Congregation

  • Thursday 21 March 2013
  • NO. 5020
  • VOL. 143

Congregation23 April

2pm

¶ Members of Congregation are reminded that any two members may, not later than noon on 15 April, give notice in writing to the Registrar that they intend to oppose or amend the resolutions at 1–3 below (see the note on the conduct of business in Congregation below). If no such notice has been given, and unless Council has declared otherwise or the meeting has been adjourned, the resolutions shall be carried and the meeting may be cancelled.

1 Voting on Resolution authorising the use of space in the Robert Hooke Building

Explanatory Note

In June 2010, the Planning and Resource Allocation Committee of Council (PRAC) authorised the allocation of space within the Robert Hooke Building to the Department of Physics to house the Physical Climate Science Centre. This allocation will expire on 30 September 2013.

The Department of Physics requires continued use of this space together with additional space for two other purposes: to enable co-location of the Department's soft nanomaterials activities in facilities which, with minimal refurbishment, are ideally suited to that purpose; and to house two academics whose research requires specific environmental conditions which cannot be provided within the existing departmental estate. Council (on the recommendation of PRAC and its Buildings and Estates Subcommittee) proposes the extension of the allocation within the Robert Hooke Building, both in terms of duration and area, as an ideal solution to these needs.

Congregation previously (on 2 November 2010) allocated space in the Robert Hooke Building, including the additional space now proposed for allocation to the Department of Physics, to the Department of Chemistry from 1 October 2010 to 30 September 2013, as part of the decant strategy for the project to construct a second Chemistry Research Laboratory (CRL2) (see Gazette No 4932, 28 October 2010). This allocation is deemed to have lapsed, on the grounds that the CRL2 project did not proceed according to its then envisaged programme.

Text of Resolution

That approximately 820 sq m net usable area in the Robert Hooke Building be allocated to the Department of Physics until 30 September 2017.

2 Voting on Resolution authorising the use of space at the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter

Explanatory Note

On 12 October 2010, Congregation allocated 6,300 sq m at the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter (ROQ) for the construction of a building for the Blavatnik School of Government (BSG) (see Gazette No 4929, 7 October 2010). At that time, no specific building design existed. The area to be allocated was based upon the ROQ masterplan block plan and it was, therefore, necessary to express the allocation in terms of gross internal area (GIA). This was a departure from the standard practice of allocation space on the basis of net usable area.

The building design has now been developed, which delivers a larger floor space than envisaged in the masterplan (7,886 sq m GIA). The area occupied by the BSG would therefore be in excess of that allocated to it by Congregation. The case for allocating space on the ROQ to the BSG (as set out in Gazette No 4928, 30 September 2010) has not changed. The purpose of the increased building capacity is to safeguard the future growth of the BSG. On that basis, Council (on the recommendation of the Planning and Resource Allocation Committee and its Buildings and Estates Sub-committee) agreed to put the resolution below to Congregation. This resolution would supersede that made on 12 October 2010.

The existence of a developed design enables the revised allocation to be presented on a net usable area basis.

Text of resolution

That a building on the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter of approximately 5,400 sq m net usable area be allocated to the Blavatnik School of Government.

3 Voting on Resolution authorising the use of space at the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter (the Outpatients building)

Explanatory Note

The three listed buildings on the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter site frame an open courtyard facing out onto Woodstock Road. Two of the three buildings have undergone recent works – St Luke's Chapel has had repairs carried out to its fabric and the Radcliffe Humanities building has been refurbished – and the Triton fountain was replaced in September 2012. This leaves a need to refurbish the Outpatients building to complete the works on the south-east corner of the ROQ.

While Congregation has previously approved the allocation of this building to the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art (see Gazette No 2873, 26 February 2009), following further feasibility studies, neither the school nor the Humanities Division wishes to pursue this allocation. Consideration has therefore been given to alternative uses for the Outpatients building.

Process for consideration of space allocations at the ROQ

All space allocations relating to the ROQ go through a multi-stage process. Options are considered in the first instance by the ROQ Management Board, which comprises the Proctors and Assessor, the Pro-Vice-Chancellors for Planning and Resources, Research/ASUC, and Development and External Affairs, the Heads of Division (except Medical Sciences), Bodley's Librarian, the Chair of the Buildings and Estates Sub-committee (BESC) (who also chairs the board), the Director of Estates and the Director of Planning and Resource Allocation. Once the allocation has been discussed and recommended by the ROQ Management Board, the next stage is decision and ratification by BESC, who may authorise an allocation of up to 300 sq m net usable area (NUA). Any allocation above that size is referred onwards to the Planning and Resource Allocation Committee of Council (PRAC) and, if the proposed site exceeds 1,000 sq m or a building is over 600 sq m NUA, PRAC asks Council to recommend it to Congregation.

At its meeting on 17 January 2013, BESC considered two possible uses of the space; both were referred to it by the ROQ Management Board. On balance, the case for the Department of Primary Care Health Sciences was considered to be the stronger, and at a meeting on 22 February 2013 PRAC agreed to recommend this allocation to Council.

Case for allocation to the Department of Primary Care Health Sciences

The Department of Primary Care Health Sciences (DPCHS) is of strategic importance to the Medical Sciences Division: it provides community-based clinical teaching in all years of the undergraduate medical course, which is essential for the course's General Medical Council accreditation. Furthermore, its applied clinical research on common diseases managed in general practice facilitates community-based research carried out by other clinical departments (particularly in diabetes, stroke, and infectious disease), and its close relationship with GPs has strategic importance for the University.

In September 2012, the department moved into new premises at New Radcliffe House on the ROQ (allocated by Congregation in December 2009). The staff of the department include a number of community-based teaching staff (some of whom are GPs). The move to New Radcliffe House therefore provides valuable co-location with clinical colleagues in the three GP practices located in New Radcliffe House. All of these practices are University-linked teaching practices and some of the partners hold stipendiary University posts. However, the space in New Radcliffe House is insufficient to meet the needs of DPCHS.

Professor Richard Hobbs was appointed as Professor of Primary Care Health Sciences and Head of Department in 2011. Professor Hobbs has brought a new surge of research activity of the highest order and the department has seen significant expansion with the appointment of a number of senior staff. In the RAE 2008 the department was rated top in the United Kingdom and it promises to figure prominently in the 2014 REF.

The allocation of the Outpatients building to DPCHS would enable the department to be united on one site and maintain this academic impetus, while retaining the benefits of close proximity to clinical colleagues.

St Luke's Chapel

The Outpatients building will provide approximately 1,550 sq m net usable area (NUA). Based on the pre-feasibility study into the proposed allocation of the Outpatients building to DPCHS, the department will also require the space offered by St Luke's Chapel (approximately 250 sq m NUA) to accommodate its needs in full. However, there is also a view that the chapel could provide a valuable shared meeting/exhibition facility for the University. These two uses are not necessarily incompatible. A decision on the allocation of the chapel has therefore been put on hold pending completion of the more detailed feasibility study for DPCHS that will be conducted if Congregation passes the following resolution.

Text of Resolution

That the Outpatients building on the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter (approximately 1,550 sq m net usable area) be allocated to the Department of Primary Care Health Sciences.

Congregation6 June

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Note on procedures in Congregation

¶ Business in Congregation is conducted in accordance with Congregation Regulations 2 of 2002 (www.admin.ox.ac.uk/statutes/regulations/529-122.shtml). A printout of these regulations, or of any statute or other regulations, is available from the Council Secretariat on request. A member of Congregation seeking advice on questions relating to its procedures, other than elections, should contact Mrs F Burchett at the University Offices, Wellington Square (telephone: (2)80199; email: felicity.burchett@admin.ox.ac.uk); questions relating to elections should be directed to the Elections Officer, Ms S L S Mulvihill (telephone: (2)80463; email: elections.office@admin.ox.ac.uk).