Awards and recognition

Our dedication to breaking down barriers to learning and widening participation are nationally recognised.

The Diversity Champions project

The Diversity Champions project aimed to improve the understanding of hate crime among schoolchildren and young people aged 13 to 15.

Pupils from schools in Greater Manchester were invited to take part in training sessions and workshops delivered by local charitable organisations that specialise in mental health, LGBTQ+ awareness, and equality and diversity.

Students learnt about different forms of hate crimes and the importance of being an active bystander, before going on a Diversity Champions field trip to Auschwitz, Poland that summer.

On their return, the pupils staged ‘Diversity Days’ at their schools to share learnings with peers.

The project and its work are recognised at a number of local and national awards, including:  

Outstanding Social Behaviour Awards 2020

The Outstanding Social Behaviour Awards (OSBA) recognise the efforts of those who have made a positive difference within their community, as well as marking the achievements of people who have had the courage and determination to move away from crime and violence.

The Diversity Champions project won the award for Community Cohesion and Diversity.

Spirit of Manchester Awards 2019

The Diversity Champions project won the 'equalities' category at the Spirit of Manchester Awards 2019.

Prizes recognise the work taking place to address and tackle issues regarding equality in areas such as race, gender, sexual orientation, mental health, and faith.

Read more about the project trip to Krakow.

The University of Manchester School Governor Initiative

Since September 2012, the University of Manchester School Governor Initiative has won a number of regional and national awards, including:

  • Spirit of Manchester Employee Volunteering Award 2018;
  • The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award for Voluntary Service 2016;
  • The Times Higher Education Award 2014 for 'Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community';
  • BITC Big Tick Education Award 2014;
  • BITC Big Tick re-accreditation for further improvements and successes in 2015 and 2016;
  • Green Gown Award 2013 and International Green Gown Award 2013 for Social Responsibility.

Catalyst Award for Community Engagement

In 2017, The University of Manchester Library’s contribution to widening participation through its My Learning Essentials (MLE) resources was recognised with a Catalyst Award for Community Engagement.

The annual Catalyst Awards recognise innovation and excellence in the Blackboard global community of practice.

Health Education England Award

In August 2017, the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Widening Participation Team won a national award from Health Education England for its research into the performance and experience of widening participation students.

The project looked at more than 2,000 students’ end of year examination results, compared across five disciplines: Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Psychology and Pharmacy.

Neon Awards

The National Education Opportunities Network (NEON) was founded in early 2012 as a professional organisation to support those involved in widening access to higher education (HE) and social mobility. Since then, The University of Manchester has been a member institution.

Every year, the NEON awards provide a platform to celebrate and recognise the contribution of their members within the sector, Manchester has received awards including: 

  • Widening Access Initiative (Retention and Success) – Commended for The Student Inspire Network (2018);
  • NEON Student of the Year – Commended: Memona Shahid, University of Manchester student and Access All Areas volunteer (2018);
  • NEON Student of the Year – Highly commended: Omer Ali, University of Manchester Medical Student (2015);
  • NEON Widening Access Initiative Award – Winner: Gateways, the University’s flagship secondary widening participation programme (2014);
  • NEON Outstanding Contribution to Widening Access Award – Winner: Sam Kalubowila, Student Recruitment and Widening Participation Coordinator (2014).

Making a Difference Awards

Every year, the University’s Office for Social Responsibility runs their ‘Making a Difference’ awards, which includes an award that recognises the outstanding contribution of both staff and students to widening participation.

Find out more about the awards and previous winners.