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Together, we make an impact

Nancy Rothwell

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell

In this year’s magazine, we celebrate impact – the impact of our people, research, teaching and learning, innovation, and the benefits we bring to society and the environment, locally and globally.

As we reflect on what has been an unprecedented two years, I want to take this opportunity to thank all our staff, students, alumni and supporters, and to highlight the strides we have made to bring Our future, the University’s vision and strategic plan, to life.

With the world forever evolving and being dealt new challenges, from devastating wars to a cost-of-living crisis, healthcare inequalities and calls for urgent climate change action, it is the duty of institutions like ours to be a leading light in responsible and sustainable change, to create a better future for all.

Together, we’re making an impact – from our distinguished alumni, like Gareth Owen OBE, Humanitarian Director of Save the Children UK, to staff such as Dr Olga Onuch, responsible for engaging students and researchers in conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Meanwhile, our students continue to make an impact, leading initiatives like The Black Excellence Network, founded by medical student George Obolo.

The last 12 months has seen the University demonstrate our research impact on a local, national and global scale. Our submission to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 – the UK-wide assessment of university research performance – was one of the largest and broadest in the sector, spanning 2,400 staff, 5,200 outputs and 160 case studies across 31 subject areas. We were delighted with the results in which, overall, 93% of the University’s research activity was assessed as ‘world-leading’ (4*) or ‘internationally excellent’ (3*).

These fantastic results reflect the incredible dedication and creativity of our colleagues who work every day to solve significant world problems and make a difference.

A selection of 22 case studies – highlighting some of the best and brightest of our research efforts – are illustrated in our research impact showcase. This launched in May 2022 to coincide with the REF 2021 announcement, reaffirming our position as a global powerhouse of research. The strength of our research enhances the quality of our teaching, helping students realise their potential to contribute to society’s greatest challenges and giving them access to lifelong learning opportunities.

At The University of Manchester, we’re always pushing forward, bringing together brilliant minds to do great things. Great things like making life-saving treatments available across the world or developing more ethical and socially responsible artificial intelligence (AI). We continue to respond to the challenges faced in these post-COVID times with the same passion, drive and commitment as ever before.

We also use this issue to celebrate and thank our Chancellor, Lemn Sissay OBE, for the past seven years. Lemn has had an impact on many aspects of University life, notably as part of our Stellify programme, for which his poem It’s Time to Stellify encapsulated the determination of students to make a difference in the world, as part of our commitment to social responsibility. His energy and creativity have been invaluable assets to the University and will continue in his role as an Honorary Chair of Creative Writing.

While great challenges and many uncertainties remain, the horizon at Manchester is bright with opportunities. Our people, research, learning and innovation continue to make a positive impact. So, we can confidently say that whatever we may face in the future, we at The University of Manchester will find a way to deliver on our ambitions.