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Campus, community and worldwide impact


The University of Manchester is unique in British higher education for having social responsibility as a core goal.

Our programmes are making a difference on campus, in local communities and around the world.

We're tackling some of the world's biggest challenges through our research in areas such as cancer, energy, global inequalities, advanced materials and biotechnology. Our students are addressing key ethical issues through their studies, supporting them to become responsible leaders and citizens of tomorrow.

We inspire – and are inspired by – our neighbouring and global communities by actively engaging and involving the public in our work. We’re responsible in our processes, from choosing what we buy to how we recruit our people. Equality, diversity, inclusion and environmental sustainability are prioritised in our decision-making.

Here are just a few examples of how we’re making a difference. 

On campus

Ethical Grand Challenges

We want our students to become socially responsible leaders and citizens of tomorrow. Through our Stellify initiative, every undergraduate is supported to gain an award through involvement in community volunteering, leadership and our Ethical Grand Challenges programme. In 2017/18:

In 2018/19 we’re running seven Workplace Ethics Challenge events with final-year students.

10,000 actions

We want our staff to make a difference to sustainability on campus. That’s why we’ve worked together to deliver the biggest environmental sustainability initiative in the higher education sector.

  • 10,000+ staff have the opportunity to engage in learning and positive action on sustainability.
  • 36,000+ actions on sustainability have been pledged by staff.
  • We were the world’s first university to be certified by the Carbon Literate Organisation.
  • Both the 10,000 Actions and the Ethical Grand Challenges programmes have received awards for their innovation and impact.

In the community

The Works

As one of the region’s largest employers we want to improve the job opportunities for our local residents. One way we do this is through our unique jobs, skills and training facility based in our local community, The Works.

  • 4,153 people’s lives have been transformed since 2011 by taking them out of unemployment.
  • £60.6 million of social and economic value has been generated.
  • The initiative has received numerous prestigious awards.

School Governor Initiative

Our staff and alumni are making a difference to the leadership and direction of hundreds of state schools across the region and other parts of the UK through our School Governor Initiative.

  • 905 staff and alumni support 407,259 learners, creating more than £6 million of economic value.
  • The initiative has received numerous prestigious awards for creating the largest growth of school governors in the UK.

Addressing inequalities

We want to ensure our knowledge, expertise and activities help to create a fairer Greater Manchester.

  • Our Manchester Access Programme has supported more than 1,974 local students from underrepresented backgrounds to study for a degree and progress into valuable professions such as medicine, teaching and law.
  • We’re leading an independent Inclusive Growth Analysis Unit in partnership with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to help make poverty reduction central to growth and devolution processes in our city region.
  • We’re working with a coalition of regional organisations and the Centre for Ageing Better to help tackle social, economic and health inequalities in later life.
  • We’re developing the role of the University as an anchor institution in Ardwick – our closest neighbouring area.

Around the world

Equity and Merit Scholarships

We want to ensure students from all parts of the world can access our study programmes and use this knowledge to improve their societies. Our Equity and Merit Scholarships assist talented master’s students from some of the least developed countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

  • 255 full scholarships have been awarded over the past decade.
  • The scholarships are fully funded by the University and our generous donors.
  • Graduates of the scheme contribute vital knowledge and skills to their communities, for example in homebuilding in slum areas, sustainable energy, politics, and treating and preventing disease.

Global inequalities

We want our knowledge and expertise to contribute to sustainable development and social justice for everyone. Our Global Development Institute is the largest dedicated development research and teaching institute in Europe.

  • We’re ranked first for research impact in global development in the UK.
  • Our research led Cadbury to invest £45 million in cocoa growing communities.
  • Our research into direct cash transfers to the chronic poor has shaped practice in several countries, such as Southern Sudan.

Read more about how we're making a difference and find out how you can get involved

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