Doing Watt Matters - Safety officer supporting our #OneWatt community



We continue to recognise the significant contributions our students, staff and alumni are making throughout the world at this time. This week we celebrate the achievements of Paul Cyphus, our Biological Safety Officer.

Paul is a qualified Biological Safety Practitioner and a member of the Institute of Safety in Technology and Research. He joined Heriot-Watt University in September 2007 as a technician in what was then the School of Life Sciences, and supported both teaching and research within the School. He became the University Biological Safety Officer (within what is now SafeGuarding Services) in 2015. Five years on, he is currently working towards chartered status with the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.

Paul is the first point of contact within the University for Health & Safety Executive inspections related to GM work as well as also being the University liaison with Health Protection Scotland – NHS Lothians Higher Education Task Force. As such, he is well-known in various Schools and Services across all of our University Campuses for providing welcome advice and guidance to a variety of issues and activities.

Paul has been instrumental in supporting the whole HW community throughout the coronavirus pandemic, from liaising with Health Protection Scotland, advising Schools and Services on control measures, to supporting staff and students in isolation with coronavirus symptoms by sending a daily welfare email to check on their condition.

Due to self-isolation requirements outlined by the UK and Scottish Governments, Paul has also supported both those on campus and off with the delivery of essential food and medication to aid their recovery, in particular facilitating the movement of students to suitable self-isolation accommodation. Paul has worked tirelessly over many long hours, including evenings and weekends to ensure that our #OneWatt community is supported.

Without Paul’s expertise and methodical approach to the ever-evolving situation, the University would not be able to support students and staff affected by this global pandemic in the manner we have. He is not someone who enjoys the spotlight and has a modest approach to praise. Les Allan, Director of SafeGuarding Services said, “He is a credit to the whole University and deserves to be applauded for the outstanding service he delivers to the University every day.”