This latest lockdown has hit many particularly hard, and of course we all hope for a return to more normal times in 2022 and beyond. There will be a big hangover, especially from lost international commencements. There is also reason for optimism, and I can mention a few of these briefly.

Our student numbers for the Department are up over 15 per cent since before the COVID crisis. Our Master of Economics commencements are up in particular, and this has been a big strategic priority for us.

It is very likely we will be able to recruit at the junior level in the coming months. Relaxation of border restrictions appears on the horizon, and we plan to offer an Economics unit in Prato in July. Our research productivity in the best outlets continues to grow.

As you all know, we have made large investments into curriculum redesign and refreshment over the past few years, which are clearly working out very well.

The next major set of changes proposed are likely to involve the Bachelor of Economics. We are in the initial consultations with colleagues from the EBS and B&F departments about some potentially really exciting revisions to the degree.

The aim is to create a strong peer cohort, rigorous technical training, strong professional pathways, and opportunities to specialise in focus areas such as quantitative economics, financial economics, or public policy.

With an eye to the professional pathways aim, we will need to develop more internship opportunities for students. If you have any good connections or leads for internships, please pass those on to Vinod.

Despite terrible circumstances, we are thriving professionally, and the trend is up on almost all dimensions. That said, many of us are struggling with homeschooling, social isolation, and the challenges of online teaching. Ideas on how we can collectively be more supportive of each other are most welcome.

Wishing you all the best.

Professor Michael Ward