It was a great disappointment to have to postpone last week’s graduation ceremonies as a result of the terrible weather conditions and resulting travel disruption. We’ve heard from many graduands and their families who are understandably upset and I’d like to reiterate that this decision was not taken lightly and was made to ensure the safety of our students, visitors and staff. We are working hard to deal with questions from those affected and to ensure that all students who want to can still take part in an award ceremony in the future.
The presentations and discussions that have ensued have rightly focused on how important it will be for us to show very clearly to potential students the strengths of a degree from Bradford. These strengths are both specific to your academic schools and directorates (the academic reputation; professional focus; the learning environment; research-informed teaching) and related to what staff do right across the University in terms of our estate, the quality of facilities and the support we provide from accommodation and catering to sports and working with our communities.
I am confident that if we focus on the strengths of what we offer we can meet the new challenges and your input into shaping how we present the real strengths that Bradford can offer will be very important over the next few months. I would welcome your comments and thoughts. Our own students have been rightly concerned about the changes in student fees anticipated by Browne. The demonstrations have shown the strength of feeling at changes which will impact on future generations of students – perhaps the younger brothers and sisters or children of our current students – and are a reminder of how important university education is in underpinning progressive social change.
I am delighted to report that the University was recently awarded the Times Higher Education ‘Contribution to Sustainable development’ award for the second year running. The judges commented that “the Ecoversity project stands as an exemplar of how a commitment to sustainability in practice can bring about transformational change in a higher education institution.”
The award reflects the work done by everyone across the University from the small things like recycling and turning computers off through to major projects such as The Green sustainable student village. Alongside that we also hosted a major international conference with the newly-established Ellen Macarthur Foundation. Dame Ellen Macarthur, round the world sailor and Vendee Globe winner, spoke at the opening of her Bradford roots (her mother and grandmother were from Bradford), of her commitment to global sustainability and her pleasure at the University of Bradford being the key partner for her work in education for sustainable development. Despite the disruptions posed by the weather the conference and keynote presentations were a great success and I am confident the link will enhance the international reputation of the University in this field.
All of this shows how the work of the Ecoversity StuDent project, now at an end, will leave a lasting legacy here in Bradford as we continue to embed the values of the project in all that we do. The work on education for sustainable development will contribute to the distinctiveness of our offer to students whilst the exciting developments on our campus will continue to show our commitment to a greener campus.
Students from the School of Computing, Informatics and Media have won recognition for their work at the Royal Television Society (RTS) Yorkshire Student Awards. The University retained its 10-year record of continuous prize-winning at the glitzy regional awards which give students the opportunity to showcase their work to some of the industry’s big names.
The Centre for Visual Computing has developed a software system for specialist chemical company Croda, for analysing and quantifying various properties of hair tresses. It is envisaged that Croda will be initially using this software to test and verify the effects of some of their hair products before releasing them to market.
The School of Management has teamed up with Morrisons to offer a fantastic opportunity for young people to gain a degree with a salary. There are 20 places for the first of these degrees, starting in January. Morrisons will pay all university fees and a salary of £15,000. They will have work experience and a guaranteed job at the end.
The School of Management has also been confirmed as one of the UK’s top 10 business schools and the number one in the North of England. The Financial Times ranked the School ninth in the UK in its annual ‘grand league table’ for European business schools. The rankings are based on a combination of league tables that assess the quality of Masters in Management, full-time MBA, executive MBA and executive education programmes.
Nick Richie of Social & International Studies has secured an ESRC research grant worth £69,874 for “The political challenges of ‘devaluing’ nuclear weapons in Britain”.
Peter Cowling in Computing, Informatics and Media has received a research grant from Yorkshire Concept worth £53,400 for intelligent data mapping.
Fin Caton-Rose from Engineering is working on contract research (£36,000) with Autodesk Inc., on Fibre orientation, fibre length and mechanical properties of injection moulded long and short fibre polymer composites. Jaguar Land Rover are also providing in-kind support on this project.
Nick Blagden from Pharmacy, and Taz Munshi from Chemistry have been awarded an MPhil Studentship from Pfizer Worldwide R&D UK, worth £30,139 to research the impact of mixed solvent on co-crystal solubility ternary phase diagrams and crystallisation scale-up.
A full list of recent research and knowledge transfer success can be found here (username and password required).
As this is my final monthly update before the University closes for Christmas I’d like to take this opportunity wish you all an enjoyable and restful break over the festive period.