Our achievements

  • We are number one in the UK and Europe, and number three in the world for environmental and social impact (QS World University Sustainability Rankings, December 2023). 
  • We hold a Platinum Watermark award by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE), which recognises universities’ engagement with the public (December 2023).
  • We received the ‘2030 Climate Action’ prize at the Green Gown Awards in recognition of our work to decarbonise the University’s operations (December 2023).
  • We are number one in the UK and Europe, and number two in the world for social and environmental impact (Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023). 
  • Our commitment to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) is unmatched.We’re the only university in the world to rank in the top ten for social and environmental impact in every year of the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings.
  • We’ve committed to becoming a zero-carbon university by 2038.
  • We’re divesting from fossil fuels and other carbon-intensive investments.
  • We’ve become an accredited living wage employer for all our staff.
  • We’ve launched a pioneering Stellify Award to enable every student to make a difference.
  • We’ve recognised more than 180 social responsibility initiatives as part of our annual Making a Difference Awards.
  • Our staff have contributed more than £1 million to charities through our payroll giving scheme.
  • We’ve signed the global SDG Accord to embed sustainable development in all that we do.

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Social inclusion
  • Our Manchester Access Programme has supported over 2,000 local students from families with no experience of higher education into The University of Manchester.
  • We’ve invested more than £15 million each year in financial support for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • We’ve achieved 15 Charter Marks for Gender Equality.
  • More than 1,000 staff and alumni have contributed to leadership in state education through our School Governor Initiative.
  • We are one of the few universities in the UK to hold a Charter Mark for Race Equality.
  • Through our Equity and Merit Programme, our university and our donors have supported more than 300 international master’s students to lead on sustainable development in their home countries.
  • We’re rated by Stonewall as a top employer for LGBT inclusion in the workplace.
  • We’ve become a university of sanctuary for refugees and asylum seekers.
  • We’re the first university to partner with the Slave Free Alliance.
  • We opened our first Into University Centre to support learners in a less advantaged part of North Manchester.
  • We’ve engaged our local communities through our annual ScienceX event.
Prosperous communities
  • We created more than 200 local jobs and a record £19.7 million of social value through our MECD campus development contract with Balfour Beatty.
  • We welcomed over 2,600 local friends and neighbours to our Community Festival in June 2022.
  • We’ve supported more than 4,000 local people into work through our unique partnership, The Works.
  • We’re the first university in the UK to use The Social Value Portal for measuring impact through our supply chain.
Environmental sustainability
  • Our science led directly to the creation of a zero-carbon pathway for Greater Manchester.
  • We’ve opened Brunswick Park to enhance biodiversity, support health and wellbeing, and improve resilience to climate change.
  • We lead the biggest research project in the sustainable development of the world’s dams.
  • We’ve already eliminated more than 250,000 pieces of avoidable single-use plastics – with more to come.
  • 15,000 undergraduate students have engaged in our annual Sustainability Challenge.
  • We developed a pioneering online module, open to all students, on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
  • We’ve developed and launched an interactive tree trail on campus.
  • We’ve planted more than 300 semi-mature trees on campus.
  • More than 2,800 staff commute by active travel.
Cultural engagement
  • We receive more than a million public visitors to our four cultural institutions (Manchester Museum, Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, The Whitworth and John Rylands Library) each year.
  • We’ve launched a multi-million pound Creative Manchester project to champion culture and creativity in Greater Manchester.
  • We’ve led Manchester’s designation as a UNESCO City of Literature. 
  • We play a key role in Manchester’s History Festival, Literature Festival and International Festival.
  • We are the world’s first carbon-literate museum.
  • We’re the first university museum in the UK to proactively repatriate some of our objects.
  • Around 4,000 local school and college students use our library facilities each year.
  • Our annual BlueDot festival of music, science and culture is the only one to be held on a university UK campus.
  • We’ve established the world’s first sector support agency for age and culture.
  • We’ve established a Natural and Cultural Health Service out of Whitworth Park.
  • Our Jodrell Bank Observatory has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.
  • Our Museum’s Capital Programme will allow us to become the most inclusive, caring and imaginative museum you might encounter.
  • We’ve established a pioneering office for useful art at The Whitworth.
Better health
  • More than 3,000 of our students graduate from our healthcare courses each year.
  • We formed Health Innovation Manchester to help transform the health and wellbeing of Greater Manchester’s 2.8 million citizens.
  • Over 3,000 leaders have benefited from our NHS Leadership Academy.
  • We actively involve more than 800 patients and the public each year in our research and education.
  • We’ve developed 50 healthcare partnerships in the Global South in support of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
  • We partner with the World Health Organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières and the Red Cross in our humanitarian and conflict response work.
  • We hold the government register of volunteer health professionals who can be deployed overseas in emergencies.
  • Hundreds of our healthcare students in medicine, dentistry, nursing and pharmacy address major public health challenges in Greater Manchester each year, including the fight against COVID-19.

Whitworth Building, Oxford Road, Manchester.

Zero-carbon university by 2038

Sustainable Development Goals symbol.

Second globally for action towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings 2023

Gold Engage Watermark

Gold Watermark for our work on public engagement

Social responsibility achievements

A large amount of our social responsibility work has been recognised through external awards over the past 12 years or so.


Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings 

Top 10 globally for action towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals



Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings 

1st in the world for impact against the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Official SDG World Records

Most Participation for Rethinking Education and Shaping the Future (The University of Manchester Worldwide East Asia Centre)


Pink News Award

Most inclusive LGBT employer in the Public Sector (runner-up)


UK Festival Awards

Jodrell Bank’s Bluedot Festival (Best medium festival)

Times and Sunday Times

University of the year for graduate employment

IEMA Sustainability Impact Award

10,000 Actions: Sustainability Campaign (Winner)

THE University Impact Ranking

1st in Europe and 3rd in world (based on the UN SDGs)


Sustainability Leadership Scorecard (Gold)



Gold watermark for public engagement

Chartered Institute of Public Relations North West PRide Awards

ScienceX event (Silver)

Spirit of Manchester Award

School Governor Initiative (Winner)

Institute of Directors UK

Julian Skyrme, Director for Social Responsibility (Director of the Year Award)

CUBO (Colleges & University Business Officers) Awards

Innovation in Student Experience for Give It Don’t Bin It (linked with Manchester Metropolitan University) (Winner)

Business Partner of the Year for the Nationwide Cycling Academy partnership (Winner)

Excellence in Student Sport Experience for the Sport Participation Programme (Winner)

Innovation in Catering for Sustainability in Catered Halls (Shortlisted)

Best Residential Life Initiative for the work on tackling drug issues in halls (Shortlisted)

The Guardian University Awards

Sustainability Project category (shortlisted) for 10,000 Actions

Stonewall Workplace Equality Index 

Top 100 Employers for Inclusive Approach to LGBT population (placed 16th)

Champion of Champions Awards

Green Travel initiative


Green Gown Award

Learning and Skills Award – 10,000 Actions and the Sustainability Challenge

Chartered Institute of Waste Management

Best Reuse and Waste Prevention Project – Give It Don’t Bin It.

Leading Culture Destination Award

Climate Control exhibition – Manchester Museum

Green Innovation and Finance Awards

University of the Year 2017 (winner)

Integration Awards

2017 Community Integration Awards Research category – Claire Alexander for Our Migration Story

Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE) Awards

Impact Initiative of the Year for 10,000 Actions and Ethical Grand Challenges, Sustainability Challenge

Blackboard Catalyst Award, Global award for Community Engagement

The University of Manchester Library’s My Learning Essentials programme

Health Education England Widening Participation (WP) Award for Research and Evaluation into WP

Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, for research into the performance and experience of Widening Participation students compared to non widening participation students.

The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) 

Food In Residence, Most sustainable university caterers 2017

Sustainable Restaurant Association

Food In Residence, rating of 3 out of 3 stars across all catered halls of residence


National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) Engage Awards

Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing (MICRA) (winner)

Manchester Academic Health Science Centre (finalist)

The lived experience of climate change: A story of one piece of land in Dhaka (finalist)

Carbon Literate Organisation Awards

University of Manchester (bronze award)

Manchester Museum (gold award)

Sustainable Restaurant Association’s Food Made Good Award (winner)

FoodInResidence catering team for halls of residence

The Guardian University Awards, Social and Community Impact category (runner-up) for The Works initiative

The Guardian Sustainable Business Awards, Social Impact (winner) for The Works initiative

Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for the School Governor Initiative

Educate North Awards

Policy@Manchester (winner)

2015 - 2008


HEIST Award, Best Corporate Campaign or Initiative (Gold Award) for The ‘We Get It’ campaign

Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, Giving Voice Award (winner) for the Speech and Language Therapy Undergraduate Peer Mentor Student Coordinators

Lever Prize (Shortlisted) for ‘In Place of War’ project

Cost Sector Catering Corporate Responsibility Award (Winner) for Hospitality and Events

University Business Young Leaders Awards (Sustainability Champion) for Alexander Clark

The Guardian Sustainable Business Awards (Runner-up) for ‘Give It…Don’t Bin It’ initiative

Footprint Awards for Organic Milk (Finalist) for Hospitality and Events

Footprint Sustainable Supplier Award (Shortlisted) for Hospitality and Events

Soil Association Food For Life Award (Bronze) for Hospitality and Events

Prime Minister’s Point of Light Award (recognising outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community) for Dr Amy Hughes for her work humanitarian work.

Prime Minister’s Point of Light Award (recognising outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community) for Emma Ridings for her work with Street Doctors

Equality Challenge Unit Race Equality Charter Mark Bronze Award

Excellence in Diversity Awards (shortlisted), Diverse Company Award for Education

Stonewall Workplace Equality Index top 100 Employers for Inclusive Approach to LGBT population (placed 43th)

Stonewall Workplace Equality Index North West Network of the Year (winner)

Equality Challenge Unit Athena SWAN awards – 10 Bronze and 5 Silver Academic School Level Awards.

National Educational Opportunities Award (Shortlisted) for Student Ambassador Contribution to Widening Participation

Guardian University Awards, Social and Community Impact Award (Runner-up) for Humanitarian Conflict Resolution Institute

Stroke Association Special Recognition Award 2015 to Pippa Tyrrell

UnLtd SEEChange Recognition Awards:

HEI of the Year

Outstanding Innovation of the Year (Winner, Clintouch)

Outstanding Achievement Award (Winner, Adam Garrow for Jolly Wheezers)

Outstanding Achievement Award (Finalist, Edwin Broni-Mensah for Give Me Tap)

Social Entrepreneur of the Year (Winner, Ruth Daniel)

Social Entrepreneur of the Year (Finalist, Amy Win)

Social Entrepreneurship Champion of the Year (Finalist, Laura Etchells)

Social Entrepreneurship Champion of the Year (Finalist, Martin Henery)

New Energy and Cleantech Awards for University Spin-out of the year (Finalist, Magda Sibley for HiSolar)

Cardiac Smart Gold Award for a range of initiatives including the Heartstart volunteering project

UK Heart Safe Educational Establishment of the Year (shortlist) for a range of initiatives including the Heartstart volunteering project

Enactus Competition (UK Semi Final Team)


Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community (Winner) for School Governor Initiative

Guardian Sustainable Business Awards (shortlisted) for the School Governors Initiative

Green Gown Award for Social Responsibility (Highly Commended) for The Works

Green Gown Award (finalist) for Manchester Veg People

Guardian University Award for International Projects (runner-up) for In Place of War

Royal Geographical Society Awards, Busk Medal for fieldwork to support an understanding of global development (winner) Uma Kothari

Manchester Evening News Environmental Services Waste Prevention Award (winner) for the End of Year Reuse Scheme, Give It…Don’t Bin It

Manchester Evening News Environmental Champion Award (shortlisted) Michael Bane for The University of Manchester bike user group (UMBUG)

Business in the Community Responsible Business Awards (Big Tick) for the School Governors Initiative (re-accredited in 2015)

Green Gown Award for Manchester Veg People (Finalist) for Hospitality and Events

National Educational Opportunities Award (Winner) for WP Initiative and Individual Contribution

Footprint Award (finalist) for Manchester Veg People

Footprint Community Vote (winner) for Café Muse (Winner)

OBE (For Services to the Community) for Lenox Green, School of Mathematics

Tony Redmond appointed Honorary Colonel 207 Manchester Field Hospital RAMC

The Royal Society of Biology Book Award for Dan Davis for his book ‘The Compatibility Gene’

National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement Engage Health Competition (Finalist), Sheena Cruickshank

Business in the Community (BITC) Award for Inclusive Approach to our BME population (Winner)

Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (ENEI) Award for Inclusive Communications for Diversity Calendar (Winner)

Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion ENEI Award for Employee Engagement (shortlisted)

S-labs award for Laboratory Environmental A Green Geochemistry Laboratory (shortlisted)

S-labs award for Laboratory Equipment and Services, Core Support Services for Life Sciences (shortlisted individuals)

Political Studies Association Award, Politics/Political Studies Communicator (Winner) Dr Robert Ford (with Matthew Goodwin, non-University of Manchester)

The Artist and Manager Awards, Pioneer Award (Winner) Ruth Daniel

Manchester International Women’s Day Award, Women in Legal and Business (Winner) Professor Margot Brazier

Council of the European Economic Association Award, Birgit Grodal Award (Winner) Professor Rachel Griffith (winner) for a European based female economist who has made a significant contribution to the Economics profession.

Praxis Unico Awards, Business Impact Aspiring Category (Finalist) Dr Joanne Tippett

Enactus Competition (UK Semi Final Team)


Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community (Winner) for The Works

Green Gown Award for Social Responsibility for Best International and National Social Responsibility Programme (Winner) for the School Governor Initiative.

Green Gowns Award for Facilities and Services (Shortlisted) for Manchester Veg People

Times Higher Award (Shortlisted) for Best Widening Participation Initiative

Cost Sector Catering Corporate Responsibility Award (Winner) for Hospitality and Events

Footprint Award for Manchester Veg People (Finalist) for Hospitality and Events

RSB Communicator New Researcher Award for Rebecca Williams

RSB Communicator Established Researcher Award for Dr Sheena Cruickshank

Manchester’s International Women’s Day Women & Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Award for Sheena Cruickshank, Kathryn Else and Joanne Pennock

Manchester Pride Award (Winner) for Best Public Service Parade Entry and Best Themed Entry

UnLtd HE Support Recognition Award for Outstanding HEI Supporting Social Entrepreneurship (Winner)

Halsbury Legal Award for Academic Contribution 2013 – Professor Margot Brazier (Winner)

Royal Town Planning Institute (NW) Planning Award, Contribution to Positive Community Engagement (Commended) Dr Joanne Tippett

Enactus Competition (UK Semi Final Team)

Enactus UK Enactus CRE, Corporate Relations Executive of the Year (Winner) Gareth Davies

S-labs award, IT at the Heart of a Truly Integrated and Efficient Drug Discovery Laboratory for Paterson Institute for Cancer Research

S-labs award, Eliminating Ethidium Bromide and UV Radiation Hazards from Molecular Biology Experimentation for Peter Reid, Senior Technician, Faculty of Life Sciences

Enactus Competition (UK Semi Final Team)


Green Gown Award for Academic Courses (Winner) Sustainable Consumption Institute Centre for Doctoral Training

Green Gowns Award for Social Responsibility for Manchester Museum Living Worlds

Green Gowns Award for Student Initiative (Shortlisted) for Your Halls are Green

RSB Communicator New Researcher Award for Elizabeth Granger

Manchester Pride Award (Winner) for Best Public Service Parade Entry and Best Themed Entry

National Green Impact Award, Best Energy Saving Initiative for Estates and Facilities Everest Challenge

Greater Manchester Green Business Award (Shortlisted) Large Business

Enactus Competition, (UK Semi Final Team – Runner Up)


National Vegetarian Society Local Hero Award (Winner) for Hospitality and Events

Compassion in World Farming Good Chicken Award (Winner) for Hospitality and Events

Compassion in World Farming Good Eggs Award (Winner) for Hospitality and Events

Tony Redmond Hon. DSc, University of Glamorgan, in recognition of contribution to disaster medicine.

World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine Excellence in Disaster Management Award for Tony Redmond

RSB Communicator New Researcher Award for Emily Robinson


Times Higher Education Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts (Winner) for In Place of War

Green Gowns Award for Carbon (Shortlisted) Carbon Reduction Technicians

Green Gowns Award for Courses (Highly Commended) for CEEBL Green Award – Venture Out Competition

International Federation for Emergency Medicine Humanitarian Award for Tony Redmond

Triangle Media Group, UK (Top 50 Global South Asian Achiever Award in the category of Education) Dr Rajinder Dudrah for academic, knowledge transfer and outreach work on South Asian popular culture and popular Hindi cinema

Times Higher Education Award Excellence and Innovation in the Arts (Winner) for In Place of War

Excellence in Teaching Prize of the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP) (joint winner) Dr Joanne Tippett for teaching students skills in community engagement in a problem based learning context

Enactus UK Award for Community Engagement Award, in conjunction with Volunteering England (Winner)

Enactus Competition (UK Semi Final Team)

Enactus UK Student Team Leader Award (Winner) Ben Scheerbarth


Green Gowns Award for Sustainable Construction (Shortlisted) for Manchester Academy Refurbishment

Green Gowns Award for Courses (Highly Commended) for Fostering Skills for Sustainability, Employability and Empowering Change

RSB Communicator New Researcher Award for Ceri Harrop

National Green Impact Award, Environmental Hero for Michael Bane


Green Gowns Award (Winner) for Residences

Equality Challenge Unit Athena SWAN Awards, Bronze Athena SWAN University Holder since 2008.