Social Responsibility

November's monthly summary from the Director of Social Responsibility

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 09:39:00 GMT

We prioritise a small number of ‘signature programmes’ that are emblematic of our commitment to social responsibility. We were delighted, therefore, that two of these – our Ethical Grand Challenges Programme and 10,000 Actions – received a Green Gown Award, which is the UK’s most prestigious prizes for excellence in sustainability. Congratulations also go to Dr Vicky Wijeratne, a former student, who scooped a Woman of the Year award from the Duchess of Cornwall, for her contribution as a junior doctor in response to the Manchester Arena attack.

We’ve just launched our prestigious annual Making a Difference Awards 2018. You can nominate yourself, a colleague, student or public partner across ten different categories, the closing date is 22 January 2018. Over 200 people attended our annual Environmental Sustainability Celebration earlier this month, which was combined with inaugural awards recognising excellence in social and environmental responsibility through our supply chain.

As an antidote to the consumerism of #BlackFriday more and more UK citizens and organisations are involved in #GivingTuesday. This was a great opportunity to engage and remind staff and students of the different ways they can give their time, resources or support for important causes. Examples included CPR training, Green Impact volunteering, peer support, volunteering as a School Governor, payroll giving and blood donation.

Some inspirational outreach activities have taken place across our region: we hosted TeenTech Manchester to enthuse teachers and pupils about science; more than 200 pupils attended our Dalton Cumbrian Facility’s Infinity Festival; an Inspiring Languages activity helped bi-lingual residents with tools to discuss science and career/subject choices; and we launched new educational resources on Hip Hop, Grime, Spoken Word, education and social justice at an event in our Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre in Manchester Central Library. With impact further from home, we were also delighted to launch a major new programme in partnership with The University of Gulu in Uganda, which will transform the lives of people suffering from post-conflict disabilities in low and middle income countries.

Our researchers have been working on a wide range of programmes to improve the world – locally, nationally or internationally. Here’s three recent examples. Locally, we’ve launched an innovative Urban Village project to support older residents across Ardwick and Levenshulme wards in Manchester to come together and shape local health and well-being services. Nationally, we’ve been influencing UK energy policy through a recent House of Commons launch of #OnEnergy - a collection of thought leadership pieces and expert analyses on key energy challenges. Internationally, our bio-energy researchers are working on cutting-edge programmes across Vietnam, Colombia and sub-Saharan Africa to turn agricultural residues such as rice straw, coffee husks and cane residues into biomass - sustainable, low-carbon forms of energy.

There are lots of ways to get involved in upcoming social responsibility activities at the University. If you want to support disability awareness you can dress in purple on Monday 4 December to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. If you’d like to positively impact a local young person’s life and have just one hour spare each week, you can help Manchester’s ReachOut charity by mentoring a young person aged 9-16. If you would like to improve your health and support local organic growers you can sign up to receive delicious weekly VegBox. If you enjopy nothing more than combining the wonders of science and engineering with your weekend shopping you can save the date for 2018’s #ScienceX which is taking place at the intu Trafford Centre on 14 & 15 April 2018. And if you want to hear from some of our leading speakers and take part in discussion on key challenges facing society, there’s a wide choice of upcoming lectures, talks, debates and exhibitions with a social responsibility focus on our events pages.

Dr Julian Skyrme

Director of Social Responsibility

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