Award winners and highly commended 2020

Outstanding benefit to society through research


Improving outcomes for children with leukaemia internationally: the results of scientifically designed clinical trials and translational research: Professor Vaskar Saha.

Research at the University of Manchester (UoM) has made a significant impact nationally and internationally on improving the outcome for children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Professor Vaskar Saha has helped increase survival rates among children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) by 10% in the UK as well as creating a national hub of cancer centres across India by linking five major paediatric centres.

"I am delighted to have received this award. It recognises the work and efforts of so many people in Manchester and India. The success of this story reflects the diverse skills of people working together to achieve better outcomes for our patients, wherever they are in the world. It’s wonderful that this collective will to work together to help others has been recognised." Professor Vaskar Saha

Watch the short film

Winner: emerging impact

Energy from agricultural waste in Southeast Asia: Angela Mae Minas and Sarah Mander.

This project aimed to engage farmers in bioenergy development and link energy access to agricultural livelihoods. Angela and Sarah worked closely with local communities, agricultural departments, and civil society organisations in Southeast Asia to identify ways to engage farmers in rice straw bioenergy in the Philippines and Vietnam, and to link energy from rice husk to agricultural livelihoods in Myanmar.

“The Making a Difference Award will hopefully help to further amplify the voices and stories from the field of co-developing bioenergy solutions with farmers and local communities so that we can achieve wider-reaching policy and development impact. Also, doing social science research amidst all technology-focussed work on bioenergy is challenging, and we believe that the MAD Award brings an extra layer of credibility to our work, especially when engaging with international partners”. We are most thankful to our collaborators in Southeast Asia. There is so much good research being done at Manchester and we are honoured to receive a MAD Award. There is more to do and receiving the Award motivates us to do better in making sure that our research translates into action and that it continues to bring positive impact to the communities that we work with.” Angela Mae Minas

Watch the short film

Highly Commended

Helena Herrmann: Malawian Soil Project.

This project has been using research into soil science, to develop tools to help some of the poorest farmers in Africa.

Andrew Gray: Manchester - Leaping Ahead.

This research project involved training local people within rainforest communities in Panama as co-researchers.

Outstanding teaching innovation in social responsibility


Service Learning in Pharmacy: Mobilising undergraduate students to deliver health promotion education within high school settings: David Allison, Emma Williams, Sarah Willis and Rebecca Rafferty.

This project involved pharmacy undergraduates delivering assessed core curriculum public engagement workshops to high school pupils. Workshops covered a variety of public health topics relevant to 14-16 year olds such as Antibiotic Resistance, Alcohol, Diabetes, Mental Health & Sexual Health Awareness. Since 2017 approximately 3000 pupils across 14 Manchester schools have received these workshops, delivered by 416 undergraduate students.

"We are all so pleased, and proud, to have won the 2020 MaD award for our innovative Service Learning in Pharmacy programme. This was a fantastic team effort, including undergraduate students, high school teachers and pupils. We hope that other Schools of Pharmacy will follow our lead as Service Learning is a great way to help improve the health of the population whilst developing professional attributes in trainee pharmacists." David Allison

Watch the short film

Highly commended

The student-led massive open online course: parasitic worms: life stories: Kathryn Else.

This MOOC was inspired by the unmet need of educating people about how they get infected with parasitic worms.

Bringing Social Responsibility into School of Biological Sciences Undergraduate Projects: Karen Cosgrove.

This project integrated social responsibility within the University undergraduate teaching portfolio.

Outstanding contribution to social innovation


Wellspring: Elliot McKernon.

Many apps offer treatments for mental health issues, but studies find these are ineffective, as the most effective way to treat mental illness is through a doctor, but many are reluctant to do this. The Wellspring app bridges the gap between those with mental illness and treatment by providing clearly written information about symptoms, self-help and treatment. The information is written by a clinical psychologist and a mental health lecturer to be concise and easily understandable.

Watch the short film

Highly commended

Electric Bazaar: Alicya Mamo, Shamima Khonat and Sarah Sharif.

Electric Bazaar is an ethical fashion social enterprise that gives talented artisans the recognition they deserve, whilst preserving the rich handicrafts of Pakistan.

Want not Waste: Holly Smith

Want Not Waste is a student-run plastic-free shop that promotes a sustainable way of life.

Outstanding public and community engagement initiative (local)

Winner (student)

Refugee and Asylum Seekers’ Conversation Club: Alice Lavery.

Refugee and Asylum Seekers’ Conversation Club are a student led volunteer group that runs conversational English lessons for refugees and asylum seekers across Manchester. With 11 classes every week they aim to help ease their transition into life in the UK by improving language skills and providing a friendly and welcoming environment.

Watch the short film

Highly commended (student)

Once a Month: Bethany Veal and team.

Once A Month is a monthly project that aims to combat period poverty.

Manchester's First Language Community Project: Sophie Pathmanathan.

Manchester's First Language Community Project is a new way of engaging our students with local communities.

Engaging with HIV policy and service delivery: a three-way approach: Jaime Iglesias.

This outreach project looked at intentional HIV infection amongst gay men.

Winner (staff)

Beyond Faith: Muslim Women Artists Today: Saskia Warren & The Whitworth.

Beyond Faith is a ground-breaking co-curated exhibition and events programme at the Whitworth, presenting the work of five contemporary Muslim women artists with pieces from its collection. It challenges exclusion in art spaces and highlights the often-overlooked contribution of Muslim women to culture in Britain. By raising the selected artists’ profiles, it also seeks to inspire cultural career pathways for young people from under-represented backgrounds.

“It was good to get recognition from the University for the hard work that goes into these projects and also to give a further platform to the artists involved. We have already had interest from different groups and organisations in doing a version of the event in different regions of the UK with different local Muslim women artists. Moving into the future and thinking about the impact of COVID-19, we will be exploring how the programme might work in different contexts. What I was really struck by was that all 5 of the artists watched the awards ceremony and that the recognition really mattered to them as a sign of validation from a leading university. All of them got in touch about the award and felt recognised and accepted by an elite institution.” Saskia Warren

Watch the short film

Highly commended (staff)

MIB Programme of Public Engagement with Research & Researchers: Nicholas Weise.

The aim of this public engagement project was to support people to age well within the neighbourhoods of Brunswick and Levenshulme.

Community interventions to promote ‘ageing in place’: developing the ‘Village’ model in Manchester:Christopher Phillipson.

‘Ageing in place’ supports people to age well, working with older people in the Brunswick Estate and Levenshulme.

Coming in from the Cold: Jennifer Vickers.

Coming in from the Cold aims to increase the volume and visibility of archives relating to Greater Manchester’s BAME communities.


Winner (student)

CreateZim: Tarisiro Fundira and Nyasha Goredema.

CreateZim is a community organisation that seeks to create mental health discourse among Zimbabwean youth (16-25) as a way of providing the rare opportunity to have necessary conversations, whilst simultaneously creating safe spaces complemented by an interactive online platform.

"Winning such a prestigious award has been the gift that keeps on giving. Not only has it facilitated the education and support of Zimbabweans in mental health, it has also sparked further expansion of our movement and therefore a sense of hope throughout the African continent that such a neglected issue can and will be tackled!" Tarisiro Fundira and Nyasha Goredema

Watch the short film

Winner (staff)

Participating with Panama: Andrew Gray and Amanda Bamford, Manchester Museum.

The Participating with Panama project engaged people within rainforest communities in Panama to fully involve them in conservation work to save critically endangered species. A public engagement aspect also provided incomes and sessions which inspire schoolchildren to care for local environments.

Highly commended

NHS at 70: The Story of our lives: Stephanie Snow, School of Medical Sciences.

The NHS at 70 project aimed to create a national public archive of NHS history.

Public contribution


Peterloo 2019: Karen Shannon, Janine Hague and Charlie Booth.

Peterloo 2019 marked the bi-centenary of one of the most important episodes in the history of Manchester. It brought together over 46 different cultural organisations and 50 community groups with over 600,000 people taking part. The programme of special events was led and delivered by Manchester Histories (MH) who also led linked initiatives throughout the year in the areas of learning, volunteering and working with young people.

Watch the short film

Highly commended

Seven thousand feet: Christine Wilcox-Baker.

Seven thousand feet is a science-art project bringing together Manchester-based clinicians, research scientists and artists, with a common interest in diabetes.

International Arts and Homelessness Summit and Festival: Matt Peacock.

With One Voice is an international movement that aims to strengthen the arts and homelessness sector through exchanges in practice and policy.

Cultural Institutions


Jallianwala Bagh 1919: Punjab under Siege: Cat Lumb.

This co-curated exhibition with The Partition Museum, India, was the first Indo-UK museum partnership of its kind. It presented the Indian voice on the massacre of hundreds of peaceful protesters by a British General on 13 April 1919 and increased awareness of this historical event with British audiences.

Watch the short film

Highly Commended

Queering the Whitworth: Dominic Bilton.

Queering the Whitworth is designed to research The Whitworth's collection in order to (re)discover missing LGBTQ+ narratives.

Outstanding contribution to equality, diversity and inclusion


International Postdoc Appreciation Week: Ines Hahn and team.

Introduction of the ‘Postdoc Appreciation Week’ aimed to raise awareness and celebrate the incredible achievements of our >2000 diverse postdoctoral researchers, who are vital to achieving the University’s research, teaching and social responsibility goals. 17 inclusive events took place across all three Faculties, attracting more than 600 participants. The Postdoc Appreciation Week will now become an annual event at the University.

"It has been fantastic to gain recognition for our initiative. The award helped our efforts to showcase, recognise, and celebrate the fantastic and enormous contributions research staff make towards the University and society. It also encouraged us to grow our initiative: Together with 17 institutions, we organised the first UK/ROI-wide Postdoc Appreciation Week events in 2020." Ines Hahn

Watch the short film

Highly Commended

Unearthing the Hidden Voices: Intersectionalities in Higher Education Conference: Dr Hamied Haroon.

Unearthing the Hidden Voices was a national conference held in June 2019 which brought important issues around the intersectionality of identities to the fore.

Queering the Whitworth: Dominic Bilton.

Queering the Whitworth looks at the Whitworth’s art collection and (re)discovers LGBTQ+ connections with the artworks.

Special Achievement

The Diversity and Inclusion Student Ambassador Programme: Catherine Prescott, Neelam Rai, Kalifa Cuben, Idris Ogunlade, Shanaz Baksh, Safiyya El Diwany, Raska Soemantoro and Iman Usmani.

The D&I Student Ambassador Programme is a collaboration between the University and the Students Union and aims to improve outcomes for Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students. It employs students to take action to increase student sense of belonging, create ‘safe spaces’ to have conversations on inclusive environments and empower people to tackle micro-aggressions and discrimination.

Outstanding professional services for social responsibility


Building Better Futures: Delivering social responsibility outcomes through construction frameworks: Paul Maccabee and team.

Building Better Futures is a unique HE construction framework that has been established to deliver capital projects supporting the £1bn, ten-year campus masterplan. A PS-led sub-group drives the delivery of social responsibility outcomes through the projects, bringing lasting benefits to our communities.

"We are so proud to have received this recognition of our cross Professional Services teamwork. Delivering great projects with our Partnership Contractors and creating innovative and life-changing opportunities for the people of GM. We now have a blueprint for future delivery." Samantha Johnson (worked alongside Paul Maccabee),

Watch the short film

Highly commended

The Justice Hub (PS Team): Sue Gordan.

The Justice Hub includes that the Dementia Law Clinic, Miscarriage of Justice Review Centre and Legal Technology Initiative run smoothly.

Greater Manchester Engineering Challenge: Lynne Bianchi.

The Greater Manchester Engineering Challenge (GMEC) is an annual engineering challenge for primary and Key Stage 3 pupils.

Outstanding contribution to environmental sustainability

Winner (student)

Want not Waste: Holly Smith.

Want Not Waste is a student led initiative making zero waste living affordable and accessible to all. As a not-for-profit enterprise they aim to educate and share skills via free workshops such as slow-stitch repair and homemade DIYs and sharing meaningful content on our social media. After 1 year of running, the shop has built links with the local council, various departments of the university, other local ethical businesses and the student body.

"Winning the Making a Difference Award was such a boost of energy for us. We feel proud, appreciated and a renewed sense of purpose. This has had a positive impact on volunteer's confidence. The award has really raised our profile to reach more people, in fact, we received an immediate flurry of social media attention and email subscriptions following our award. I think a lot of people within the University share our vision but perhaps didn't know we existed and are now tuning in which is great." Holly Smith

Watch the short film

Winner (staff)

Sustainability in undergraduate laboratory practical classes and beyond: Maggie Fostier and Ruth Grady.

The University of Manchester has pledged to eliminate ‘avoidable’ single-use plastic by 2022. Sustainability in UG Laboratory Practical Classes developed a systematic approach to reduce single use plastic in biology laboratory classes which has already generated a reduction of more than 26,000 plastic items/year for 5 practicals.

"Winning the Awards gave us a big boost of energy. The 6R method (review, reduce, reuse, refill, replace, recycle) was developed to reduce single use plastics in our practical classes, but we are now adapting it to research labs, home and campus. We’ll share with everyone soon!" Maggie Fostier and Ruth Grady

Watch the short film

Established project (staff)

bluedot festival sustainability programme: Teresa Anderson and Tim O’Brien.

The bluedot festival sustainability programme is a dedicated programme of sustainability initiatives and awareness raising at the bluedot music and science festival. It shows a commitment to continually innovate and advance the sustainability of the festival as well as discuss with audiences the fragility of planet earth.

Watch the short film

Highly commended

Food Waste: Matheiu Augustin.

Olio Food Distribution works with a group of volunteers to collect and distribute food from within the university and a select few surrounding establishments so that it isn’t wasted.

Outstanding contribution to widening participation

Winner (staff)

Inside Out: Working Scientifically at the Museum: Amy McDowell, Louise Bousfield and Lynne Bianchi.

‘Inside Out’ empowered children as science communicators. 150 primary children uncovered how Manchester Museum ‘works scientifically’ in its research, collections care, animal husbandry and beyond, and then created films about their findings. Their findings have been showcased to over 3000 people at university and school events.

"Thank you very much for the Making a Difference Award this year. It is so exciting for the efforts of colleagues, and of the teachers and pupils on the project, to be acknowledged. It really demonstrates to our partner schools that the University values the relationship and the work." Amy McDowall

Watch the short film

Highly commended (staff)

Year 10 Work Experience Project: Natalie Liddle.

The Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Work Experience Week is an annual work experience programme for Year 10 students from widening participation backgrounds.

Tactile Collider: Robert Appleby and team.

Tactile Collider is taking the latest in particle accelerator research and making it accessible to blind and visually impaired children and adults.

Winner (student)

The Black Pharmacists Collective: Unekwuojo Agada and team.

The Black Pharmacists Collective (BPC) is a group of black MPharm undergraduate students, working together to close the enrolment and attainment gaps between white and black students. The BPC is working on improving access to studying, enhancing soft skills and widening career prospects of black students through events and workshops.

Watch the short film

Highly commended (student)

Manchester Outreach Medics: Matthew Maden, School of Medicine.

Manchester Outreach Medics is a well-established Access All Areas outreach project.

Medics in Primary Schools: Sylvia Osahan, School of Medicine.

Medics in Primary Schools aim to inspire primary school students from widening participation backgrounds to consider a career in science and/or medicine.

Exceptional contribution

Julia Riley: Julia Riley.

Julia Riley has been instrumental in reviving and championing Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre’s Education programme. From a starting point of virtually zero in 2009, Julia has firmly established Jodrell Bank as a new national centre of excellence for STEM education and has pioneered new approaches to Widening Participation.