August 6, 2018, by Liz Goodwin
A year of successes
As students get ready for the new academic year, the University of Nottingham prepares to welcome the new cohort and reflect on a year of successes.
From revealing innovative new research and launching overseas reputation campaigns, to opening flagship buildings and award-winning snails… read on to find a selection of some of this year’s top stories which put Nottingham in the news.
LAUNCHING OVERSEAS RESEARCH CAMPAIGNS
After a highly successful research campaign launched in June 2017, phase two in spring 2018 saw the launch of the campaign in China and Malaysia, to further enhance the University’s profile globally.
To continue in the future as a world-leading university, the campaign was aimed to share our stories, raise our profile, enhance our reputation and inspire and engage the University’s community.
At the heart of the campaigns was the University’s vision for research, and the highlight of the overseas drive saw ground-breaking research being the focus of key media stories. News in Malaysia focussed on a finding a cure for dengue fever using the papaya leaf, and in China it was revealed how super cap-batteries are being used on Ningbo buses to create cleaner transport.
A second phase in the UK will see a further campaign, launching in the autumn of 2018.
REVOLUTIONISING THE WAY BRAIN SCANS ARE CARRIED OUT
A new generation of brain scanner, that can be worn like a helmet allowing patients to move naturally whilst being scanned, was developed by researchers at the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre.
The new MEG (magnetoencephalography) scanner offers new possibilities for the treatment of neurological conditions and scientists hope it will help children with epilepsy and people with psychoses and neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
The next step, say researchers, is to make the cap look less menacing — the design they have in mind is similar to a bicycle helmet.
Professor Brian Cox tried out the new technology and had his brain tested using the MEG scanner when he dropped in on the University’s Quantum Sensing the Brain team at the Royal Society Summer Exhibition. Professor Cox was doing a tour of the annual event which showcased some of the best research being done right now in the UK.
NOTTINGHAM LEADING THE FIGHT AGAINST CANCER
A new flagship Centre for Cancer Sciences at the University of Nottingham is due for completion in September 2019. The new centre will offer brand new state-of-the-art laboratories, research equipment and facilities within a new £23m extension to the University’s existing Centre for Biomedical Sciences.
As part of the establishment of the new Centre, Nottingham has become the first UK university to introduce a bespoke undergraduate degree specifically focussed on cancer research which will train the next generation of world-class scientists to tackle the disease.
This year also saw the launch of the Nottingham Breast Cancer Research Centre which brings together more than 100 scientists, researchers and clinicians in a bid to make the next big breakthrough in the battle against the disease.
RIP JEREMY — THE AWARD-WINNING GASTROPOD
The ‘one-in-a-million’ mutant garden snail — who achieved international notoriety after a public appeal was launched to help find him a mate — continued to hit the headlines.
Jeremy the lefty snail slithered off his mortal coil in October last year. However, the sad news came with a bittersweet twist to the tale that shortly before his death he was finally able to produce offspring after mating with another ‘lefty’ snail.
The research behind Jeremy’s infamous story — which inspired an international public hunt for a mate, a tragic love triangle, and an unrequited love song written for him — was the work of Dr Angus Davison. He discovered that a gene which determines whether a snail’s shell twists in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction also affects body asymmetry in other animals — including humans. Research using the ‘lefty’ snail offered the chance to develop understanding of how organs are placed in the body and why this process can sometimes go wrong when some or all of the major internal organs are reversed from their normal placement.
The research and the media work around the story saw Jeremy and Dr Davison win a recent Heist award in higher education marketing for the ‘Best Low Budget Marketing Campaign.’ Dr Davison was at the awards ceremony to accept the award for Jeremy posthumously.
TOP 20 FOR TEACHING IN EUROPE AND CLIMBING THE QS RANKS
The University of Nottingham has been ranked as 18th in Europe for teaching excellence. The Times Education (THE) Europe Teaching Rankings 2018 are the first to focus solely on teaching and learning.
The THE’s top-ranked ‘European Universities by Teaching Excellence’ focussed on four key areas — engagement, resources, outcomes and environment. The University scored particularly highly in metrics around recommending their experience to friends and family, access to learning materials and the quality of the learning environment.
A Teaching and Learning Hub on University Park Campus is soon to open ready for the 2018/19 intake of students and will further boost state-of-the-art teaching facilities and provide a performing arts space, social learning hub and a 300-seat lecture theatre.
In the 2018 QS World University Ranking 2018 results, Nottingham was placed joint 84th and among the top one per cent of global universities. Domestically, the University is listed 15th out of just 76 UK universities included in the table.
The most recent rankings particularly emphasise Nottingham’s employer reputation which is 69th in the world. The University is consistently named as one of the most targeted institutions by leading graduate employers and was also named as ‘University of the Year for Graduate Employment’ in the 2017 Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide.
UNIQUE DH LAWRENCE TREASURE TROVE SECURED
The University announced in June the exciting news that it had acquired a treasure trove of personal items belonging to Nottingham’s most famous literary son and alumnus, DH Lawrence.
The archive of over 600 items was bought by the University following a successful fundraising campaign to secure the collection, which was at significant risk of being sold overseas or dispersed among private collectors.
The collection, which is intimate and fond in nature, attracted media attention from BBC television and radio, who came onto campus to capture some of the items and discover more about one of the greatest novelists of the 20th century.
IN THE FRAME: PORTRAITS FOR INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY CELEBRATIONS
A Golden Globe Award-winning actress, China’s Athlete of the Century and the founder of the first women’s Hall of Residence at the University of Nottingham are among those whose pictures were hung in a new exhibition to diversify portraiture at the University.
The exhibition — titled Women at Nottingham: Pressing for Progress — was launched to coincide with International Women’s day on 8 March 2018.
The 14 photographic portraits feature inspiring women with a strong connection to the city and the University such as Florence Boot, former partner at Boots the Chemist and campaigner for women’s rights to higher education. Olympic table tennis champion Deng Yaping, actress Ruth Wilson and Georgina Wilding, the first Young Poet Laureate under the UNESCO City of Literature, also feature.
The exhibition will be in place until March 2019.
ROYAL SEAL OF APPROVAL FOR UNIVERSITY SPORTING EVENT
One of the biggest sporting events in the university calendar, BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) Big Wednesday, took place in March at the University of Nottingham.
BUCS and the University were delighted to welcome BUCS Patron, HRH The Princess Royal who attended the outstanding event. The Royal Family’s first Olympian was on University Park Campus to hand out medals at the volleyball final, and watch the squash, fencing and basketball championship matches.
Hosted by the University for the first time, the event took place in four hub venues in the city, including the £40m David Ross Sports Village and the Nottingham Tennis Centre.
The event is the pinnacle of the BUCS calendar and the tournament saw 104 teams, competing in championship and trophy finals descend on the University for one day of sporting excellence.
The University continues to invest in outstanding facilities across its campuses.
Work on the Advanced Manufacturing Building at Jubilee Campus was completed early 2018 with pioneering research using 3D printing and robotics that aim to shape the future of the UK manufacturing sector, taking place in the new £30m building.
A new £6m centre that will position the University of Nottingham at the forefront of research into the health, nutrition and welfare of dairy cows was officially unveiled in May at its Sutton Bonington campus. The new Centre for Dairy Science Innovation is a state-of-the-art extension to the University’s long-standing dairy facilities and offers the latest research technologies — including robotic milking machines — for studying a range of dairy-related topics; and robot ‘scrapers’ which help to maintain the general hygiene of the facility by automatically disposing of waste.
Work is due for completion on a transformational new health centre on University Park in autumn 2018. The new Cripps Health Centre will transform services for the healthcare needs of students and staff as well as those of the local community. The new facility will offer a holistic approach to primary health and dental care with enhanced clinical consulting rooms, minor operations suites, a patient observation bay, physiotherapy areas, dentist treatment rooms, pharmacy and mental health suite as well as training rooms and offices.
And finally, a stunning redevelopment and landscaping of Portland Hill came to completion, including work on the iconic Portland Building and an impressive outdoor space, creating the new Djanolgy Terrace. The terrace became a popular social venue for hosting high–octane screenings of the World Cup 2018 matches this summer.