Searching for help – the University Disability Office

So I had dropped into the disability office on campus at the very beginning of my PhD, but due to getting moved from lab to lab for the first few months, I didn’t have an opportunity to drop back in until today.

The office is far quieter after the exam boards have met, as their undergraduate wards have completed their exams (at least until autumn!). I went in trying to see what information I could get on e-pipettes (still looking), and other “adaptive technologies” for the lab.

The woman responsible for postgrads was very helpful, but admitted that her background isn’t in science so she couldn’t advise me directly about lab equipment. However she’s going to contact other disability officers in other Universities around the UK and Ireland to see how they cope with arthritic biologists. Hopefully (surely!) I’m not the only postgrad biologist in this boat, so I look forward to seeing how other people get around in the lab.

The other useful thing I learned from visiting the office is that they can apply on my behalf for grants for adaptive aids, so the e-pipettes and easy open microfuge tubes would count as such. This is especially good, given the limited funding for consumables and laboratory supplies that we were assigned for research (why are biotech reagents and equipment so expensive!).

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