Summer round-up

Wed, 11 Aug 2021 09:55:00 BST

We're celebrating our 17,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students who have shown extraordinary resilience to graduate during such a disrupted period for them, our university and our country. 45% of these graduates remain and work in the north-west, contributing to our public services and helping communities to thrive. We are therefore featuring their contributions in building a greater Manchester across health, education and the environment through a new partnership with the Manchester Evening News over the coming months.

On environmental sustainability, our Sustainable Materials Innovation Hub recently launched a new website to support local SMEs to be more sustainable in their use of plastics. Experts from our University are partnering with Cardiff University, Johnson Matthey and bp on a new catalyst technology project to help achieve net zero. The University of Manchester Botanical Grounds has been holding volunteering gardening sessions, helping prepare the botanical garden for outreach activities, promoting wellbeing and supporting biodiversity on campus. And as we recap the winners of our Making a Difference Awards, we’re recognising the outstanding contribution to environmental sustainability from the student team, Want Not Waste.

On better health, we’ve been commending our student volunteers who have given over 1,000 hours of their time to support the COVID-19 vaccination programme. Manchester Outreach Dentists have successfully created a widening participation project that helps disadvantaged sixth form students with their application to Dental School. And we’ve been highlighting our impact on better health at a local, national and global scale through our 2021 Making a Difference Awards winning and highly commended projects such as NHS Voices of Covid-19, and solving Africa's healthcare challenges.

On cultural engagement, our Manchester Museum celebrated South Asian Heritage Month from 18 July – 17 August, with a number of online activities. And MA students from the University’s Institute of Cultural Practices have worked in collaboration with the Manchester Art Gallery, Central Library's Archives department, the People's History Museum, the National Football Museum and mural commissioners at the Withington Walls project to preserve the tributes on Marcus Rashford’s mural, ensuring these messages of solidarity are not lost.

On social inclusion, we’ve been awarded £500,000 of funding from Wellcome, which will be matched with University funds to provide £1M to accelerate and embed Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) throughout our research and discovery approach. Harriet Larrington-Spencer, from our Geography Department, has been shortlisted for the 2021 Shaw Trust Disability Power 100. The University of Manchester Initial Teacher Training (ITT) programme has presented this year’s Social Responsibility award to a group of PGCE trainees for their online maths classes for refugees. And a University researcher has recently won the Collaboration Labs Project Excellence Award 2021 for her research supporting the personal and professional development of neurodiverse young people.

We hope you have been enjoying the, sometimes, great weather, the lifting of further restrictions and the opportunity for some leisure or vacation time. For those in Manchester during our summer remember that you can visit our Manchester Museum, the Whitworth and Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre and the John Rylands Library.

Dr Julian Skyrme, Director of Social Responsibility