Monthly round-up

As regular followers know, May is the month of our most important awards for social responsibility. Sixteen winners and 23 highly commended projects – ranging from addressing period poverty, biodiversity and LGBT+ history education – were recognised at our Makinga Difference Awards. These Awards were last ones to be hosted by our Chancellor Lemn Sissay and if you missed them you can watch on catch-up here. We also hosted our annual Volunteer of the Year Awards and the Sustainability Challenge photography competition – more welcome returns to in-person celebrations on campus.

We also learned of two major successes in performance against our core goals: in the UK government’s 2021 Research Excellence Framework we were placed in the top five for research power; and in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, we were placed ninth globally – the fouth consecutive year we’ve been in the world’s top ten universities.

On social inclusion, we have provided free places on our Masters in Educational Leadership in Practice programme to a group of 15 Afghani refugee women, supporting them in their ambition to set up schools, colleges and nurseries for Afghani refugees living in exile. Our Alliance Manchester Business School delivered an Inspiring Women conference to around 100 girls from across Manchester and organised a symposium on social responsibility. And our Global Development Institute have recently created a blog documenting the progress of the Community Savers project, a collaborative project with tenants from Hopton Court, Hulme, inspired by the work of Shack Dwellers International.

On prosperous communities, we launched a new Open SME programme with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and other universities in our city region, to link expertise within our business schools to small businesses through free, short-course online learning to support leaders to improve profitability, sustainability and increase business growth.

On better health, we retained our status as one of the top universities in the country for openness in animal research. Officially known as Leader in Openness, the award is given by Understanding Animal Research, a key body which promotes understanding of the humane use of animals in a range of medical and scientific research in the UK.

On environmental sustainability, our Faculty of Science and Engineering has produced a new short film highlighting the benefits of graphene and its sustainability. We’ll be planting trees and wildlife-friendly hedges on the University Green as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy project. The final month of this year’s Great Science Share for Schools is almost underway, with a theme of Climate Action. Our researchers have published a new report on sustainable food provision in Greater Manchester. And we have produced a report confirming we have ended investment in fossil fuel companies and exceeded our target for reducing the carbon intensity of our other holdings.

On cultural engagement, luminaries from the worlds of pop culture and academia flooded into the John Rylands Research Institute and Library to celebrate the launch of the British Pop Archive and the exhibition ‘Collection’. Manchester Museum has invited a new supplementary school, Rekindle, to its pioneering Top Floor space where people come together to learn, share ideas, build community and make plans. They have also announced Hannah Hartley as Environmental Action Manager – a new position for our museum. Our Whitworth gallery is exhibiting as part of British Art Show 9 across Manchester, examining the evolving nature of art work and its ongoing struggle to shape a new social contract.

We have a busy programme of upcoming work. Everybody’s welcome to our free, family-friendly and jam-packed Community Festival on Saturday 25 June. The Rylands will be welcoming musicians from Olympias Music Foundation’s Migrant Voices as part of a Manchester Festival of Libraries 2022 on 18 June. And our Manchester Histories Festival is back, returning for its eighth edition from the 8-12 June 2022 on a theme of the history of climate change.