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Making a Difference Awards 2024

13 May 2024

On Thursday, 9 May we hosted the 10th annual Making a Difference Awards to celebrate the inspiring social responsibility achievements of our staff, students, alumni and external partners

Making A Difference Awards 2024

The Awards highlight the extensive range of social responsibility initiatives of our University community and include categories such as benefit to society through research, widening participation, environmental sustainability, and equality, diversity and inclusion.  

Over 120 entries were submitted this year with judges recognising 17 winners and 22 highly commended. Winners include a project providing young care experienced people with a memorable Christmas Day experience; an engagement initiative democratising music education by removing socio-economic barriers and a project developing the world’s first bedside genetic test to prevent babies from going deaf. Winning student-led initiatives include a project addressing education, health, economic and environmental problems in Indonesia and a project aiming to increase the diversity of student participation in STEM-based subjects. 

In addition to the Making a Difference Awards our Chancellor, Nazir Afzal OBE, presented two University Medals for Social Responsibility: one for staff and one for alumni. The recipients were: the One Bin To Rule Them All team for enabling a sustainable circular plastics economy and alumna, Rosie Baker, for Planet Food York – a food-waste-reduction social enterprise. 

During the event a special Making a Difference Award for social responsibility leadership was presented to the University’s President and Vice-Chancellor, Nancy Rothwell, recognising her outstanding leadership contribution to the whole social responsibility agenda. 

Ten years of the Science and Engineering Education Research and Innovation Hub (SEERIH) was also recognised for the significant impact the programme has had on teachers and ultimately school students. 

During the ceremony we also took a moment to present a posthumous award to an exceptional alumna, Laura Nuttall, who sadly passed away shortly after graduating in 2023. Laura made an exceptional impact on the world with her awareness-raising and fundraising campaigns for brain tumor research and her family were in attendance to receive the award. 

Dr Julian Skyrme, Director of Social Responsibility and Civic Engagement, said: “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, Vice-President for Social Responsibility, added: “It was a wonderful experience to be involved in an event that recognises the inspiring work that our staff, students, alumni and partners are involved in. With celebrating 200 years of making a difference, the Awards have, once again, shown how the unique abilities and resources of universities can create positive change in wider society through research, innovation, and most importantly our people.” 

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