Online Making a Difference Awards take place live from Manchester Museum

Wed, 12 May 2021 20:07:00 BST

On 12 May we were joined by staff, students, alumni and friends from around the world to celebrate the incredible and inspiring work of our University community.

The Making a Difference Awards were broadcast live online from our Manchester Museum, with our winners joining Lemn Sissay, the University’s Chancellor, via Zoom to receive their awards.

The Awards highlighted the extensive range of social responsibility initiatives of our staff, students, alumni and external partners, and covered categories such as benefit to research; widening participation; environmental sustainability and equality, diversity and inclusion.

Over 140 entries were submitted this year, with judges recognising 17 winners, 25 highly commended and six Covid special recognition awards. Winners included a course that aims to equip students to support the UN’s sustainable development goals; research to improve global supply chains and protect vulnerable and low paid workers across the world and a scheme that provides legal advice to those hit hard during the Covid pandemic.

During the event we also celebrated the huge amount of work that takes place right across the University which has contributed to the University coming first in the world in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, including the tremendous contribution of our students.

President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell reflected on the ten years since the University placed social responsibility as one of its core goals, and Vice-President for Social Responsibility, Nalin Thakkar summarised just what it means to lead the way in higher education to address the Sustainable Development Goals.

The event concluded with an ‘in conversation’ session where Chancellor Lemn Sissay and the Director of Manchester Museum, Esme Ward discussed the impact on the cultural sector during lockdown.

Julian Skyrme, Director for Social Responsibility, said: “We pride ourselves on being a pioneering institution for social responsibility and the Making a Difference Awards allows us to celebrate some of the best work that our staff, students, alumni and partners do each year to enhance the wellbeing of society and the environment. We were delighted to top the world in the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings in 2021 and are committed to measuring and sharing our societal impact through events like this.”

Nalin Thakkar, concluded: “It was a wonderful experience to be involved in an event that recognises the inspiring work that our staff, students, alumni and partners are involved in. The Making a Difference Awards has, once again, shown how the unique abilities and resources of universities can create positive change in wider society through research, innovation, and most importantly our people.”

Details of all the winners and highly commended can be found on the social responsibility website and short films about each of our winners are available on the social responsibility YouTube channel.

You can find out more the quality and scale of our impact against the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on SDG web pages.