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During the COVID-19 pandemic, the RSB is working to adapt and ensure our services are still delivered to the greatest extent possible whilst also taking into account PHE and Government advice.

We are working with relevant bodies to ensure that we can appropriately use our networks to communicate key messages to members. Find out more:

How the RSB is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, by area of activity:

The Biologist and publications

To assist during the pandemic, schools and colleges can access our digital archive for free until 1st October 2020.

Teachers can sign up and request access online via our publishers, and also access other magazines including Chemistry World, BBC History Magazine, BBC Science Magazine and The World Today.

The Biologist’s COVID Q&A series explores how life scientists around the world have sprung into action to help understand, track, and treat COVID-19 and the April issue features a guide to the biology of SARS-CoV-2

Although the Society is working to ensure that there is no disruption to sending out print copies of The Biologist, we would like to remind you that you can also access your subscription digitally by logging in with your RSB credentials to the magazine website.

Online-only publication of the Journal of Biological Education and Emerging Topics in Life Sciences, and development and production of the Oxford Biology Primers series will continue subject to publisher updates.  


The Royal Society of Biology has shared the following statements to Higher Education Institutions with degrees accredited by RSB, to provide reassurance to life science departments that changes to teaching and assessment that prove necessary should not impact on the accreditation of their degrees:

“The outbreak of coronavirus is an evolving situation that may require universities to take action in order to protect the health, welfare and safety of students and staff or to follow the advice of local or national authorities. 

"The Royal Society of Biology appreciates that universities and individual departments may need to make adjustments at short notice as a result of coronavirus. The RSB would like to be clear that these measures will fall under the principle of force majeure with regard to meeting the requirements of degree accreditation.

"Universities and life science departments are responsible for ensuring that their approach to this situation upholds overall standards and mitigates impact on their students and the overall learning outcomes of their programmes. 

"Accreditation requirements should be preserved where possible but should circumstances beyond the department’s control not permit this, temporary deviation from accreditation requirements is likely to be acceptable.”

RSB site visits due to take place after 15 March 2020 have been cancelled, these have been rearranged to take place online where possible. It may be necessary to extend this approach to all applications from September, if travel restrictions and social distancing requirements are still in place.

For more information contact

Conference facilities

The RSB has cancelled all external room bookings at its head office in London.

For more information contact

Education policy

All meetings are being moved to virtual meetings including all curriculum committee and primary curriculum advisory group meetings, and management, thematic, and learning and development meetings attended by ASE, IOP, RS, RSB and RSC.

Our Education Policy Advisory Group meetings are unaffected.

For more information contact Helen Mitchell (curriculum) or Lauren McLeod (collaborative meetings and education policy).

Events and regional activity

All in-person events have been postponed or cancelled until 30th September 2021. We will aim to reschedule all cancelled events where possible, and updated information will be made available on the events pages.

For more information contact

Membership services

Client services for all existing clients continue as usual.

If you have any queries, please contact

Outreach and Engagement

All upcoming events and festivals in which we were due to participate have now been suspended in accordance to the organiser’s wishes and in line with government advice, but we are involved with a number of online science festivals.

Biology Week 2020 was also entirely virtual this year.

We have suspended our second round of the Big Biology Day grants, and will be in touch with entrants in due course. We will not be offering Biology Week 2020 grants, and we will be reviewing our Outreach and Engagement grants for 2021 in the new year.

Science policy

We have launched a new bulletin for members and non-members covering the latest news and science behind the COVID-19 pandemic and response. To download the latest bulletin and for more information on how to subscribe to future outputs for free, visit the policy newsletter page.

We will continue our work to respond to relevant open consultations, inquiries and calls for evidence, including the current call for submission of nominations of Research Excellence Framework (REF2021) panel members, which remains open. To stay up to date on what we are working on, to find out more and to contribute, visit our Open Consultations page.

The work of the Natural Capital Initiative will also continue with online meetings and updates via @NCI_NatCap and via the Secretariat by email.   

We have taken the decision to postpone the next round of Plant Health Undergraduate Studentships until 2021. We have arranged ten exciting projects to take place around the UK and will update our website with details in the spring of 2021, along with information about how students can apply to take part.


All Qualified Person interview assessments have been postponed until further notice. We will still be accepting new applications electronically but please expect a delay in processing and assessment timelines. We will be reassessing the situation on a regular basis and will resume normal procedure as soon as possible. For more information contact

All RSB in-person training courses taking place until the end of the year have been postponed, and where possible courses will be delivered remotely via online video conferencing. If this is the case you will be notified separately via email. This will be reviewed regularly based on official government guidance.

All RSB online training courses are still available as usual and can be accessed via myLearning.

For more information please contact

Office access

Our London office at 1 Naoroji Street is currently closed and all staff are working from home until at least the end of March 2021. We have taken measures to comply with government guidelines for managing risk and safe working during COVID-19 once we return to 1 Naoroji Street.

We will continue to support our membership of individuals and organisations as much as possible in changing circumstances, please keep in contact with us, and follow our social media for further updates.