The Royal Institution undergoes employment consultation

Like many other small UK charities and cultural institutions, we are sorry to announce that we are consulting with everyone at the Ri on measures to reduce our staff costs.

We are sorry to announce that we are consulting with everyone at the Ri, on measures to reduce our staff costs.

Having already furloughed the majority of our staff, and suspended all projects and non-essential spending, we now have to make some difficult decisions about the structure of the Ri in the immediate future.

The measures we are consulting on include opportunities for our staff to reduce their working hours or to seek voluntary redundancy. Sadly, however, they also include some posts that are at risk of compulsory redundancy. In all, they will mean the loss of some greatly valued and respected colleagues.

Over 70% of Ri staff have been furloughed since early April. Those who have remained working have valiantly kept the Ri going. We have been able to develop a programme of weekly livestream talks to recreate the Ri theatre experience in living rooms across the world. We have reconfigured our international CHRISTMAS LECTURES tour and we have protected our internationally significant collection of scientific apparatus, books and papers.

Yet our income has been decimated by the necessary Covid-19 restrictions, while at the same time some significant essential costs remain. Like many other charities and cultural institutions throughout the UK, our financial position is now very serious. We are in danger of running up a debt that is unsustainable for a small independent charity and will severely restrict our charitable work for years to come.

Nearly all of our activities are face to face – public talks, hands-on workshops for children, our Young Scientist Centre, local Masterclasses. Our building and our free museum remain closed. Although we have had the welcome news that theatres can re-open, with 2m social distancing the full 420-seat capacity of our historic theatre is reduced to just 35 people. And even if our building is able to open to the public, we do not expect most of our staff to be back at their desks until next year at the earliest.

Our vision for a world where everyone thinks more deeply about science and its place in our lives remains as alive as ever. Yet we know that to meet our charitable objectives we will need to operate differently, for far longer than we first anticipated.

The steps we are taking now, difficult as they are, are designed to secure the future of the Ri. They will help ensure we are around to introduce the next generation of children to the joy of scientific exploration, to preserve our unique heritage for the nation, and to launch new ways in which everyone can discover, discuss and critically examine science and the way it shapes the world around us.

From all at the Ri, thank you for your continued support during these difficult times.