Directory of activities

Search these pages to explore a selection of our directory of activities. You can use the keyword search and filter buttons to discover how we are addressing each of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and the five priorities in our Social Responsibility and Civic Engagement Plan. You can also filter activities by location and function.

Making a Difference Awards

Each year, we host the Making a Difference Awards to celebrate the incredible and inspiring work of our University community. The awards highlight the extensive range of social responsibility initiatives of our staff, students, alumni and external partners, and covers categories such as benefit to research; widening participation; environmental sustainability and equality, diversity and inclusion.

Global University Social Responsibility MOOC

Our university has contributed to the Global University Social Responsibility Massive Online Open Course (MOOC), which allows users to learn about the general framework of university social responsibility as well as understand effective practices to design, plan, implement, and evaluate their own activities.

Talking Science Competition

Each year, the University’s Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health (FBMH) hosts the ‘Talking Science Competition’ where second year undergraduate students and above are invited to share their ideas on how science can create a healthier, fairer and greener world, creating a unique opportunity to talk about a subject that really matters to them.

Black History Month

Black History Month is used as a time to give appreciation and recognition of the positive contributions that Black people have made. It also provides an opportunity to celebrate accomplishments, share learning, and allows us time to reflect on the past, whilst being proud of our culture and identity. Each year, we host a variety of events for staff and students to mark Black History Month. For example, our University’s Creative Manchester presented a lecture with award-winning writer, historian and broadcaster, Professor David Olusoga OBE, exploring what it means to be black and British and the role of black history today.

Investigating the housing and construction sector’s role in Net-Zero

Alliance Manchester Business School and Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (MIOIR) are developing a more precise understanding of the productivity challenges in the construction sector and hope to uncover ways in which more sustainable practices can deliver productivity improvements. The research project focuses on solutions for the UK market and involves extensive collaboration with industry. Importantly, the ultimate aim is to help advance towards the UK’s net-zero target and improve productivity growth targets.

Reducing the University’s air travel emissions

We have cut our air travel emissions by 46% compared to pre-pandemic levels, decreasing them from 18,641 tonnes of CO2e (CO2equivalent) in 2018/19 to just over 10,000 tonnes of CO2e in 2022/23. The reduction in our emissions is equivalent to the carbon produced from driving over 32.5 million miles in an average petrol car. Our new  travel policy, which was put into effect last year, supports our ambition to be a leader in developing sustainable research and teaching practices. It includes several changes such as encouraging staff to have meetings online rather than in-person and to consider travelling by rail rather than air.

Age-friendly Greater Manchester

To mark the UN’s International Day of Older Persons we have created a booklet which showcases the different ways older age is experienced in Greater Manchester, alongside an accompanying animation. This booklet offers a guide to a more immersive, flexible, creative and participatory approach for engaging with those within the category – enabling policy communities, academics, and others to gain a richer, localised and more personal understanding of what it means to be an older person. The project also responds to research and campaigns that have found representations of older age often fall back on medicalised, stereotypical accounts of what constitutes older lives.

Health Inequalities

Policy@Manchester is our University’s policy engagement institute that connects researchers with policymakers and influencers, nurtures long-term policy engagement relationships and seeks to enhance stakeholder understanding of pressing policy challenges. One of the institutes online collections, Health Inequalities draws on research from across the University, and offers evidence-led insight and policy recommendations on the causes, effects, and solutions to heath inequalities.

From Boys to Men

‘From Boys to Men’, a project from our School of Social Sciences, explores why some boys become domestic abuse perpetrators and what more can be done to prevent it. The ground-breaking research findings led to a number of significant interventions at a local and national level. The findings also contributed to Greater Manchester’s Combined Authority’s (GMCA) 10-year strategy to tackle gender-based violence, and the toolkit generated by the project has influenced school-based preventative strategies as well as being rolled out in Malta, France and Spain.

University Living Lab

Our University Living Lab applies the expertise of students to real-world sustainability challenges through developing student research projects with external organisations to help meet sustainability goals.  Through the University Living Lab, the University has saved CO2 through active travel, shaped municipal climate change policy, increased biodiversity and enabled ethical consumption whilst empowering and equipping the future workforce of a net zero world. In 2022, the Living Lab was nominated for The Earthshot Prize for practical action on climate change.

Conducting ‘Mediated Dialogue’

Academics from the University have worked with practitioners from the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation to develop a framework and toolkit for conducting ‘mediated dialogue’ with groups in conflict. The framework and toolkit is used in community safety and neighbourhood team roles, restorative youth or community practices by social services and youth offending teams for a broader range of groups experiencing escalating conflict or as an opportunity to repair relationships.

Top floor of Manchester Museum

Manchester Museum’s Top Floor is a space for people to come together to learn, share ideas and connect with the community. You’ll find education groups, charities, artists, writers, staff and students co-working and collaborating here, with a shared commitment to social and environmental justice. The Museum has also appointed Hannah Hartley as the Environmental Action Manager, where she works across all areas of the museum to drive forward its ambitions in environmental thinking and action, establishing sustainable practices, and building on the Museum’s rich experience in developing narratives and programming in response to the climate crisis.

Historic links with slavery

Dr Natalie Zacek, Senior Lecturer in American Studies and Professor Nalin Thakkar, Vice President for Social Responsibility have conducted preliminary research that analyses the connections between the University’s predecessor institutions and historical slavery. This research has been carried out in response to our Race Matters report. The article has initiated new conversations that seek to address the implications, responsibilities and opportunities for the University to develop a deeper understanding of the past.

Manchester Museum’s Indigenise Speaker Series

Manchester Museum is taking action to Indigenise and decolonise its collections. As part of this, they have been hosting annual Indigenise Speaker Series, which brings together Indigenous scholars and projects from around the world to participate in activities and discuss how to empower Indigenous communities and collaborate with them at the museum.

School Governor Initiative

The University has one of the UK’s most extensive programmes of work with local state schools and colleges. In accordance with the University’s access and participation plan with the Office for Students, we deliver a School Governor Initiative that helps staff and alumni to find volunteering placements as governors in local schools.

DentMan conference

We have an annual, student-led DentMan conference which seeks to encourage students in dentistry to explore our pioneering humanising dentistry concept and give them freedom and space to engage with the community and the wider global society through outreach and volunteering programmes. It also provides a platform for dental students to demonstrate and recognise how they have made a difference to dental health inequalities across Greater Manchester and beyond. In recent years, the conference has reached a global audience, with over 200 staff, students, and oral healthcare professionals from both the University of Manchester and University of Ghana in attendance.

Using AI to tackle humanity’s greatest challenges

A Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Manchester has been working with an international team of colleagues to create a pioneering research platform called ‘Virtual Labs’, which uses autonomous AI to retrieve and share relevant knowledge with research teams around the world who are now in a race to mitigate the impact of climate change. The technology will also help fast-track new research and innovation to support breakthroughs in diverse areas of study, from the development of new advanced materials to the design of new drugs.

Young People at a Crossroads: Diverse Voices Contribute to Climate Education Resource

The voices of 40 migrant-background 14-18-year-olds in Manchester and Melbourne have taken part in producing a climate education resource for teachers, students and researchers, entitled Young People at a Crossroads: Stories of climate education, action and adaptation from around the world. The project was led by the University of Manchester’s Sustainable Consumption Institute in partnership with researchers at the University of Melbourne. The team set out to explore and enable conversations about climate change in homes where, through migration, parents and young people grew up in times and places with different exposures to environmental challenges and different information about climate change.

Manchester Museum’s Carbon Literacy Toolkit

We launched the first ever museum-sector-specific Carbon Literacy toolkit as part of Roots & Branches, a partnership between Manchester Museum, Museum Development North West (MDNW), and The Carbon Literacy project. The toolkit helps museum professionals and volunteers undertake training, to then certify as Carbon Literate. This foundational work supports staff, volunteers, and partners to build their understanding of climate action, so that they can make informed sustainable choices. The project also encourages museums to develop organisational pledges to act against climate change.

Sustainability Challenge photography competition

We host an annual Sustainability Challenge photography competition, asking students to submit a picture that raises awareness of a sustainability issue that they are passionate about. Alongside this, the challenge encourages students to express their opinions and critically engage with issues relating to climate change.

Sustainable Futures

Sustainable Futures aims to bring together the unique depth and breadth of internationally leading research at our University, as well as interdisciplinary working to produce sustainable solutions for urgent environmental challenges. The organisation also aims to develop complete understandings of the environmental systems on which we depend and how humans interact with them, spurring scientific innovation and facilitating societal change at a scale and pace to address environmental crises.

LGBT History Month

Each year our University marks LGBT+ History Month with a variety of events, awareness raising activities and calls to action to mark the contribution and importance the LGBT+ community has had on the University. Events include exploring aspects of LGBT+ inclusion and a screening of a documentary focusing on intersectionality, followed by a discussion. Members of our alumni are also invited to join a panel where they discuss the theme allocated to LGBT+ History Month for that year.

Student Volunteering Week

Each year our University organises the Student Volunteering Week which aims to encourage students to take part in various volunteering opportunities to help society and the environment. For example, in 2022, students took part in ‘cleaning and greening’ the Fallowfield Brow area which elevated the space for local wildlife and residents.