Foundation Day

The University of Manchester in its current form was created in 2004 by the amalgamation of the Victoria University of Manchester and the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST). We mark this occasion every October by celebrating our Foundation Day.

The event includes a ceremony at which we confer honorary degrees on a number of people from a range of fields. This year's recipients were David Aaronovitch, Dorothy Byrne, Professor Dame Sue Hill, Sir Alan Langlands and Professor Helen Pankhurst.

This ceremony was preceded by our prestigious Foundation Day lecture, this year delivered by David Aaronovitch, a journalist, broadcaster, author and alumnus.

Power of a pound

Stream our short film, written and performed by Nana Agayeman, our outgoing Students’ Union Postgraduate Officer, Power of a pound, that celebrates our hugely successful fundraising campaign that so many alumni have supported.


The year in review

The past year has been truly unprecedented, testing us all in many ways. In spite of the challenges we've faced, the University has continued to make great progress against the vision set out in Our future and achieved a number of successes that reflect our core goals and themes.

Social responsibility

More than a decade ago we became the first British university to set social responsibility as a core goal. This year, our efforts culminated in Manchester being named the world’s number one university for action taken towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (Times Higher Education Impact Rankings).

This fantastic achievement epitomises everything we stand for and everything we have achieved together: delivering benefits for the good of society and transforming lives for the better.


The University’s researchers continued their work to solve the most pressing problems facing our planet. These included influencing a change in nationwide testing for womb cancer; the launch of an Advanced Nuclear Energy Roadmap; and the Global Development Institute securing £32 million for the African Cities Research Consortium.

In spite of the volatile external landscape, we attracted more than £300m of external research funding, including the greatest amount of UK Research and Innovation funding awarded to any institution in the UK.

Funding from UK and EU sources will support projects across the University, including £32 million for the Productivity Institute and a share of the £79 million committed by the Medical Research Council for doctoral training.

We also transformed areas of our research agenda to tackle the challenges of the pandemic and shared our learnings with the public through our COVID catalysts campaign.

Teaching and learning

It wasn't just our research that adapted to the challenges created by COVID-19.

Our future had already set the direction of travel towards flexible learning; the pandemic served to accelerate its development to enhance, but not replace, in-person teaching. We've established a Flexible Working programme to work in partnership with staff and students to shape the future of learning. It remains our priority that our teaching is accessible and inclusive, with global reach.

The pandemic reminded us all of the importance of pastoral support. This year we invested an additional £1.9 million in student support, with a particular focus on mental health resources. We also provided an extensive package of support for students who had to self-isolate and established COVID-19 testing centres on campus.

Global influence

We continued to enhance our reputation as a one of the world’s leading universities through major strategic partnerships with Toronto, Melbourne and Hong Kong universities.

We also maintained our highest position to date in the QS World University Rankings (27th in the world) and remained fifth best institution in the UK in the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Civic engagement

Closer to home, we signed the first ever Civic University Agreement for Greater Manchester. Collaborating with four other higher education institutions, this agreement will drive social and economic change in the city region.


We celebrated significant milestones in our bid to become Europe’s most innovative university.

We completed construction on the Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MECD), the largest home for engineering in any UK university, and opened the Henry Royce Institute Hub, a new centre of excellence for the UK’s advanced materials community.  

Looking ahead, the launch of the University’s Innovation Factory and our role as founding partner of investment company Northern Gritstone will be integral to the commercialisation of university spinouts and helping our local and regional economies to build back better. 

We have also formed a joint venture with Bruntwood SciTech to establish ID Manchester, a new £1.5 billion innovation district that will transform our North campus and become an exemplar for a new approach to sustainable, inclusive development.

Our people, our values

Our people have remained at the heart of all we do and it is thanks their passion, professionalism and commitment that we've achieved so much in the past academic year.