Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer
Search the University of Manchester siteSearch Menu StaffNet

Making a Difference Awards take place on Facebook Live!

11 May 2020

Staff, students, alumni and friends from around the world celebrate the incredible and inspiring work of our University community

Making a Difference Awards on Facebook Live

On Thursday, 7 May we were joined by staff, students, alumni and friends from around the world to celebrate the incredible and inspiring work of our University community. Following regulations on social distancing, the awards were broadcast online, with our winners joining Lemn Sissay, the University’s Chancellor, via Zoom to receive their awards.

The awards highlighted the extensive range of social responsibility initiatives of our staff, students, alumni and external partners, and cover categories such as research impact; widening participation; environmental sustainability and equality, diversity and inclusion.

A record number of 180 entries were submitted this year, with judges recognising 17 winners, 28 highly commended and two special recognition awards. Winners included a mental health app bridging the gap between those with mental illness and treatment, research improving the outcome for children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and an exhibition and events programme presenting the work of Muslim women artists.

The University’s commitment to social responsibility has never been more important and we could not have presented the awards without mentioning the work that our University staff, students and alumni are involved with in tackling the coronavirus pandemic.  A short film took us through some examples of how our University community has been responding to the crisis.

During the event, President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell acknowledged the uncertain times that we all now find ourselves in and Vice-President for Social Responsibility, Nalin Thakkar outlined all the social responsibility work that the University has been involved in this past year. The event concluded with Chancellor Lemn Sissay’s poem ‘Making a Difference’ followed by a Q&A with Lemn and our University community.

Julian Skyrme, Director for social responsibility, summarised the event: “Our current pandemic has illustrated the critical role universities play through their social responsibility activities – be that locally, nationally or internationally. We pride ourselves on being a pioneering institution for social responsibility, and the Making a Difference Awards allows us to celebrate some of the best work that our staff, students, alumni and partners do each year to enhance the wellbeing of society and the environment.”

Nalin Thakkar, concluded: “This was my first Making a Difference Awards as Vice-President for Social Responsibility and it was a wonderful experience being involved in an event that recognises the inspiring work that our staff, students, alumni and partners are involved in. The Making a Difference Awards has, once again, shown how the unique abilities and resources of universities can create positive change in wider society through their research, innovation, and most importantly their people.”

Details of all the winners and highly commended can be found on the social responsibility website and short films about each of our winners are available on the social responsibility YouTube channel.

You can find out more about what the University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic on our dedicated webpages.