorship of Material Science and Metallurgy

Professorship of Evolutionary Biology and Ecology

Head of School appointments are listed in the Council’s Annual Report (p. 139).

Emergency Action Plans

The Board received an annual report on the status of Emergency Action Plans (EAPs) in General Board institutions. EAPs detail the Institution’s Gold and Silver emergency response teams and include a continuity plan to identify critical activities and resources, and contingency actions to mitigate any reduction or loss of these activities and resources. All Institutions have EAPs in place and just under 90% of plans have been updated in the last year (work to address the implications of the Marking and Assessment Boycott have contributed to delays in updating the remaining plans). However, all plans will be reviewed this calendar year in the course of being transferred to a new template plan. The plan has been developed in accordance with the updated Incident Management and Business Continuity Policy that was approved by the General Board and the Council in January 2023 and which takes effect from 1 January 2024. The new plan comprises updated incident response documentation and focuses more on continuity planning to support Institutions’ resilience.

Risk registers for Schools and Non-School Institutions

During Easter Term 2023, the General Board considered the School risk registers and the risk registers for the Non-School Institutions (NSI) under its supervision.17 Heads of Schools highlighted several risks, falling broadly under the categories of financial sustainability, infrastructure and the estate, recruitment and retention, and continued research excellence. Many of the risks identified were aligned with those identified on the University Risk Register, albeit with differing pressures between the six Schools, particularly in relation to research funding. For the NSIs, financial sustainability was identified as a key risk, particularly for the University museums as a result of a reduction in external grant funding. The Board noted the mitigating actions being taken to address the risks.

Teaching Hospital Partner status

The General Board exercised its ability to approve the award of Teaching Hospital Partner status to clinical placement providers that are considered to make a substantial contribution to the education of Cambridge students.

Other items of business

General Board self-effectiveness review

In Michaelmas Term 2022, the General Board conducted a self-effectiveness review. The results indicated that in many areas, members were broadly content with how the General Board operates. In other areas, General Board members noted potential to improve the General Board’s operation. The General Board’s Secretariat has since taken action to address areas where improvement was needed, and the General Board will receive an update in 2023–24.

Estates-related matters

In November 2022, the General Board, for its part, approved the creation and terms of reference for a new ‘Estates Committee’ to take on the strategic work of the Estates Strategy Committee as its core function. It is also intended that the Committee will provide high-level oversight of all governance of the operational estate, in order to ensure that strategic planning joins up with the accurate costing and effective delivery of plans.

The General Board also endorsed a set of principles for the Reshaping our Estate project, which, led by the Estates Division, aims to deliver a smaller, but improved, estate which operates with greater efficiency, to better support the University’s academic mission, reduce long-term annual costs and support the drive for zero carbon emissions.18

Cyber security

Along with the Council, the General Board approved a trial of the draft Email Address Allocation and Retention Policy. The Policy captured the existing registration process for allocating University email addresses to staff, students and associates, and for those who would not automatically retain their email address, it proposed two facilities: complete retention of email permissions or automatic mail forwarding of University of Cambridge email to a private email address. The Policy will trialled by three volunteer institutions over 2023–24, before returning to the Council and the General Board in Easter Term 2024.

The General Board also endorsed an action plan to reduce cyber security risk, and as part of the plan, mandated that all University staff complete online cyber security awareness training. The plan was subsequently approved by the Council.

Final report of the Cambridge Judge Business School (CJBS) Review

The CJBS Review was set-up to ‘define a governance and operating framework for the CJBS which will provide an optimum balance between transparency, accountability and autonomy such that the CJBS continues to thrive academically and contributes appropriately to the success of the wider University’.

The General Board received the final report of the group that carried out the Review, and in consultation with the CJBS Faculty Board, approved the establishment of a working group to assess the feasibility of implementing the report’s proposals.

Self-Archiving Policy

In March 2023, the General Board approved a Self-Archiving Policy. The Policy was developed to create a route to open access for articles that could not be made open access through other routes.

Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) strategic review

CRASSH exists within the School of Arts and Humanities, but is an institution under the supervision of the General Board. The General Board received the report of the CRASSH strategic review, and CRASSH’s response to the report, for note.

Annual reports to the Board

During 2022–23, the Board received and noted annual reports from the following committees/institutions:

Cambridge Centre for Advanced Research and Education in Singapore

Cambridge University Botanic Garden

Cambridge University Libraries

Cambridge University Press & Assessment

Committee for the Management of the Natural Sciences Tripos

Cambridge University Development and Alumni Relations office (CUDAR)

Fitzwilliam Museum and Hamilton Kerr Institute

Information Services Committee

Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences

Institute of Continuing Education

Kettle’s Yard

Music Performance Committee

Scott Polar Research Institute

Sports Service

University Research Ethics Committee

Minutes of committees reporting to the Board

The Board can report that, during the year, it received and noted the minutes of the following committees:

Committee on Prevent and Freedom of Speech

Environmental Sustainability Strategy Committee

Fitzwilliam Museum Syndicate

General Board’s Education Committee

Health and Safety Executive Committee

Human Resources Committee

Information Services Committee

International Strategy Committee

Kettle’s Yard Committee

Library Syndicate

Museums Committee

Planning and Resources Committee

Postdoctoral Matters Committee

Research Policy Committee

University Biomedical Services Governance and Strategy Committee

University Sports Committee

28 November 2023

Deborah Prentice, Vice‑Chancellor

Caredig Ap Tomos

Madeleine Atkins

Tim Harper

Patrick Maxwell

Nigel Peake

Richard Penty

Jon Simons

Emily So

Pieter Van Houten

Bhaskar Vira

Chris Young