Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advisory Sub-Group on Universities and Colleges: terms of reference and remit

Terms of reference and remit for the Coronavirus (COVID-19): Advisory Sub-Group on Universities and Colleges.


The Covid-19 Advisory Group on Universities and Colleges, will give detailed consideration to how public health and related scientific advice can be applied to operational implementation. It will support Scottish Ministers and relevant Scottish Government senior officials to: 

  • interpret SAGE and COVID-19 Advisory Group outputs as well as other emerging scientific and public health evidence, in relation to university and college issues in the context of Scotland
  • provide expert advice spanning the disciplines of public health, clinical advice, behavioural sciences, economics and statistical modelling, combined with expertise in educational and other issues relevant to universities and colleges
  • advise Scottish Government, relevant Directorates, and ASD colleagues on taking a strategic approach to identifying, accessing and using data to support our understanding of managing Covid-19 risks in university and college settings
  • provide expert advice, recognising the four harms, to support and inform the development of guidance for universities and colleges, and as an aid to forward planning for both sectors
  • develop links with other SG COVID-19 Advisory sub-groups, as appropriate

Relationship with Advisory structures

The Chair of the sub-group on Universities and Colleges will sit on the COVID-19 Advisory Group as a full member to ensure links are maintained and work is developing in line with their advice. The sub-group will have an overlap in membership with both the COVID-19 Advisory Group and COVID-19 Advisory Sub-Group on Education and Children’s Issues to help ensure consistency of advice.  

Minutes and future workplans of the COVID-19 Advisory Group will be shared with the sub-group Chair, and vice versa, and the sub-group Chair will be responsible for raising any issues of fit for consideration or clarification.  

The Chair of the sub-group will engage with the Chair of the COVID-19 Advisory Group around any issues where there may be questions about consistency of advice, with the aim of ensuring sub-group advice is consistent with Advisory Group advice. The COVID-19 Advisory Group will provide a short comment/endorsement of sub-group advice before it is shared with Ministers.  


Members are selected to enable scientific and public health advice to be brought to bear on operational questions, and therefore members include scientific and public health experts, clinicians and academics, as well as experts in educational and other issues relevant to universities and colleges. Membership will be kept under review. 

  • Professor Linda Bauld, Interim Chief Social Policy Adviser, SG (Chair)
  • Professor Julie Fitzpatrick, Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland, SG
  • Professor Marion Bain, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, SG
  • Professor Chris Chapman, Chair in Educational Policy and Practice, University of Glasgow
  • Professor Brigid Daniel, Professor Emerita, Queen Margaret University
  • Professor Paul Flowers, Professor of Psychology, University of Strathclyde
  • Professor Devi Sridhar, Chair of Global Public Health, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Steven Reicher, Bishop Wardlaw Professor, University of St Andrews
  • Professor Ian Rivers, Professor of Education for Social Change, University of Strathclyde
  • Dr Diane Stockton, Chief Officer: Education Recovery and COVID-19 Vaccination Surveillance, Public Health Scotland
  • Dr Ellie Hothersall, Consultant in Public Health, NHS Tayside
  • Gary Gillespie, Chief Economist, Scottish Government
  • Linda McKay, SG Non-Executive Director and former Principal of Forth Valley College
  • Eileen Scott, Public Health Intelligence Principal, Public Health Scotland
  • Jon Vincent, Principal and Chief Executive of Glasgow Clyde College


The group will meet regularly and is expected to meet bi-weekly (for 60 to 90 minutes) in the first instance. The schedule of meetings will be flexible and subject to change. Minutes of group meetings will be published on the Scottish Government website.


Information arising from SAGE, the COVID-19 Advisory Group and other sources may be sensitive and will be handled in line with any consequent constraints. Where possible, inputs shared with the sub-group for discussion will be published on the Scottish Government website.  


Secretariat support will be provided to the sub-group from the Directorate for Advanced Learning and Science, including arranging all meetings and circulating agenda and papers.  

The Chair will agree the final agenda for each meeting of the sub-group. Members may ask for an item or paper to be included on the agenda. Agendas, supporting papers and minutes of the previous meeting will be circulated to members as soon as is practicably possible.  

Other than in exceptional circumstances, all members should endeavour to attend all meetings of the sub-group.

Where urgent business is required to be conducted between meetings, the Chair will arrange for members’ views to be sought by email and the outcome will be reported to the next meeting of the sub-group.

Minutes of the meeting will be submitted to the SAGE Secretariat for information.

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