Better World Awards 2020

Celebrating how our Faculty is Making a Difference

To recognise and communicate the outstanding Social Responsibility activities across the Faculty of Science and Engineering, we are holding the fifth annual Better World Awards.

The event celebrates the important contribution our Faculty makes to social and environmental impact, highlights the efforts of staff and students who are 'making a difference', and will hopefully inspire others to do the same.

Nominations for 2020 are now closed. This year, there are ten award categories and 38 nominations, you can see an overview of each project below.

Category winners were decided by an expert judging panel from staff across the Faculty and wider University, and were presented at the prize-giving event on 6 February 2020.

If you have any questions about the Better World Awards, or any feedback on how to improve the nominations process please contact the FSE Social Responsibility Team.

Better World Award winners and nominees 2020

  • Outstanding benefit to society through research

    WINNER: Helena Herrmann

    Malawian Soil Project

    This project has been using research into soil science, to develop tools to help some of the poorest farmers in Africa. This is being delivered thought a mobile app, available for free. Training in how to use the app to help make decisions to increase crop yields has been delivered via a series of workshops.

    Angela Mae Minas and Sarah Mander (Shortlisted for Emerging Impact award)

    Energy from agricultural waste in Southeast Asia

    Energy from agricultural waste' covers two projects: rice straw bioenergy in the Philippines and Vietnam; and rice husk gasification in Myanmar. These aim to engage farmers in bioenergy development and link energy access to agricultural livelihoods. The projects have gained media attention and interest from policy actors in South East Asia.

    The SNIPPET team

    Secure and Privacy-friendly Peer-to-Peer Electricity Trading

    SNIPPET provides a solution for secure peer-to-peer electricity trading among households/SMEs while protecting their privacy and maintaining the electrical grid's stability. Our technical solutions empower consumers to maximally integrate green energy into local use, while our policy and legal recommendations will steer the design of future legal frameworks.

  • Outstanding community engagement initiative

    WINNER: Nick Weise

    MIB Programme of Public Engagement with Research and Researchers

    Nick aims to make engagement activities as easy to do as possible for researchers, allowing more of them to get involved, as well as encouraging outreach to non-traditional and under-served audiences in places where, in in ways which, people would not normally engage with science.

  • Outstanding contribution to environmental sustainability

    WINNER (Student): Mathieu Augustin

    Food Waste Network

    Using a network of volunteer staff and student food waste champions from the faculty, leftover food from events and meetings on campus is advertised on a listserv then redistributed by members of the network via the food waste app OLIO. The project makes it easy for individuals to be proactive in reducing food waste within the workplace, providing an environmental and social benefit.

    WINNER (Staff): Teresa Andersen and Tim O'Brien

    Bluedot festival sustainability programme

    The Bluedot festival has a commitment to continually innovate and advance the sustainability of the festival as well as discuss with audiences the fragility of planet earth - this includes visitor carbon offsetting and car sharing, zero waste to landfill, no single use plastic, food composting, sustainable festival power supplies, sustainability talks and activities to name a few. 

    HIGHLY COMMENDED: Plant and Hope Team

    We're currently living a mental health crisis among doctoral candidates, for this reason, Plant & Hope focuses on wellbeing and building a stronger postgraduate community through the power of plants. The project has run events to provide postgraduate students with plants to brighten their office environment and an opportunity to talk and connect with others.

    Abdulrahman Bin Jumah

    Platform molecules from chemical recycling of plastic waste

    Working with Arthur Garforth, Maryam Malekshahian and Aleksander Tedstone on the recycling of waste plastics to chemicals that are reusable as feedstock (such as branched alkanes and aromatics) in different industries (e.g. petrochemicals and polymer production).

    Sandra Taylor, Nick Matthews, Virginia Harvey and Nick Weise

    Carbon Literacy in Action at MIB

    "Our aim was to get people together in our building and raise awareness about the need to work in a more sustainable way. A leading group launched a 'green happy hour' event to provide a space and time to brainstorm ideas for how we could go about this in a practical manner."

    Emmanuella Morsi and Shannon Winters

    Circular Fashion Innovation

    Catastrophic amounts of post-consumer waste is the reality of modern disposable fashion. Our innovative research project aims to challenge this through developing a circular system that repurposes waste substances into a new functional material. Thus far, our investigation is guiding us towards generating a 3D-printed textile, suitable for trainer soles.

    Katrina Cullen and John Waters

    Expanding recycling provisions in the Williamson and Simon Building

    Expanding the local recycling provision to provide collection points for materials not normally recycled (e.g. stationary, crisp packets, confectionery wrappers etc.) but collected through Terracycle schemes - coordinated by the SU shop Want Not Waste. Six bins were deployed in Williamson Building & Simon building in October.

  • Outstanding contribution to equality, diversity and inclusion

    WINNER (Student): Ann Njeri Ng'Endo

    Elimisha Msichana, Elimisha Jamii (Swahili for Educate a girl, Educate the entire community)

    Throughout the developing world many schoolgirls fail to completing secondary education due to social and economic factors. Ann Njeri Ng'Endo (astrophysics PhD student), has setup a scheme to mentor 14-19 year-old schoolgirls through their high school education, so-far this has reached over 800 schoolgirls, plus parents, teachers and local leaders in 10 schools in Kitale, Kenya.

    WINNER (Staff): Jess Boland

    Sign language outreach

    Twitter program of short videos, explaining science outreach concepts with sign language. This includes involvement with @tigerinstemm and feeding in to Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and parliament on equality, diversity, inclusion and accessibility in STEM.

    WINNER (Emerging Impact Award): Abdullatif Alfutimie

    Rethink Rebuild

    Abdullatif is one of the founders & board of directors of Rethink Rebuild (RR) charity. Rethink Rebuild (RR) charity is a Manchester based charity helping and supporting refugees from other nationalities since 2011, they work to improve the economic and social wellbeing of Syrian residents and immigrants from other countries.

    HIGHLY COMMENDED (Staff): Rachael Ainsworth

    HER+Data MCR

    HER+Data MCR aims to connect, support, inspire and empower the North West UK's Women in Data through monthly meetup events. Since September 2017, the community has grown to almost 1000 women from across academia and industry, and has organised 20+ events including presentations, masterclasses, hackathons and socials.

    Team Ada Lovelace Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon

    The team addressed the general invisibility of contributions of female scientists by adding to Wikipedia biographies of women: during a 1-day event, they trained 5 complete novices to Wikipedia editors, translated some existing biographies into languages other than English, created new biographies, and constructed a red-list for future biographies.

    Cecilia Medupin

    Women in environmental sciences

    Workshop to bring women with diverse ethnicity and diverse disciplines into one place, in order to promote inclusiveness, widen participation and foster interesting discussion relating to environmental sciences.

  • Outstanding contribution to social enterprise

    HIGHLY COMMENDED: Danny Dresner

    Save the World (Wide Web)

    Save the World (Wide Web) is an event where school leaders, teachers, HEIs, teacher training providers and cyber's wider business world explore good practice for online and cyber safety learning in schools. We share innovative learning approaches in schools to understand risk, improve resilience, and recognise reality needed to encourage safe online behaviours.

    Elliot Mckernon (Shortlisted for Emerging Impact award)

    Wellspring app

    There is a dire gap separating those who suffer through mental illness from the treatment they need. The creation of the Wellspring app aims to bridge that gap by providing clearly written information about symptoms and treatments, and practical step-by-step guides to self-help and how to get treatment.

  • Outstanding contribution to widening participation

    WINNER (Team): Great Science Share for Schools

    Great Science Share for Schools is a fast-growing campaign to inspire young people into science and engineering. Taking place annually it involves children from 5-14 years of age in communicating their own scientific questions and investigations with new audiences.

    WINNER (Team): Tactile Collider (led by Rob Appleby)

    Tactile Collider

    Making the latest in particle accelerator research accessible to blind and visually impaired children and adults through specially developed tactile activities and workshops.

    WINNER (Individual): Perpetual Idehen

    Bringing Chemical Engineering to disadvantaged young people

    Perpetual's initiative sought to inspire disadvantaged young people with engineering activities, encompassing expansion of CEAS outreach events, engagement with 'Engineering Your Future (EYF)' project, new collaboration with Cedar Mount Academy (Ncop) and genSTEM outreach project with Manchester Youth Zone.

    Charlie Wand (Shortlisted for Emerging Impact award)

    LGBTQ+ inclusion in STEM

    Charlie was involved in a series of nationwide events promoting LGBTQ+ inclusion in STEM including Diversity Challenge, Queer Academia and events in Manchester. He has also been involved in online campaigns promoting LGBTQ+ visibility in STEM, helping the next STEM generation have LGBTQ+ role models and recognise they're not alone.

    FIRST LEGO League EEE organising team

    Widening participation activity with 10 Widening participation schools competing in an international competition on programming robots.

    Olivia Holmes

    Widening Participation Fellowship

    Olivia has gone above and beyond her role as a Widening Participation Fellow, incorporating research dissemination into her workshops, designing new interactive activities and engaging in knowledge transfer with external partners.

  • Outstanding Professional Services, Library and cultural institutions support for social responsibility

    WINNER: Science and Engineering Education Research and Innovation Hub (SEERIH)

    Greater Manchester Engineering Challenge

    The Greater Manchester Engineering Challenge (GMEC) is an annual engineering challenge for primary and Key Stage 3 pupils. It includes bespoke teacher professional development, in-school activities and a contemporary live engineering challenge for pupils to showcase their creativity and engineering habits of mind.

    HIGHLY COMMENDED: Head of Department Office in Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science (HoD Office)

    Striving for a Socially Responsible Department

    As the Head of Department (HoD) Office, we set an aim to increase the Department's social responsibility, focusing on sustainability, wellbeing and charitable involvement. To do so, we organised various events throughout the year including: Plastic Free Picnic, Wellbeing Day, charity quizzes, Food Bank February, City of Trees Visit, and more.

    Michi Sakuma and John Hughes

    MIB Christmas Choir

    Contributing to the social wellbeing of researchers in the MIB through the creation of a community choir, members have benefitted immensely from new skills, new friends and a new sense of community.

  • Outstanding public engagement initiative

    WINNER (UK project): Take a Bite out of Climate Change

    'Take a Bite out of Climate Change' is the collective name for an exhibit put together by a group of inter-disciplinary researchers to highlight the relationship between food and climate change to the public. Our aim was to help people make informed dietary choices in relation to greenhouse gas emissions.

    HIGHLY COMMENDED (International project): Educate Africa

    Educate Africa initiated in October 2017 provides dissertation supervision and free on line courses (undergraduate and postgraduate) for university students in 18 African countries, these are taught weekly and throughout each year and supplemented by annual visits of up to two weeks giving short courses and public lectures.

    HIGHLY COMMENDED (International project): Team Project Malawi

    Over the past 3 years, Project Malawi has worked with Ripple Africa to provide Computer Science education for primary to schools to rural Malawi. In summer 2019, a third group of UoM staff and students delivered a range of teaching activities (including girl specific ones), improved the schools' infrastructure, and trained teachers.

    Cecilia Medupin

    What's in your river?

    The 'what's in your river' project led by Cecilia has engaged varied and diverse members of the public on the biodiversity of their rivers through local community festivals, Policy@Manchester blogs, work with the British Ecological Society summer school, church community events to name a few.

    Digital Fabrication Centre

    Print 2D:3D

    The Digital Fabrication Centre commits to delivering stands at 3 out of hours events per year as well as undertaking a variety of workshops and tours during working hours. We have developed a number of activities which we can deliver around the subject of printing and additive manufacture.

  • Outstanding teaching and learning innovation in social responsibility

    WINNER: Laurence Stamford

    Sustainable development in Chemical Engineering

    Through the development of new coursework activities, unit content and dissertation topics the project has sought to make environmental sustainability more relevant to Chemical Engineering students making them more prepared for the sustainability-oriented careers of the future. This has led to journal publications and recognition by The Institution of Chemical Engineers.

    Charles Darko

    Industrial practices and ethics in Materials

    By providing 3 industrial field trips for undergraduate students within the School of Materials, teaching has sought to support students in bringing together theoretical methods with industrial practices and ethics and improving the student experience.

    Peter Budd, Martin Attfield, Nick Weise

    Sustainable Development Goals in the Chemistry Curriculum

    The call to action of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals was incorporated into one of the most popular CHEM optional units to encourage students to learn without boundaries and understand the issues that matter.

  • Outstanding volunteer

    WINNER (Student): UMPO (University of Manchester Physics Outreach)

    Student-led outreach volunteer group that runs weekly primary and secondary schools physics workshops the students developed themselves, as well as engaging the public at science events and festivals and through street busking. In 2018/19 UMPO engaged 875 children and young people in events they ran in schools and on campus, plus an estimated 5000+ families and adults at large public events.

    Natalie Parish

    Commitment to outreach and public engagement

    Natalie has been hugely supportive to outreach and public engagement activities in MACE supporting on the flight simulator on numerous inward visits from students and also in taking it out to ScienceX and BlueDot festival, further to this Natalie supported on the Department of Computer Science trip to Malawi earlier this year spending two weeks there.

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