Your University magazine 2022-23

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YOUR UNIVERSITY 2022/2023 REWRITING GENE THERAPY Leading the gene therapy revolution

Cultivating the future

How we’re working towards a sustainable food system for all

MADE TOGETHER Creating a healthier, greener and more vibrant city and region

ICONIC STUDENT STREETS Memories of Sheffield’s most-loved streets



A note from your editor


fter a challenging couple of years, the University is seeing a welcome return to in-person events for both current students and alumni, bringing back the buzz that can only come from meeting face to face. As we build back from the pandemic, we’re more passionate than ever about changing lives through our research. I’m delighted to see some of the truly worldchanging work that’s coming out of the University, such as new therapies for treating genetic diseases (see page 16) and solutions for global food insecurity (see page 22). In this issue, we reminisce with some of your memories and photos of your days in Sheffield (see page 26). We’re also excited to share with you the latest developments to our campus (see page 10) and shine a spotlight on some of the ways that you, our alumni, are raising money for excellent causes (see page 28). I hope you enjoy reading this latest issue of the magazine.

Sarah Hopkins (BA English Language with Linguistics 2003) Alumni Communications Manager




FEATURES 16 Rewriting the future of genetic disease We are pioneering treatments for gene therapy

18 In the city and region How we are making the region healthier, greener and more vibrant

20 My Sheffield: George Ergatoudis We catch up with a Sheffield graduate who has become one of the UK music industry’s most influential figures

22 Cultivating the future Cover illustration: Jake Williams 2


How we’re working towards a sustainable food system for all









25 What will your legacy be? Transforming lives through a gift in your will

26 Iconic student streets Did you live on one of these streets during your time at Sheffield?

28 Alumni community fundraisers How our alumni are staying active while giving back to fantastic causes


30 The Twikker Fund


Celebrating a decade of the UK’s largest student managed investment fund


31 Reflections on a remarkable career We speak to Sheffield Student Union’s outgoing Chief Executive Jaki Booth ahead of her retirement


Go digital UniversityofSheffield Prefer to receive the digital magazine? Let us know by emailing 2022/2023 | YOUR UNIVERSITY



D I G E S T Your University’s top news and achievements in the past year 4


The QS World rankings are announced in June each year and the University ranked:




Flowers at the Tower Professor Nigel Dunnett from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Landscape Architecture helped transform the Tower of London’s moat into a sea of wildflowers to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Above and right: A snapshot of the abundant wildflowers that surround the Tower, featuring poppies, coreopsis and cow parsley.


The ‘Superbloom’ project, already nicknamed ‘Flowers at the Tower’, has seen 14,000 square metres around the Tower of London adorned with various flora and fauna. The project, which was first discussed in 2018, saw 20 million flowers planted in March 2022 and opened in June 2022. Work to prepare for its installation began last autumn. Professor Dunnett said, “We hope that the effect of being surrounded by a sea of colourful, sparkling and vibrant flowers will release feelings of pure, liberated joy in visitors to the Superbloom – it will be

such a powerful, emotional and celebratory experience. “We’ve undertaken a lot of testing and trials to ensure that we deliver dramatic and beautiful impressionistic blends of colours, a long and continuous sequence of flowering, and a wonderful place for pollinating insects.” The moat has been used many times in the past as a mediaeval orchard, a grazing ground for livestock in the Victorian era and allotments during the Second World War. It was also used for a garden display in 1977 to mark the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. It will remain as a natural


Prestigious prize for expert in Japanese culture

The University of Sheffield ranked second top in Yorkshire and Humber for the percentage of employed graduates who are in ‘highly skilled employment’.

Tackling inequality in postgraduate research The University has received funding for three projects that tackle access inequality of postgraduate research (PGR) for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students. The projects will support the University to deliver its Race Equality Strategy and Action Plan, which aims to improve the representation, progression and success of BAME students and staff through a more culturally inclusive and diverse community. Professor Susan Fitzmaurice, Chair of the Race Equality steering group, said, “At the University of Sheffield, we are committed to driving diversity, equality and inclusion. Bringing together people with different views, approaches and insights can lead to a richer,

landscape, with the colourful flowers designed to attract pollinators and wildlife, as a permanent tribute. Historic Royal Palaces also hosted smaller floral Jubilee displays at Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace and Hillsborough Castle, and invited children to grow their own flowers. This is the second tribute to the Queen focusing on nature, the first being “Plant a tree for the Jubilee” in the Queen’s Green Canopy. Her Majesty has spoken of her love of nature in the past and recently urged world leaders at the COP26 summit to come together and address the climate crisis for future generations.

more creative and innovative environment for teaching, research and student experience.” These are among 13 projects funded by Research England and the Office for Students to improve access and experience of research for BAME PGR students. Led by the University of Leeds, they will work with institutions to create training and advice to maintain inclusive values in postgraduate research. The University of Sheffield plans to establish the Centre for Equity and Inclusion and work with four other universities on the Yorkshire Consortium for Equity in Doctoral Education. It will also participate in Generation Delta, promoting representation of BAME female professors in higher education.


lecturer from the University’s School of East Asian Studies (SEAS) has been awarded a £100,000 prize to further her promising career in Japanese cinema and culture. Dr Jennifer Coates, a Senior Lecturer in Japanese Studies, was selected out of over 400 nominees to be the recipient of the Philip Leverhulme Trust’s ‘Visual and Performing Arts’ category for her research, which has attracted international recognition. Dr Coates said, “It’s quite surprising to receive the award. Japanese studies sometimes feels like quite a small and specific field, so it’s really nice to see a broader interest in Japanese cultural studies in the UK.” Dr Coates was nominated for the prize by Professor of East Asian Cinema and the Head of SEAS, Kate Taylor-Jones. She said, “Jen has shown herself to be a leader in the promotion and development of the field of Japanese cinema studies in the UK and beyond. “I hope that this award will demonstrate the breadth and quality of the work that is produced by scholars at SEAS.” Dr Coates teaches several undergraduate modules and has studied, researched and taught her subject on an international scale, including in Japan, Australia and the US. Anna Vignoles, Director of the Leverhulme Trust, said, “I am delighted that we have been able to award these prestigious prizes to such a stunningly talented group of academics. This round was more competitive than ever and the judges had an incredibly difficult task.” 2022/2023 | YOUR UNIVERSITY



Our sustainable solutions Old-fashioned solution to modern plastic problem.


he University of Sheffield is set to significantly reduce its plastic waste by switching to milk churns to supply its cafés on campus. The move is expected to save 87,000 single-use bottles from our plastic waste every year. The University has invested in 70 stainless steel milk churns with local dairy farm Our Cow Molly, located just four miles from campus. Each churn holds 20 pints of milk and can be washed and refilled by the farm, helping to reduce both plastic waste and the carbon emissions of producing and transporting new milk bottles. The shift will remove 27,000 single-use plastic bottles per year in an initial trial and a further 60,000 once rolled out across all of the University’s cafés. The

Eddie Andrew, owner of Our Cow Molly, enjoying the view of the surrounding fields. project will also cut the carbon footprint of milk delivery to campus by over 65%, which is equivalent to 6.5 tonnes of CO2 every year. Dr Rachael Rothman, Academic Lead for Sustainability at the University, said, “It is so important that we work together to reduce single-use packaging, and this project is an excellent example of how impact can be achieved by

interdisciplinary, collaborative working. It is fantastic to see the milk churns in action in University cafés, reducing the carbon footprint of the milk delivery by over 65%.” The University is also aiming to cut back on single-use cups on campus by charging an additional 20p on single-use disposable cups and by introducing a new campus cup hire scheme with a company called Vytal.

An end to “leaves on the line” rail delays? Leaves on the track might not sound like a major issue, but the delays they cause cost the railway industry millions of pounds every year. But such delays could soon be a thing of the past thanks to technology designed by the University. The new track-cleaning system was initially developed in 2015 by a team of researchers at the University, led by Professor Roger Lewis from the University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. Professor Lewis said, “Leaves on the line are a huge problem for the rail industry. We’re really excited to have developed the first track cleaning system to be deployed onboard passenger trains and are looking forward to testing this even further with Northern Rail.” The technology uses dry ice pellets in a stream of high-pressure air, which 6


freezes the leaves. As the pellets turn back to gas, they are blasted away from the railhead. Currently, railway lines are cleaned using railhead treatment trains (known as RHTTs), but they can’t treat the whole

In tests the new technology proved more effective than current cleaning methods.

of the network due to their limited number and are expensive to run. This cleaning system can also damage parts of the track over time and has to be switched off when travelling through stations to avoid spraying passengers, which means lines within stations are not cleaned and trains find it harder to stop. The new innovation can be used onboard passenger trains. This is the first time passenger trains have been able to clean train lines anywhere in the world. Researchers have been testing the technology on railhead treatment trains for the past two years and on passenger trains in early 2020. The technology proved more effective than current cleaning methods, whilst also reducing delays and stopping distances. It’s a win for the environment too, as it runs on reclaimed carbon dioxide.

Rolls-Royce partnership secures £210 million funding The University has secured £210 million funding for its partnership with Rolls-Royce. Sheffield’s Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) will work with Rolls-Royce on the next phase of its small modular reactor (SMR) development programme. Andrew Storer, CEO of the Nuclear AMRC, said, “We’re delighted to play a part in this genuinely world-leading technology development project. “South Yorkshire played a huge role in the Industrial Revolution and is now leading the Green Industrial Revolution. We are delighted that our Nuclear AMRC will be supporting RollsRoyce’s SMR and using its expertise to play an important role in our transition to net zero. At the University of Sheffield, we are very proud that our researchers are focused on finding solutions to tackle the climate crisis.” Testing facilities at the Nuclear AMRC’s research factory in Rotherham will be used to develop the advanced processes. The centre will also support the design of a new UK factory for large SMR components. The University will then continue to work with RollsRoyce to create a pre-production proving facility to manufacture large-scale prototypes of the reactor pressure vessel and its closure head. The Rolls-Royce SMR is a compact power station design. A single station will occupy the footprint of two football pitches and power approximately one million homes. The entire plant is being designed as a number of modular sub-assemblies, which will be manufactured in factories then transported to site to be assembled. They will be available to the UK grid in the early 2030s. Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, visited the University of Sheffield’s Nuclear AMRC to launch the new venture. He said, “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the UK to deploy more low carbon energy than ever before and ensure greater energy independence.”

Scientist receives highest honour from British Ecological Society


researcher in the School of Biosciences has been awarded Honorary Membership by the British Ecological Society (BES) for her outstanding ecological research and efforts in conservation policy. Professor Sue Hartley has been recognised by the Society for her exceptional contributions at an international level to the generation, communication and promotion of ecological knowledge and solutions. Professor Hartley said, “I’m absolutely overwhelmed by this fantastic honour. I couldn’t be more delighted with this award and I regard it as the pinnacle of my ecological career. I have a long association with the BES, which I joined while I was still a PhD student.” The membership sees Professor Hartley join an exclusive list of people recognised for their work which includes Sir David Attenborough, Lord John Krebs of Wytham, Professor Sir John Lawton and Professor Sir David Read. Professor Hartley is the University of Sheffield’s Vice-President for Research and a past President of the BES. She was among three other distinguished ecologists to

I couldn’t be more delighted with this award and I regard it as the pinnacle of my ecological career.”

Professor Sue Hartley, OBE be granted the award, which was presented during a ceremony in December at Ecology Across Borders in Liverpool. The BES is the oldest ecological society in the world, founded in 1913, and has thousands of members across more than 120 countries. The Society promotes the study of ecology through academic journals, conferences, grants, education initiatives and policy work. The President of the BES Professor Jane Memmott said, “The BES awards recognise and celebrate the extraordinary contributions of individuals and groups to advancing ecology and communicating its importance for society. This year’s winners are no exception, and I am delighted to offer my congratulations to each and every one of them.” Professor Hartley’s research career has spanned almost 35 years. She completed a BSc in Biochemistry at the University of Oxford before undertaking a PhD in Ecology at the University of York. She then went on to research plantanimal interactions at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the University of Sussex. Professor Hartley has also been awarded an OBE and became the fourth woman to deliver the Royal Institution Christmas lectures since they were founded in 1825. 2022/2023 | YOUR UNIVERSITY



Among the world’s best for arts and humanities The University of Sheffield has been named as one of the best universities in the world for teaching and research in the arts and humanities. Our University ranked 67th out of more than 600 universities across the globe. Professor Susan Fitzmaurice, Vice-President for Arts and Humanities at the University of Sheffield, said, “I am very pleased and proud that the arts and humanities have maintained our global standing at a time of rapid change and considerable challenge throughout society. This success is thanks to the vigour, vitality and resilience of our staff and students.” It was ranked by The 2022 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, which was published in November 2021. This is one of the world’s most renowned university league tables, highlighting institutions that are leading in subjects such as languages, literature, linguistics and history. “As we look for a way out of the pandemic, the arts and humanities are more important than ever,” Professor Fitzmaurice said. “Some of the biggest challenges and divisions we are facing across the UK and the rest of the world have human behaviour at their heart – for example, rising COVID-19 cases, the climate crisis, racism, discrimination, cultures and identities – they are all issues in which human behaviour is key. The arts and humanities play a crucial role in helping us understand this.”

The University ranked 67th out of more than 600 universities across the globe



Sheffield a top maker school


ur University has been named one of the best maker schools in the world by The Best Maker Schools list. The list was published in October 2021 by the American weekly magazine Newsweek in collaboration with Make, a publisher that was central to the maker movement. The maker movement is a culture that has seen people with an interest in using practical skills to create or modify something and come together to show their creations and share ideas. The University has been recognised among the top higher education institutions with curricula that encourage learning by doing. Pete Mylon, the Academic Lead for iForge at the University of Sheffield, said, “Making has always been at the heart of Sheffield as a city, and the facilities we have established have enabled us to build a community of makers that continues to grow and do more. This is what really makes Sheffield the place to come to in the UK if you love making.” The iForge is central to the maker movement in Sheffield. The first of its kind at a UK university, it’s a 24–7

student-led ‘makerspace’ that allows students to collaborate, create and make outside of their academic studies. The University’s School of Education has also set up Maker{Futures}, a long-term programme that provides resources and support for students, educators and members of the public who are interested in setting up makerspaces for the community. It includes a maker curriculum for schools and the Maker{Move} mobile makerspace that runs pop-up maker events. The programme also runs a large volunteer programme for students and academics at Sheffield wanting to support public and school engagement makerspace activities and events. Dr Alison Buxton, Programme Director for Maker{Futures}, said, “It is important that we support the development of 21st-century skills and mindsets such as problem finding and solving, analytical thinking and creativity in children and also support teachers to embed this into classroom learning. This is not just important for children wanting to pursue future careers in STEM, they are also crucial skills across the jobs market.”

Northern Gritstone: A groundbreaking partnership for three Northern universities


he universities of Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester have partnered up to launch a new investment company called Northern Gritstone to help boost the commercialisation of university spinouts and start-ups in the North of England. The company will fund spinout enterprises from each institution using external capital raised from a range of different investors. These businesses may be newly formed spinouts or ones historically founded by or linked to the universities. The company also aims to play a key role in the government’s ‘Build Back Better’ agenda and ‘Plan for Growth’ in the North, and invest across a range of areas including advanced materials and manufacturing, health and life sciences, artificial intelligence and data sciences. Northern Gritstone will provide significant start-up and follow-on funding to support the intellectual property (IP) developed at Sheffield,

Leeds and Manchester. By raising a planned £500 million, Northern Gritstone will become one of the UK’s largest dedicated investors in the commercialisation of university science and technology-related intellectual property in the UK. Northern Gritstone has appointed Duncan Johnson as Chief Executive Officer and Lord Jim O’Neill, a Sheffield alumnus, as Non-Executive Chairman. Lord O’Neill said of the launch, “From the Industrial Revolution through to the early Digital Revolution, the North has helped to power our nation’s history. Gritstone’s mission is to take this one step further and unlock the huge commercial opportunity of our science and technology capabilities.”

Go ahead for green hydrogen Gigafactory

Hydrogen Research Innovation and Skills centre will also be funded, facilitating research into the safe and efficient manufacture of hydrogen using low or zero-carbon sources of energy. The company’s second UK factory has already

Energy storage and clean fuel company ITM Power is joining the University of Sheffield for a pioneering collaboration that includes an agreement for a new ITM Gigafactory. The Gigafactory, to be built at the University of Sheffield Innovation District, will manufacture electrolysers that split water into molecules of hydrogen and oxygen using renewable power. This zero-carbon green hydrogen can then be used in industrial processes, transport and heating, helping to push our society towards net-zero carbon. Dr Graham Cooley, CEO of ITM Power, said, “I am delighted to be working more closely with the University of Sheffield and that our second UK factory site is in Sheffield. Both initiatives will support the local economy through job creation and supply chain support.” The Gigafactory is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2023. A National

From the Industrial Revolution through to the early Digital Revolution, the North has helped to power our nation’s history.” Lord O’Neill

been discussed and is to be located at Tinsley, Sheffield. The development of this centre will lead to the creation of new jobs at all levels of the hydrogen sector, as well as opportunities for training and career development.

ITM Power’s second UK factory will be located at the University’s Innovation District in Tinsley. 2022/2023 | YOUR UNIVERSITY



Campus update


t’s been brilliant to see the steady increase of students and staff returning to campus over this last year. We’ve been working hard to continue developing and investing in our world-class facilities and have some exciting developments to share: • The topping-out ceremony for the new Faculty of Social Sciences building was held last summer, overseen by Professor Gill Valentine, Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Due to be completed by the end of this year, the building will be transformational for our University, not just in the educational and social spaces it will provide, but also thanks to its significant green credentials. The building has been designed with sustainability at its core. This includes the BREEAM Outstanding Building Accreditation standards we’re working to; the first installation in the education sector of deep (200m) geothermal ground source heat pumps, which will maximise the opportunity created by thermal warmth and provide cooling in the summer; and the new planting and green spaces, which will improve local biodiversity and will be open to the public as well as students and staff. Once operational, it will be the University’s first net-zero carbon building. • A ground-breaking ceremony was held in October for our Gene Therapy and Innovation Manufacturing Centre (GTIMC) at the University’s Innovation District (USID), attended by South Yorkshire Mayor Dan Jarvis MP. The GTIMC is one of three pioneering hubs in a new £18 million network funded by LifeArc and the Medical Research Council, with support from the Biotechnology Sciences Research Council, which is set to advance scientific discoveries and promising treatment options for many lifethreatening diseases.

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• Our Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre North West (AMRC NW) is a new £20 million applied research and development centre situated to the east of Preston, Lancashire, which was officially opened in March 2022. It will foster progress in the UK’s advanced manufacturing sectors including aerospace, digital manufacturing, clean energy technologies and additive manufacturing.

Left: GITMC. Right: Engineering Heartspace. The Centre is based on a model for academic and industry collaboration pioneered by our Advanced Manufacturing Group, which has been hugely successful in driving innovation and attracting investment into the South Yorkshire region.

Awards recognition The redeveloped Concourse that’s proven extremely popular with students, staff and public alike has won the FX Design Outside Space Award 2021, beating off stiff international competition from projects in China and the USA. The award judges described it as a “thoughtful upgrade of the public realm with an inventive atmospheric use of coloured lighting”. This award joins the ever-growing number of tributes in recognition of the hugely successful project, taking its tally to six.

The Engineering Heartspace has also added to its existing awards collection, winning both the 2021 Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Yorkshire award and the Yorkshire Client of the Year award. The judges noted, “The purpose was to make use of a redundant space between two existing buildings to inspire collaboration between the staff and students in each faculty. This has been delivered with a stunning new building which staff, students and visitors clearly enjoy and is commendable for cleverly bringing the two existing buildings back into use.”




We have just been awarded the Best Student Union of the Year at the Whatuni Student Choice Awards

Champions of change During COP26 in November, the Officer team launched Festival for the Future, a sustainability-focused week of panel events, talks and interactive workshops with sector leaders. Our SU President and Welfare and Sustainability Officer also travelled to COP26 in Glasgow along with a group of students to be part of the historic event. In the same month, our Liberation Officer and Women’s Officer organised Sheffield’s 2021 Reclaim the Night and led the empowering march through Sheffield city centre. This was

followed by our 16 days against Gendered Violence campaign. Throughout December, our Disabled Students Officer organised a series of networking events for our disabled community at the University, and our International and Community Officer launched a new Winter Wellbeing week to support students with their mental health through the colder months in the UK. In February, we shone a light on marginalised identities in an LGBT+ History Month campaign led by our LGBT+ Students Officer.

Students march through Sheffield city centre for Reclaim the Night.

Students get stuck in Our Refreshers Fair in January was attended by over 6,000 students, and over 13,000 students are participating in our clubs and societies this academic year. Student societies have also been busy fundraising and organising inspiring campaigns. The Boxing Society skipped over 100 miles in three hours to raise hundreds of pounds for a local charity. November also saw the return of Baby Bummit – our first inperson ‘Bummit’ for two years! The sell-out charity event saw over 150 students safely hitchhike their way to Edinburgh, raising over £10,000 for good causes. Following a turbulent time during the pandemic, it’s great to see our SU building buzzing with student activity once again. We’ve built back and are ready for the future, with a newly restructured Officer team and even more capacity to give students in Sheffield the best possible university experience.

Sheffield Students’ Union gets its buzz back In 2021, our Officer team grew to 13 student representatives for the first time. As well as seven full-time Officers, our Students’ Union (SU) also now has six part-time Officers who each represent a group of students at the University: postgraduate, mature, women, LGBT+, BAME and disabled students. The expansion of our Officer team, along with the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, has meant this year has been packed with

new and uplifting campaigns, programmes and events. In September, we greeted over 15,000 students at our Welcome Week and saw the return of our building as a hub for students to make new in-person connections. Almost 3,000 students took part in our first series of Give It A Go events, which are an opportunity to try something new through one of our clubs and societies. We recruited around 1,000 students as Academic Representatives in departments

across the University, and our Student Advice Centre helped over 1,500 students adjust to University life in the first few weeks of term alone. In October, we celebrated Black History Month with a carnival organised by our Liberation Officer and BAME Students Officer. The event took over the whole SU building with food vendors, cultural performances, live music, and market stalls from local, Black-owned businesses. 2022/2023 | YOUR UNIVERSITY 11


Flagship Research Institutes Flagship Research Institutes: The key issues facing humanity are embedded within complex systems that cross the boundaries of academic disciplines. Our four research flagships, the Energy Institute, the Healthy Lifespan Institute, the Neuroscience Institute and the Institute for Sustainable Food, each focus on an era-defining challenge to change the world for the better. Find out more:


Uncovering the link between heart disease and dementia The pioneering research that discovers how one disease is causing another.


he Healthy Lifespan Institute is investigating how age-related health conditions are connected and group together. Many diseases share the same root cause, so discovering the cause of multiple diseases, and how to treat it, can delay and prevent the onset of multimorbidity. New pioneering research by Dr Osman Shabir, a member of the Healthy Lifespan Institute and the Neuroscience Institute, has demonstrated that heart disease can directly cause brain dysfunction which can lead to dementia, and treble a key Alzheimer’s protein, much earlier than previously thought. The research has found that heart disease causes the breakdown of a key brain function which links brain activity and blood flow, meaning the brain gets less blood for the same amount of activity.

Pioneering research by Dr Osman Shabir has demonstrated that heart disease can directly cause brain dysfunction which can lead to dementia.

This is happening in heart disease patients before the build-up of fat in the brain’s blood vessels (atherosclerosis) and is a prelude to dementia. Until now it’s been unclear how some forms of vascular dementia can happen years before atherosclerosis in the brain. The researchers also discovered that the combination of heart disease and a genetic predisposition for Alzheimer’s disease trebles the amount of betaamyloid, a protein that builds up and triggers Alzheimer’s, and increases the levels of an inflammatory gene in the brain. With this knowledge we can find ways to intervene much earlier in a heart disease patient’s life to try to prevent the onset of dementia. Dr Osman Shabir’s work contributes to both the Healthy Lifespan Institute and the Neuroscience Institute.

The build-up of fat in the brain’s blood vessels (atherosclerosis) is a prelude to dementia.

Until now it’s been unclear how some forms of vascular dementia can happen years before atherosclerosis in the brain.”

Read more about this vital research at: 2022/2023 | YOUR UNIVERSITY 13



Major new sustainable fuels centre announced


he Energy Institute is building a new Sustainable Aviation Fuels Innovation Centre (SAF-IC) to test, validate and certify new sustainable aviation fuels. The first of its kind in the UK, the centre will lead research, innovation and commercial testing of sustainable aviation fuels. The centre will be part of the University’s Energy Institute. It is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the University of Sheffield and is located at the University’s Innovation District. Work has already begun on the centre, which is expected to be fully operational by July 2022. SAF-IC will be the first centre in the UK to be able to capture CO2, produce green hydrogen, convert them into sustainable aviation fuels and analyse their performance in a single location. The facility will work in combination with the Translational Energy Research Centre, also part of the University of Sheffield, to support research and

provide testing capabilities to help make sustainable aviation fuels ready for commercial use. Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Director of the University of Sheffield’s Energy Institute, said, “We are extremely excited to be establishing this state-of-the-art innovation centre in the heart of the University’s Innovation District. SAF-IC will help the UK to determine the best pathways to net-zero aviation and play a crucial role


New AI model helps discover causes of motor neurone disease


esearch from the Neuroscience Institute is working to better understand the nervous system and find treatments that improve the lives of patients and their families. In partnership with the Stanford University School of Medicine, Dr Johnathan Cooper-Knock from the Neuroscience Institute developed a new machine learning tool for the discovery of genetic risk factors for diseases such as motor neurone disease (MND).

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MND, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), affects approximately 5,000 people in the UK and 450,000 worldwide – with numbers on the rise. There is currently no cure for this devastating neurodegenerative condition. Using machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence, the research team has made a significant breakthrough in discovering genes which put someone at risk of MND.

The centre will be the first of its kind to research fuels which are made without any fossil fuels in the process.”


Ensuring the inclusion of farmers in the design of new agri-environmental policies

nationally and internationally in delivering truly sustainable flight. “One of the most unique and critical aspects of SAF-IC is that the centre will be the first of its kind to research fuels which are made without any fossil fuels in the process, including improving understanding of how we can use bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) to make a negative emissions fuel.” Currently, the UK aviation industry is responsible for around 7% of the country’s total carbon emissions. SAFIC’s anticipated research will help the nation towards the target set by the Department for Transport: to reach netzero carbon emissions from aviation by 2050. Making sustainable aviation fuels a viable commercial option could reduce UK emissions by 32%. To learn more about the Sustainable Aviation Fuels Innovation Centre, visit:


heffield’s Institute for Sustainable Food has highlighted the need for skilled intermediaries to support farmers through the postBrexit agricultural transition and mitigate the impact of COVID-19. Our researchers have outlined a series of recommendations for how policymakers can improve methods of engagement so that a wide range of farmers can be included in the design of the new post-Brexit Environmental Land Management schemes, using different engagement strategies to work with individuals who may be harder to reach. These include improving rural broadband, working with trusted people, ensuring that engagement benefits farmers, and making sure forms of engagement like written

consultations are accessible to those with disabilities and limited free time. The research, conducted in partnership with the University of Reading, found there are multiple reasons why farmers might be reluctant to engage with policymakers, including negative past experiences, a lack of interest, age and bad internet access. Researchers found farmers are more likely to support and implement new policies on their farms if policymakers include a wider range of farmers in the design of new environmental policies, concluding that this will help deliver benefits to the environment. Dr Ruth Little, Lecturer in Human Geography

The research has already seen a dramatic increase in the number of known risk genes for MND, from approximately 15 to 690. Each new risk gene discovered is a potential target for the development of new treatments for MND and could also pave the way for genetic testing for families to work out their risk of disease. Dr Johnathan Cooper-Knock, NIHR Clinical Lecturer Find out more about this life-changing research at:

Learn more about the research:

2022/2023 | YOUR UNIVERSITY 15

Rewriting the future of genetic disease Although individually uncommon, together rare genetic diseases affect up to 300 million people worldwide. For so long, genetic diseases have been incurable. But gene therapy treatments pioneered by the University of Sheffield could tell a new story.


ach year, 1 in 25 babies are born with a rare disease that’s been passed down through their genes. And it’s not just rare conditions that are affected by our genetics. Some types of cancer, dementia, age-related hearing loss, kidney and bone diseases also have genetic risk factors. Yet current treatments often only manage the symptoms. Sheffield’s scientists are discovering new ways to repair faulty genes and stop disease with gene therapy. “Gene therapies are pioneering medical advances. They have the potential to offer much-needed treatments for many rare and incurable diseases that cannot be treated by conventional drug compounds. I’m very proud that Sheffield is one of the leading players in gene therapy in the world,” says Professor Mimoun Azzouz, Chair of Translational Neuroscience and Director of the GTIMC, University of Sheffield.

What is gene therapy?

Genetic disease research at the University of Sheffield aims to understand the mechanisms of disease by discovering which genes are causing the illness and how. Gene therapy is the next step. It’s a promising treatment that targets diseases that are caused by inherited faulty genes. The University of Sheffield is developing gene therapy treatments using adeno-associated viral vectors. Special viruses are cultivated and stripped of any harmful properties. 16 YOUR UNIVERSITY | 2022/2023

The University’s GTIMC will build a new manufacturing heritage in Sheffield. It’s estimated that by 2027 the GTIMC will create 125 highly skilled jobs and will add £28 million to the local economy.

Gene therapy is lifesaving, it’s revolutionary! It’s changed our lives. It’s given my son mobility that he’d lost. The possibilities are unknown but exciting. Knowing that Sebastian will not deteriorate and regress brings us such peace – in our hearts and minds. It’s monumental. You never know who will be impacted by a rare disease. It affects all those connected to Sebastian and me. When you donate, you’re helping to fund research into life-changing, disease-altering medicine. You’re not only helping the individual with the rare disease, you’re changing the life of an entire network of people whose lives will be forever changed by a diagnosis. It’s so much more than just a donation. I’m incredibly proud that my University is leading this field of research – I may have left the University of Sheffield but it never left me.” Dharmisha Stezaly BA Accounting and Financial Management (Class of 2012) and mother to Sebastian who received gene therapy for SMA type 1.

Scientists can then engineer therapeutic genes and introduce them into the virus. The viral vectors are used as carriers to deliver the therapeutic genes into a patient’s cells. As it’s a type of virus, the treatment spreads quickly throughout the body but the virus does not replicate or cause any damage. This type of gene therapy can repair or switch off a problematic gene or introduce a missing gene into a patient’s cells, helping to delay, stop or even reverse the effects of a disease.

Bringing hope to families with genetic diseases Professor Mimoun Azzouz has already shown that gene therapy can work, by making several discoveries in this discipline. Babies with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type 1 are now recovering from this childhood form of MND, after just one dose of the gene therapy drug Zolgensma©. It’s administered by drip and only takes one hour. And it’s safe for babies as young as two weeks old. Now, the Sheffield community is coming together to help even more people with genetic diseases. Hundreds of alumni, staff and friends of Sheffield have been donating and taking on fundraising challenges. Together they’re helping to fund crucial equipment that will accelerate research towards clinical trials.

Why Sheffield is uniquely placed to lead the gene therapy revolution ›› Research programmes that unravel the mysteries of disease – from neurological conditions like MND to age-related hearing loss.

›› A recognised global player in gene therapy – we’re leading a prestigious consortium of European universities and major pharmaceutical companies.

›› Experts in clinical trials and translational medicine, the University of Sheffield is experienced at taking science from the lab and turning it into real treatments.

›› Selected as one of only three gene therapy hubs in the UK, the new Gene Therapy Innovation and Manufacturing Centre (GTIMC) will expand research capacity and manufacture treatments at scale.

Will you help Sheffield find treatments for people with life-limiting conditions? For families coping with devastating genetic disorders, your support will bring hope and comfort. And you’ll help put your University at the heart of a treatment revolution. Call today: 0114 222 1071 Complete and return the form enclosed with your magazine.

Scan the QR code with your smartphone


2022/2023 | YOUR UNIVERSITY 17

IN THE CITY AND REGION Made Together: A healthier, greener, more vibrant and innovative region


he difficulties of the last year for South Yorkshire are well documented, and economic indicators show that the gross value added (GVA) of the region has decreased more than the national average. Despite this hardship, the University of Sheffield – working with partners throughout Sheffield, Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham – has created some brilliant opportunities and benefits for future growth and societal impact to lead us through the region’s recovery. Over the past few years, we have talked to people across the whole region about what we can do to make things better, and whether activities can be joined together. Through our Made Together 18 YOUR UNIVERSITY | 2022/2023

programme, which we started in 2021 with the great news of the Future High Street funding for Sheffield, we have demonstrated what can be achieved through resilience and determination, no matter the obstacles.

What is Made Together?

The Made Together programme is a major University of Sheffield regeneration initiative with a dedicated team – Partnerships and Regional Engagement – and a clear brief to do four things: support our region to be healthier, greener, more vibrant and innovative. But beyond the straplines and titles, what we are trying to do is make a bigger difference to the communities

we partner with and work with them to adapt to their needs. By doing things differently and stepping out of our comfort zones, together we can provide a ‘joined-up’ response to community needs and societal issues, not only in the South Yorkshire region but beyond. There are already hundreds of people across the University who are involved in Made Together projects and they’re working with hundreds of partners – from local authorities to charities, community groups, cultural organisations as well as private businesses. All with the aim of – in one way or another – improving life in the region. In Sheffield City Centre, we’ve joined forces with the City Council and the

Castlegate Partnership to breathe new life into the city’s oldest quarter. By 2024, city centre visitors will also see the fruits of the £15.8 million Future High Streets funding we helped Sheffield City Council to secure to reinvent spaces hit hard by the decline in high street spending. In April 2021, we were proud to announce a major partnership with partners in Doncaster, setting out a joint ambition to create jobs, training opportunities and innovation facilities for local businesses around the Gateway East project.

skilled jobs and supporting the local supply chain. We’ve been thinking deeply about how we can work with our regional partners to understand how we all need to change the way that we live and work to become more sustainable. Both of these projects are key elements to a low carbon future – and will help us all to understand new energy sources or new ways of achieving low carbon flight. We also recently launched the South Yorkshire Sustainability Centre, partnering with the South Yorkshire

A sustainable future

In November 2021, we were able to announce a partnership with ITM Power, who will become a major anchor tenant at our Innovation District site in Sheffield. We’ll be working with ITM to develop a National Hydrogen Research Innovation and Skills centre, creating more highly

Together we can provide a ‘joined-up’ response to community needs and societal issues, not only in the South Yorkshire region but beyond.”

L-R Chris Harcombe, Managing Director, Doncaster Sheffield Airport, Prof Dave Petley, Vice President, University of Sheffield, Neal Biddle, Peel.

Mayoral Combined Authority, the four South Yorkshire local authorities, Sheffield Hallam University, and a range of private and voluntary sector organisations. Here we will work together to connect research with regional partners on a range of projects to understand what more we can do to grow our food more sustainably, plan our transport systems, and understand how to most effectively insulate and heat our homes. There is a lot to think about there, and it’s something that we’ll be working on together for years to come.

Celebrating culture

Our cultural industries are a key part of what makes South Yorkshire a great place to live, work and study. Through ‘Together in the Square’ and ‘Summer in the Outdoor City’, we partnered with Sheffield Theatres, The Leadmill, Yellow Bus Events and other creative partners to bring animation back to Sheffield city centre. From delivering the 30thanniversary edition of Off the Shelf to supporting the emotional journey of Little Amal (below) to our city, artists, performers, musicians and actors performed in Tudor Square, the Peace Gardens and throughout the city centre. These are some of our highlights. Throughout 2022, this transformation is continuing with exciting developments such as the Sheffield Gene Therapy Innovation and Manufacturing Centre. The future landscape of our region will start to change, and by listening to our partners and the people who are proud to call it home, the Made Together programme really is creating a brighter future for the region.

To discover more about the Made Together programme, read the brochure at:

2022/2023 | YOUR UNIVERSITY 19



George Ergatoudis studied Architecture at the University of Sheffield and went on to become one of the most influential figures in the music industry. Since graduating in 1986, he has worked for the likes of BBC Radio 1 and Spotify, most recently joining Apple as Head of Music for the UK and Ireland.

We catch up with George as he reflects on his time in Sheffield, being a “self-starter” and how his fascinating career path has been driven by his passion for music. When did you first start to become interested in music? I grew up on a diet of Elvis Presley and rock ’n’ roll thanks to my mum, while my dad, who was from Cyprus, played traditional Greek music. My musical education began on our school bus, as older kids played amazing music, ranging from Adam and the Ants to two-tone ska records. That’s when I really fell in love with music. My musical taste has always been pretty eclectic, but I was a huge fan of Paul Weller and The Jam in particular.

I knew absolutely nobody in the music industry so I had to be a self-starter. If you are passionate and focused, I believe there is always a way, but perseverance is key.” 20 YOUR UNIVERSITY | 2022/2023

Did your father being a Greek Cypriot immigrant influence you growing up? Our household was a real mix of cultures: Greek Cypriot traditions were ever-present, but my mum was from Wales and she was very proud of that heritage too. One day in my first year at secondary school, I brought some friends home and the next day at school one of them started putting on a heavy Greek

accent. I asked him why and he said, “Don’t you realise? I’m doing an impression of your dad!” Up to that point it was so normalised for me that I didn’t even realise my dad had an accent! How did you find your time at the University of Sheffield? I loved my time in Sheffield. It was an incredible place to be a music fan and I went to gigs and club nights all the time. There was never a shortage of acts to see. While I was more into the city’s underground music scene, I later discovered that I’d rented a room in the house in Crookes where Def Leppard’s lead singer Joe Elliott grew up! The Leadmill remains one of my favourite venues in the UK. But I also love Jive Turkey and the scene run by DJs Parrot and Winston. I enjoyed many nights of serious dancing! I chose to study Architecture because I wanted a subject that straddled the arts and sciences and I thought it was a perfect middle ground. While I was studying, I launched a fanzine, Babel, with a friend of mine. This enabled us to express our passion for music and get into gigs for free. I gradually realised my career had to be in or around music.

After University, you started Signs magazine. What made you decide to do this and did this help you in your future career? I was originally going to start my own magazine, but I was introduced to two other graduates who were developing a Time Out-style magazine for Sheffield, so we joined forces. We put together a small cooperative company, built a team and raised a fair bit of finance. Ultimately, we liquidated the company and learnt from our mistakes. Did you find it difficult trying to get into the music industry? I knew absolutely nobody in the music industry so I had to be a self-starter. If you are passionate and focused, I believe there is always a way, but perseverance is key. You have to do as much as you can to make yourself stand out. I was about to give up on my

Sheffield was an incredible place to be a music fan and I went to gigs and club nights all the time. There was never a shortage of acts to see.” dream of working in music when I finally managed to land the Trainee Producer job at BBC Radio 1 that changed my life. You have been known to champion some major artists like Adele, The 1975 and Mumford and Sons. Did you ever meet these artists? Oh yes – of course! I once had to sneak Adele into BBC Radio 1 for a top-secret,

one-to-one meeting to discuss plans around her album. I managed it in the daytime with no one realising. I won’t tell you how! For me, a good artist is a combination of creative ideas, a distinctive voice or instrumental style, great songwriting and a strong artistic vision. What would you say to young people who want to get into the music industry or change career paths after University? Go for it! Be prepared to work hard and do everything you can to demonstrate your passion. Think about your unique selling points and how to build on them. Your journey won’t always be easy, so be prepared for setbacks and be ready to adapt. Most successful people get to their destination through perseverance, tenacity and a little touch of luck. That’s certainly been my journey. 2022/2023 | YOUR UNIVERSITY 21

22 YOUR UNIVERSITY | 2022/2023

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the inequalities which exist in societies across the world. Food insecurity is no exception. Researchers from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Geography and beyond are addressing this issue across the supply chain, with the ultimate aim of transforming the way we think about food and the environment.

Our journey to food security



oderate or severe food insecurity affects more than 30% of the world population, a figure that has been on the rise for the last six years. A common misconception is that the issue exists almost solely in the Global South, but shocking data from charities like the Trussell Trust shows 700,000 UK households required the use of food banks before the pandemic. Three-quarters of those people were classed as being severely food insecure. Researchers from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Geography are taking a multidisciplinary approach to tackling the issues across each part of the supply chain. This ‘farm to fork’ approach is being led by groups like the Institute for Sustainable Food, one of the University’s four research flagships, alongside community groups both here in South Yorkshire and further afield. Professor Peter Jackson is co-director for the Institute for Sustainable Food where colleagues across departments, from ecologists and soil scientists to economists to behavioural psychologists, are working collaboratively. “Most people working on food tend to focus on one area and the Institute tries to bring all of those areas together by taking a food systems approach,” Professor Jackson explained. “If you tweak one part of the system, you can have a perverse effect on another. Even if you’re doing quite specialised

research, having the broader picture enables you to put your research into a wider context and have more purchase in terms of interventions.”

Starting at the beginning

With just under half of all food wastage coming from production, researchers are looking at ways of making farming more efficient, through trialling the use of practices like hydroponic and regenerative farming. This is an issue particularly facing less economically developed countries due to a lack of transport and storage infrastructure in some regions. But the likes of Professor Bhavani Shankar of the University’s Department of Geography are also looking at ways farming can adapt to the inevitable effects that climate change has had – and will continue to have – on the industry.

Researchers are looking at ways of making farming more efficient, through trialling the use of practices like hydroponic and regenerative farming.” 2022/2023 | YOUR UNIVERSITY 23

“It is vital that agricultural production adapts to climate change,” Professor Shankar explained. “In the past, food insecurity has not been seen as a production problem because technology and resources have ensured there is enough food. Now there’s a realisation that many of the crops and animals which were used in the food system before are vulnerable due to climate change.” Closer to home, 30 academics from both the University and other institutions are looking at ways to transform UK food systems. The H3 programme, funded by four consortia, aims to do this by making the connection between healthy soil, healthy food and healthy people. These practices have greatly developed, as Professor Jackson explains. “Previously it produced fancy herbs for high-end restaurants. But now we’re looking to see if we can grow a different range of crops that are resistant to disease, for example. It’s technologically innovative but it’s also thinking about how you make it work.” Further along the supply chain, Doctor Megan Blake’s research into food distribution has involved encouraging supermarkets and suppliers to make small changes in the manufacturing process. “Our food system is an economic one which is set up to be very efficient for moving things but it only moves products if they’re in containers and branded,” Dr Blake said. “Although individual supermarkets may use the same supplier, they own the packaging. Suppliers can only give away food with the packaging and there is scepticism from supermarkets about permitting this for various reasons, such as food hygiene.”

There’s a realisation that many of the crops and animals which were used in the food system before are vulnerable due to climate change.” Food for the community

Dr Blake also works closely with organisations like FareShare, a network of charitable food redistributors that works with 10,000 small community organisations to provide food. Her research focuses on the social value of food and the communities it can create in the UK where food insecurity rates are higher than people might expect. “I look at the ways we can support and enhance people’s resilience to food insecurity by looking at their living conditions which create the insecurity,” Dr Blake said. “For example, community cafés and shared eating are fantastic ways to connect people struggling with mental health illnesses.” The researchers agree unequivocally that the blame should not fall solely at the consumer’s door, especially in a climate where UK wage growth continues to lag behind the cost of living. “People live complex lives and many of us are doing the best we can,” Professor Blake said. “I want more emphasis placed on institutional food, more local procurement and more planning regulation that requires food to be available.”

Professor Jackson added, “You need to understand why people make the decisions they do and that’s often about complex household dynamics. Once you get an understanding of a household and their practices, you have a different approach to behaviour change.” The future landscape of food insecurity invariably depends on the global response to climate change. Professor Shankar and his colleagues are looking at ways of encouraging people to eat nutritious foods which are good for the planet as well as themselves. “The future needs to revolve around questions of equity and access,” says Professor Shankar. “The pandemic has shown the frailties of our food systems reaching the poorest people. But over time, there’s been a realisation the foods you eat for health reasons are also better for the environment. It is possible to hit both without having a trade-off.” For more information on the project, please visit: sheffield.

WHAT WILL YOUR LEGACY BE? Leaving a gift to the University in your will is an extraordinary way to celebrate your life. These are three remarkable stories that show the impact of legacy gifts, no matter the size.


Jack Timms

From those closest to Jack we have learnt that he was an avid (selftaught) golfer, had a passion for cars and was successful in everything he turned his hand to. He was also a lover of Rhodesian Ridgebacks – he and his wife Barbara owned three of them, all called Ben. Starting his working life as a bricklayer, Jack went on to become one of the founders of Pinegrove Country Club, as well as playing a role within the region’s largest taxi company, City Taxis. Jack might not have been a University of Sheffield graduate, but his donations of over £16,000 to the University have funded vital medical research by Dr Andrew Chantry into myeloma, a type of blood cancer. Jack’s gift will undoubtedly transform the lives of those living with myeloma, paving the way for future diagnostics and therapies. Read more on Jack’s story: sheffield.

Dorothy Fleming

Dorothy was only ten years old when her parents made the difficult decision to send her and her four-year-old sister Lisi from Vienna to England on one of the Kindertransport trains. The family was eventually reunited in England and Dorothy went on to have an incredible career.

She started teacher training and went on to establish Sheffield’s first Jewish kindergarten, where she was the headteacher until her retirement. In the years following, she studied psychology at the University using her classroom experience to become an expert lecturer within her field. Dorothy began volunteering to educate adults and children about the Holocaust. She gave over 400 lectures, was interviewed by researchers, authors and archivists and appeared on TV. She dedicated her life to education and believed it was the responsibility of each generation to develop themselves, understand history and to pass on the most important values to future generations. Dorothy’s legacy donation of £1,000 will have a tremendous impact on the University’s Maker{Futures} programme, continuing the passion and commitment to education she showed throughout her lifetime. Read more on Dorothy’s story: sheffield.

Sheena Waitkins

For the past two academic years, Sheffield has increased its cohort of medical students. 15 of those places were reserved for graduate entry students from under-represented backgrounds in medicine. Thanks to donations from alumni including Sheena, all 15 of these medical students have received a scholarship. Sheena left the University an incredible legacy gift of over £150,000, with a focus on graduates studying medicine as their second degree. Thanks to Sheena’s generosity, we can offer greater financial support to those who may have taken less traditional routes to study medicine and help them to become doctors in the future. Read more on Sheena’s story:

Create a legacy of your own If you are considering leaving a legacy gift to the University in your will, David Meadows, our Philanthropy Manager, can talk through your ideas in confidence and ensure your wishes are realised. Contact David: 📞 +44 (0)114 222 1073 ✉

2022/2023 | YOUR UNIVERSITY 25

STUDENT STREETS Over on our social media, followers have been loving Student Streets – our feature that takes you on a stroll down memory lane back to your days living in Sheffield. Here is a selection of our favourite photos and your best comments!

Sheffield will always be my home away from home.” SPRINGVALE ROAD

Mike Burrett I lived in that house 96–97....sorry for the state we left the kitchen in!

Susan Hunt Lived above a shop on Commonside between the Beer Engine (do people still call it that?!) and the Dram Shop (is it still there?!) 1997–99. Amazing views from the back windows, and even an Anderson shelter in the ‘garden’. Great location!


Erlina I lived a year in a house behind Been Beanies on Crookes Valley Road. A year later the landlady sold it to them so I can go and buy great whole foods in my old living room.

Al Williams Lived at 225 Crookesmoor Road from 1977 until 1979. Remember it being so cold the water froze in my goldfish tank.

26 YOUR UNIVERSITY | 2022/2023

Amber Ross I reckon that hill was responsible for keeping me trim despite my diet of pasta, baked potatoes and chocolate.

Nick Bowes I lived at 453 between 1997–99. About four down from the top. Never felt as fit as I did climbing that hill every day. There were a few occasions when it was raining when I left the Geography Department and by the time I walked home it was thick snow at the top of Crookes.


John Matthews Lived there in 74 and 75. I shared that room the first year and had it to myself in my final year. Good view of the pub and bookies.

Oriana Trejo Alvarez My house was there I loved to walk down the hill every morning, the view was fantastic.

Gillian Smith I lived at number 49 Barber Road in 1976, 77 and part of 78. I remember the number 95 bus used to pass my window and would get stuck in the snow on that part of the hill, so I was eyeball to eyeball with people on the top deck.


Gordon Paterson Stayed on Conduit 1995–96. Remember walking home through the snow after a night on the town and met a couple skiing towards us

Claire Geoghegan I remember borrowing dinner trays from Tapton Hall and using them as sledges to get down Conduit Road when it was a sheet of ice...much safer than skidding by foot from one parked car to another, using their wing mirrors to hold on to. Fun times!

Louis Vis My legs are still stiff from climbing this hill every day for two years

Linda Woodham I know this sounds incredible, but I brought my bike to Uni in my first year. We were in Tapton...The ride down to the history dept was incredible, I just pushed off and coasted. The ride back I only attempted twice, and then got my parents to take the bike back home


Tanya Boden Ha! 1985-6 I lived in the upstairs house with that garden with the hole in the fence to the gym – used to go back into our kitchen via the back fire escape.

Rhian Whitley No.17 ladies & gents, there it is! Slugs in the kitchen and ice inside the windows – but what fun was had in that house!

Claire Remember finding a coffin (empty) in the cellar of our flat – gave it to the goths upstairs

Stuart Hamer Wow. That’s where I lived in my first year. Right behind the gym. There was a hole in the fence in our back yard that we used. These pictures bring back a lot of memories. This was back in 1986–1987.

Fernando Taffoya Wow... this brought back memories... I would love to visit again sometime. Sheffield will always be my home away from home.


Tuna Veysi Visiting 39 Parkers Road in 2016 after 59 years was very exciting. Great friends were there in 1957–1961. Enjoyed every moment of the Department of Architecture. In 2020 we saw our grandchild graduating from Accounting and Financial Management. Pity we could not enjoy [on campus], but an online ceremony we participated in in Cyprus. Cheers to ALL from Parkers Rd.

Andrew Burgess Notty House had great Tetley Beer on hand pump. Also lunchtime home made chilli 30p per bowl 1979

Georgie Godby We used to go to the Notty after fencing club training. Happy memories!

It does not matter what road it is; Sheffield is always a nice place to study.” Ahmad Azizuddin 2022/2023 | YOUR UNIVERSITY 27

Getting active for a good cause It’s well known that Sheffielders class themselves as a healthy lot. With so much green space and the Peak District on our doorstep, it seems the opportunity to stretch our legs is just around every corner.

Annie Tapley PGCert Genomic Medicine 2019

Cause: Genetic Disease Research Challenge: Couch to 5K Location: Berlin What made you take this on? I hadn’t run since school and now in my late 30s, I wanted to see if I could achieve running 5km. Also genetic disease research is important to me because my work 28 YOUR UNIVERSITY | 2022/2023

Thank you!

Over the years, hundreds of Sheffield alumni and friends have run, walked and cycled remarkable distances in aid of university causes. Between you, you’ve fundraised an astonishing £1.45 million. Thank you so much!

involves diagnostic genetic testing. It’s the foundation of my professional life so I know the difference this research can make. How did you stay motivated? My friends in Sheffield, Leicester and Rome did the runs on the same days as me. We kept each other motivated. Do you have any advice for someone looking to take on a similar challenge? Find some friends to do it with, give it a go and see how far you can get. You might surprise yourself!



ur annual Big Walk returned this year and saw up to 400 walkers take on distances of up to 50km. Fundraising for genetic disease research (see page 16), these inspiring individuals have already contributed more than £40,000 towards a new research lab. And donations are still coming in. But it’s not just walkers who are helping fundraise for incredible university causes. Sheffield alumni are a community of avid runners too! We caught up with four Sheffield alumni to find out exactly what motivated them to take on such testing physical challenges.

Ivan Benemerito PhD Automatic Control and Systems Engineering 2015

Cause: Genetic Disease Research Challenge: Half Marathon Location: Sheffield What made you take this on? I’m a researcher so I know how important it is to support research in basic science. And I have two kids, and I can only imagine how difficult it would be if they had a genetic disease. Supporting this research is the right thing to do: for the kids, for the parents and for the researchers. How did your training go? I’ve run a couple of half marathons before so I knew what I was in for. But with two kids and a busy work schedule, I did struggle to find the time to get out and train! What’s your next challenge? First, to play at a piano concert in Rome at the end of June! I’m studying very hard for it. But also, I’ll be running the York marathon in October.

Sikose Mjali

Cause: Student Scholarships

Challenge: A triathlon (of sorts): a 10k run, a 20k cycle, followed by 250 repetitions of swinging a steel mace 360 degrees above his head Location: Cardiff

Did you enjoy it? I did, although my muscles were very vocal about their displeasure the next day.

Challenge: Langebaan Country Estate Weskus Half Marathon, South Africa Location: Muscat What made you take this on? I’ve done so much since graduating and I genuinely feel that I have the University to thank for that. My scholarship helped me so much that I wanted to do something that will help more students like me.

How did you train? I ate well, hydrated well and slept well. I did small runs (5–8km) two days of the week and then

Cause: Parkinson’s Disease Research

What made you take this on? I’d never swung a steel mace 250 times or done a duathlon. And I’d definitely never done it all in one go! It was a great challenge and helped me to play my part in supporting this important cause.

BA English Language and Linguistics 2011, MA Applied Linguistics 2012

What was it like on the day? I ran it in 02:36:37. I was very happy with this because it beats my personal best of never-ran-a-half-marathon-before! I was trying to do it in less time, but I was bitten hard by The Black Mamba Hill in the last few kilometres. It was a beautiful day in Langebaan and I’m so happy I did it.

David Hill English Language with Linguistics 2006

a longer run (10–16km) at the end of the week. I also dabbled in some strength training, albeit not strictly. Are you still running? Yes! Since then, I’ve run in races in the UAE, South Africa and Oman. I’m training for the Muscat Marathon which was due to take place in February 2022 but sadly got postponed due to COVID-19. Running is part of my mental health care repertoire and has come in handy during the pandemic!

What’s your best running tip? Break it down. Working through one step at a time makes it achievable. Also realise that your head makes you quit way before your feet or your shoulders do. So if you can wrangle the mind into seeing it as do-able chunks instead of one terrifying whole, then it’s generally fine. If you’ve got an idea for your own fundraising challenge, whether that’s a run or something else, we’d love to hear from you. Drop us an email at to let us know what you have in mind or visit giving/fundraise to discover opportunities.

2022/2023 | YOUR UNIVERSITY 29

This year we celebrate a decade of the Twikker Fund, the entirely studentrun investment fund providing invaluable hands-on experience for our students.




n 2012, a generous £55,000 donation from Sheffield alumnus Steve Kiln created the Twikker Fund, an endowed investment fund that aimed to provide student members of the University’s Investment Society with experience of real-world trading. Named after the University’s former Rag magazine, the Twikker Fund is the UK’s largest student managed investment fund, currently valued at approximately £200,000. Around 50 students are involved in the Fund right now, and a number of its alumni, including Steve Kiln, have remained engaged as mentors, advisors and competition judges. The Fund has raised the University’s profile as a desirable destination for students seeking opportunities in the financial sector, with many former Fund students going on to have successful careers in investment and finance.

Twikker’s recent impact This year, Twikker will fund a 100-hour internship in the Careers Department, with the student intern producing research into how the University can provide more tailored careers guidance for students interested in finance. In April 2022, four University of Sheffield students were the winners of the NorthEdge annual Private Equity Challenge. Competing with Leeds and Manchester students, they were challenged to take a real-life case study through the transaction process, from origination to the final investment pitch. The judges praised the Sheffield students’ collaboration, their consideration of risk mitigation and the clarity of their presentation.

The Fund is made up of two parts: The Long-Term Fund aims to produce income and capital gains for the long term. It includes the Yorkshire Fund, which links Twikker students to local businesses and investments close to home. The Competition Fund is split between six student teams at the start of the year. Each team is given £6,000 and competes to generate the highest income by the end of the year.

“The University is enormously grateful to Steve for creating such a fantastic initiative, which embodies our core priorities of employability and giving all students opportunities to gain work experience. It’s wonderful to see many students use their Twikker Fund experience to develop successful careers.” – Professor Mary Vincent, Vice-President for Education 30 YOUR UNIVERSITY | 2022/2023

What do Twikker alumni have to say?

“The experience and learning I gained from the Twikker Fund has been phenomenal in my career. I had several roles but discovered my passion for asset management and long-term investment. I would encourage all students who are interested in finance to get involved, no matter their background.” Baiju Shah, BSc Economics and Finance 2018 “I was a member of the Twikker Fund in its infancy. After graduation, I joined the investment management company Killik & Co as a Branch Assistant and am now coming up to my ninth year with the company. I truly believe the real-world experience I gained was a driving factor in my choice of career and one of the reasons I was able to obtain interviews with investment companies.” Tim Hodgson, BSc Financial Mathematics 2013 “I joined the Twikker Fund in 2017. I won the competition in my first year and was appointed Chair in my final year. I am now working in mergers and acquisitions for Houlihan Lokey. The experience allowed me to demonstrate my interest in finance and to work with like-minded students, many of whom I am still in contact with.” Will Street, BA History and Politics 2019 Read all about the University of Sheffield’s Investment Society and the Twikker Fund at:

Reflections on a remarkable career Ahead of her retirement, Sheffield Students’ Union’s Chief Executive Jaki Booth reflects on her career, her passion for Students’ Unions and what the organisations can offer to society.


rom my days as a student to my upcoming retirement I’ve invested significant time and energy into Students’ Unions (SUs). As a new student at the University of Birmingham in the 1980s, I was instantly inspired and made it my mission to be part of the SU. On day two, I walked into the Ents Office and was appointed Assistant Treasurer – I was starting a commerce degree and that seemed to give me enough expertise! I graduated with a stack of SU experience, including being a Sabbatical (SU) Officer.

This experience confirmed my desire to continue to work in positions of leadership. After graduating, I became the first full-time employee at the SU of what is now Derby University. I was elected to the committee of the national professional body for SU staff, for which I eventually became chair. I had fantastic support from colleagues who kept an eye on opportunities for me, leading to my move to Aston and then Staffordshire Universities as the equivalent of Chief Executive. Universities, students and their unions have changed immensely over the course of my career. When I joined my SU in 1982, students ran everything, including booking artists for gigs and providing welfare advice to each other. We had no professional advice or staff, student activities didn’t exist (though societies did!), our bars were functional and our drinks were cheap. Marketing involved us knocking out flyers and sticking them around campus. There were no strategies or big budgets to worry about either.

The new SU The generation ahead of me changed that through creative innovations like introducing advice centres, student activities and national organisations. Seeing this transformation inspired me to keep reinventing. I have encouraged ambition at Sheffield SU, through our far-reaching ‘Ours for Life’ strategy, which guides us to think about the world we are creating for our students.

“Sheffield Students’ Union is an organisation that lives and breathes its values.” I’ve never been a chief executive who simply kept the ship afloat. A mix of impatience and being easily bored has always meant that I’ve given my all to an organisation, which has been made possible by the support of my family and friends. On reflection, I’ve realised that this is probably why SUs have been a great fit for me. SUs are melting pots of ideas with a dedication to democracy and progressive action. I’ve watched society change through the acts of students. Over the past eight years at Sheffield, I’ve witnessed over 60 Officers take the helm and give their all to enact positive change. They commit themselves to fairness and strive to ensure every single student feels they have a voice. Sheffield Students’ Union is an organisation that lives and breathes its values. This gives me confidence that it will continue to be powered by students, be a source of inspiration to the wider world, and be a space which keeps creating relevant positive change for society. It’s been a privilege to be Chief Executive at the Number 1 Students’ Union in the country, and I cannot wait to see what our SU continues to achieve in the future.

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DR KAVITA KARNIK MSc Human Nutrition 2001, PhD 2004 Global Head of Nutrition, Regulatory and Scientific Affairs, Tate & Lyle, London

I first discovered my passion for nutrition while I was studying medicine in India. I realised that the medical profession knows very little about nutrition and food and the role it plays in patient outcomes. I did a diploma in nutrition within my studies and absolutely loved it. Following graduation, I was looking for opportunities to continue my career in that direction. The course at Sheffield appealed to me because it would allow me to keep my career options open. The University shared lots of helpful information with me; they never tired of my questions and they understood my needs. That experience made the choice easy! When I left for Sheffield, it was my first time leaving India and my first time on a plane. Everyone I met was immensely welcoming and friendly. I remember during the first Christmas holidays, I couldn’t afford to go home and the Departmental Secretary was kind enough to invite me to a Christmas Eve meal at her home. Of course, there were challenges – understanding the accent was one! 32 YOUR UNIVERSITY | 2022/2023

But I loved the city and I made lifelong friends there, many of whom I have since visited in their own home countries. I planned to complete my master’s and then go home to India. That never happened – I stayed on at Sheffield to do my PhD and 23 years later, I’m still in the UK! Academically, the support I got from the University was fabulous. My supervisor, Professor Richard Eastell, gave me intellectual freedom and pushed me to be my best. He encouraged me to speak at international conferences, always reminding me that I knew my subject better than anyone else in the room, which gave me a huge amount of confidence. I keep that in mind even now whenever I give high-profile presentations. The soft skills I gained during my time in Sheffield have been the foundation of my career ever since. I now lead nutrition and regulatory affairs at Tate & Lyle. Many people will recognise the name from the sugar brand, but we actually sold the sugar business over a decade ago and are now a food ingredients company that

supports healthy living through the science of food. I head up the nutrition department, which conducts human research and health claims research, as well as being responsible for the regulatory affairs team, which is essential to the running of our business. I also lead the Nutrition Centre, a digital platform that showcases our science through infographics, blogs, podcasts and more. Our aim is to educate not just on our ingredients but on overall issues in nutrition. It’s a very varied job and no two days are the same. One of the most fulfilling aspects is seeing our ingredients in products on the shelf in the supermarket, and knowing that I have helped produce healthier, tastier food that supports better public health. I’ve also had the opportunity to hire and mentor early career stage nutrition scientists, which is immensely rewarding.


Dr Kavita Karnik had never left her home country of India before making the move to Sheffield to pursue her studies in nutrition. She has gone on to have a remarkable career in food science and nutrition, previously holding global roles in Unilever, Pfizer and Nestlé as well as academic research positions in the UK and India. Now the Global Head of Nutrition, Regulatory and Scientific Affairs for Tate & Lyle, Kavita is playing a vital role in the development of healthier, tastier ingredients and contributing to better public health.

RICHARD LEAFE BSc Geography 1987, MPhil Geography 1990, Hon LittD 2016 Chief Executive of the Lake District National Park I was always interested in geomorphology and how the landscape came to be the shape that it is. I studied that topic during my degree, which led to my MPhil focusing on coastal geomorphology whilst I stayed on in the University’s Department of Geography as a Research Assistant. I spent 15 years with English Nature, progressing through to the role of Regional Director for the East Midlands. I always thought running a National Park in this country would be a really interesting job; in fact, I was quite jealous when one of my friends from Natural England got a job as Chief Executive of the Peak District! The role with the Lake District came up and I’ve been here ever since. It’s been a fantastic journey of leadership, discovery and lots of challenges along the way. I oversee the National Park Authority, and it’s their job, on behalf of the government, to look after the National Park. I also keep an eye on our external relationships with people within and beyond the Park. Everybody has a view on what the National Park is for and how it’s managed and that is how it should be – because it’s

Working in the Lake District seems a perfect fit for Richard. It was there, whilst on an A-level Geography field trip, that he discovered a passion for working in the great outdoors. Richard further explored this interest during his University days, when he was also introduced to the concept of climate change. Now, as Chief Executive of one of the UK’s most picturesque national parks, Richard deals with the consequences of our changing environment on a daily basis.

their National Park. Working with our members, I help to decide which way we want to go in the future. I remember we had a talk at University from the Director-General of the Met Office at the time, Sir John Houghton, who warned that we were facing global climate change as a result of greenhouse gas emissions. Just about everything I do these days is connected to the

consequences of our changing climate. It is important that we not only do our bit to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions but also adapt the Park to make it more resilient. We don’t do enough to educate kids on climate change outside of the classroom. Our collective ambition is that every child in this country will spend at least one night under the stars in a National Park, whether they are studying geography or not. Then we can start to talk to young people about how the climate is changing and what they can do in their own lives to work on that. During the pandemic, we’ve seen a lot more people visiting our National Parks because they haven’t been able to go abroad. It’s wonderful to see people rediscovering what we have on our doorstep and how beautiful it is. I’ve been blown away over the past two years at how many young people I’ve seen out exploring.

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HUEN-POH LAI BEng Civil and Structural Engineering 1978 CEO Surbana Jurong Architecture, Surbana Jurong Consultants Pte Ltd Despite hailing from an island famed for its stunning city landscapes littered with skyscrapers, Huen-Poh Lai is regarded as one of the University of Sheffield’s most distinguished engineers in Singapore. In a career that has spanned four decades, he has played a key role in establishing the area as one of the world’s leading sites for design, architecture and engineering.

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I wanted to get away as far from London as possible and the charm of Sheffield appealed to me. I had some friends, scholars with the Singapore Air Force, who were studying engineering at the University; there was some comfort in the idea that if the Singaporean government sent its best to Sheffield, it couldn’t be a bad bet for me. When I came to Sheffield it was my first trip abroad, so it took a while to get used to. I had a mechanical engineering tutor who was Scottish, and it was difficult for me to understand his accent but overall, I enjoyed meeting people, exploring the place and the course. Absolutely everything I’m doing now came from things that I learnt in Sheffield. We learnt about mechanical and electrical engineering, but we also learnt about the essence of structural engineering and public health. There was a scheme where we were visited by practising engineers who showed us their work, which gave us real-life exposure to things we had learnt about. I stayed in the UK for three years after my degree so I could become registered with the Institute of Civil Engineers. I worked for Balfour and I still remember going crawling down into Bentley Colliery

in Doncaster to help to investigate subsidence caused by coal mining. Learning how to document these risks and the impact they have was very valuable. In Singapore, we design to the Euro code, formerly the British code, so in terms of the approach to aspects like design and risk considerations, there’s not much difference. But here in Singapore, the government is quite involved in ensuring designs are fit for purpose and they go through all the designs too. They also set out the planning guidelines and control what you build but it’s people like us – the creative ones – who provide design solutions. We serve clients and developers who are driven by efficiency, and our job is to maximise the potential revenue from a piece of land. The main thing which has impacted the field and our lives is digitisation; not so much in the value of the work but the speed of it. We couldn’t do it without the fast machines we have now and the ability to see things ahead of time by using things like threedimensional virtual models. I remember in Sheffield we were still using computer punch cards; now we have machines that can do almost anything. I remember the Arts Tower in Sheffield so well – some of my best friends worked on the top floor and used to take the paternoster lift. It’s a lovely building to sit on the most exposed part of a hill. I’ve experienced those winds and they really can blow you over! I am thankful and owe much of my strong foundational knowledge to my alma mater and to all the friends and lecturers I hold dear to my heart. They have all featured in so many facets of my life.

TOLU OSINUBI LLB Law 2012, PG Dip Legal Practice 2013 Senior Manager at Deloitte and Intersectionality Lead for Globe UK, OUTstanding future leaders list 2020 & 2021, DIVA Magazine Diversity Champion of the Year 2021. Shortlist for Top 10 Diversity Hero category for British LGBT Awards 2022 and Inspirational Role Model of the Year, DIVA Awards 2022. Alongside her responsibilities as a Senior Manager for Deloitte in Quality and Test Engineering practice, Tolu Osinubi is passionate about sharing her experiences as a Black, LGBTQ+ woman and advocating for intersectionality in the technology industry. Black women make up just 1% of the UK and US technology industry workforce, and Tolu is determined to continue to promote inclusion within the workplace.

I started off studying Biomedical Sciences but I wasn’t enjoying it much, so I decided to switch to Law. I made some great friends on both courses and during my time with the women’s rugby team, but Law aligned better with where I thought I wanted to go in my career. After finishing my undergraduate and Legal Practice course, I started to have some doubts about a career in law longer term. At the time, back in 2012, the technology industry looked like it was going to grow significantly, which I found quite exciting. I started my first graduate job in 2013 for a software testing consultancy based in Leeds. I decided to stay in the North because I had such a good time living in Sheffield. It was a great opportunity for me to learn something completely new – not just the technology and software testing but the consultancy aspect. Skills I learnt from my degree like analysis, critical thinking and presenting

helped to make public speaking a lot less nerve-wracking. I was looking to relocate to London and I’d heard a lot about how Deloitte centres its people and focuses on diversity and inclusion. I was drawn to that and thought it sounded like the sort of company I’d like to work for. Over the past five years, I’ve worked my way up to be a Senior Manager where I am focused on clients in the consumer space. I spend a lot of time on large-scale and complex deliveries where we help clients, particularly in the retail industry. When you start with a new client it’s a bit like starting a new job. I’ve done two-year projects, two-week projects and everything in between. It means meeting new people, getting up to speed with new technologies and trying to understand the best way to support clients. I find that exciting as well as challenging because you never know where you’re going to land. I know just from looking around the room that I am very under-represented

within my industry. As part of our diversity network, we have practical initiatives to support people. For example, after the murder of George Floyd, we held listening sessions for Black colleagues to talk about their experiences inside and outside of the firm. We also have a Black Action Plan and part of this is our reverse mentoring programme where Black colleagues mentor senior partners and build a relationship with senior leadership in our business. My key saying is ‘Your perceived weaknesses are actually your greatest strengths’. Stories have so much power and one of the biggest realisations for me is that the aspects of my identity which have caused struggle are now my strengths.

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Dates for your diary 2021 saw the continued delivery of a virtual events programme, with a welcome return to face-to-face events in October for the Heritage Circle Lunch. Read on for some highlights of the past year’s activities and a schedule of upcoming events and volunteering opportunities to note on the calendar.

HIGHLIGHTS Heritage Circle Lunch 2021

Over 150 alumni and friends joined us either in person or virtually for the Heritage Circle Lunch on Friday 29 October, an event aimed at those who are interested in leaving, or have left, a gift to the University in their will. Guests enjoyed a sit-down lunch in Firth Hall and heard from leading Sheffield academics on topics ranging from gene therapy advancements to the University’s Maker{Futures} project and how linguistics can help tackle plastic pollution.

Volunteering Activities

This year our alumni volunteers have given their time on more programmes and events than ever before. It was great to see the return of our flagship events London City Connections and Northern City Connections in-person again for the first time since 2019. Engineering alumni from around the globe provided advice and insight online for the Engineering You’re Hired and Global Engineering Challenge project weeks, and we also saw the launch of the new online networking programme, Coach Cafe, which connected over 360 students to 130 alumni from around the world. As of June 2022, 1000 alumni have volunteered their time to support over 6000 students.

Virtual Reunion 2021

Our annual reunion event moved online for 2021, giving the anniversary class years of 2001, 1996, 1991, 1981, 1971, 1961 and 1956 a range of interactive content to mark their graduation anniversary milestones. Alumni generously shared a plethora of nostalgic memories with us, resulting in a great collection of stories, photos and anecdotes that featured on the Virtual Reunion pages. They took part in virtual campus tours and attended live bite-sized lectures and class year activities. Although it could not replace the experience of meeting up in person, alumni from across the globe joined the event, enjoying the chance to reconnect with classmates in an alternative way. 36 YOUR UNIVERSITY | 2022/2023


Coach Cafe 2022

THROUGHOUT THE YEAR – Online Coach Cafe is a programme of online networking events for Sheffield alumni and students. There are six events throughout the year: one for each faculty and an additional event for the School of Law. If you’d like to share your career path and sector insights with students, find out more and sign up here:

Northern City Connections NOVEMBER 2022 – In Person

Are you an Arts and Humanities graduate working in Sheffield or the wider North? If so, you can be part of the next Northern City Connections programme where you’ll advise and inspire Arts and Humanities students who are interested in working in the North.

Global Engineering Challenge and Engineering You’re Hired JANUARY AND FEBRUARY 2023 – In Person Calling Engineering graduates – take part in our flagship project weeks and support the engineers of tomorrow to tackle real-life engineering problems.

London City Connections MARCH 2023 – In Person

Are you a Social Sciences graduate now based in London? We need you to network with current students and give them advice on building a career in the capital, as well as helping them to seize the opportunities available to them as Sheffield graduates. For updates on volunteering opportunities, visit: alumni/volunteer/opportunities

UPCOMING EVENTS Our Alumni Events Team are busy putting together a programme of events for you over the coming months. Add these dates to your calendar now and stay up to date by following us on social media and online at

Bright Minds

THROUGHOUT THE YEAR – Online Bright Minds is a series of virtual events that bring you cutting-edge new research from some of Sheffield’s most talented PhD students. Previous topics have covered neuroscience, global warming, healthy ageing and more. Join us online for these free TED-style talks throughout the year. Visit:

Alumni Reunion 2022

SATURDAY 10 SEPTEMBER 2022 – On Campus Are you celebrating 20, 25, 30 or 40 years since graduating this year? If so, you’ll be invited to join us back on campus for the return of our annual reunion event. Created especially for the classes of 2002, 1997, 1992 and 1982, the day will include a host of activities, from campus tours to mini-lectures, as well as a buffet lunch and celebratory reunion dinner. Keep an eye out on our social media and reunion web page for more details:

Heritage Circle Lunch FRIDAY 4 NOVEMBER 2022 – Firth Hall

Alumni and friends who are interested in leaving, or have left, a gift to the University in their will are invited to this special event. For more information, contact: or call 0114 222 1073.

Anniversary Reunion Lunch for the Classes of 1958 and 1963 TUESDAY 10 MAY 2023 – Firth Hall

A special event for alumni celebrating 65 and 60 years since graduating from the University. Invitations will be sent out via email in early 2023 to all those from these class years with an up-to-date email address.

Anniversary Reunion Lunch for the Class of 1973 THURSDAY 22 JUNE 2023 – Firth Hall

A celebratory lunch in Firth Hall, to mark the 50th anniversary of alumni graduating from the University. Invitations will be emailed out in the spring to all those from the Class of 1973 with an up-to-date email address. For the latest updates on events, visit:

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Notes and news, awards and honours 38 YOUR UNIVERSITY | 2022/2023

We are always delighted to discover what our alumni are doing now, and their achievements that have been recognised.


Dr Ann Cairns (BSc Mathematics 1978, Hon LittD 2018) Honoured at the British America Business, Transatlantic Business Awards for Global Impact: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Professor Richard Horne (BSc Physics 1977) was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in recognition of his research into space weather – changes in the near-Earth space environment that disrupt modern technology and endanger human health. Tan Sri Kunasingam Sittampalam (BEng Civil and Structural Engineering 1977, MEng Civil and Structural Engineering 1980) was elected as an International Fellow to the Royal Academy of Engineering, the first and only Malaysian professional engineer to be elected since the Academy was established in 1976.

Andy Groarke (BA Architecture 1993, MA Architectural Studies 1997) was shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling prize for his work on the design for the new Windermere Jetty Museum. Dr Jala Makhzoumi (PhD Landscape 1996) was awarded the prestigious Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award from the International Federation of Landscape Architects. William Matthews (BA Architectural Studies 1990, Dip Architectural Studies 1993) was shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling prize for his work on the design for the new Tintagel Bridge. Nick Murray (BSc Zoology 1990) won his second Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Reality Program, for the episode ‘Gettin’ Lucky’ on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Tony Rhoades (BEng Mechanical Engineering 1995, MPhil Mechanical Engineering 2004) together with his team at GroundWOW won the Stadium Business Innovation Award 2021 with the world’s first AI-based full-colour autonomous stadium ground printer. Professor Sudipta Seal (MMet Metallurgy 1992) was invited to deliver the Alpha Sigma Mu award lecture at ASM International’s annual meeting. The lectureship recognises outstanding professional achievements in material sciences. Dan Walker (BA History 1998, MA Journalism Studies 1999, Hon LittD 2019) made it to the quarter finals of Strictly


Dr Lisa Burger, CBE (BMus Music 1983, Hon LittD 2019) was honoured with the Special Recognition Olivier Award for her role in expanding the theatre’s reach and playing a key role in the industry’s postpandemic recovery, through programmes such as National Theatre at Home. Jennie Vickers (BA Law 1982) was named Global Security Influencer of the Year 2021 by IFSEC Global.



Your notes and news


Dan Walker


Dr Andrew Garrard (MEng Mechanical Engineering 2002, PhD Mechanical Engineering 2007) has been awarded the Principal Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, recognising his devotion to leading an award-winning massively open online course (MOOC) that makes engineering easily accessible. Dr Oli Johnson (BA English & Russian 2002, PhD Russian 2008, MEd Teaching and Learning in Higher Education 2014) won the Ultra Tour Monte Rosa marathon, a 106-mile ultra-trail race that takes runners around the second highest mountain in the Alps.

Alumni Awards in Social Impact for her work in social housing provision around the world.


Championships, following her Bronze medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. She also won Gold for both individual and synchronised at the Trampoline European Championships 2022.

Professor Parveen Ali (PG Cert 2010 and PhD Health and Related Research 2012) was appointed editor-in-chief of the International Council of Nurses’ journal, International Nursing Review.


Come Dancing. Having left the BBC, the broadcaster and presenter can now be seen on Channel 5.

Lucy Ashen (MEng Civil Engineering 2019) was named Graduate of the Year at the New Civil Engineer Graduate and Apprentice awards held at the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). Marie-Christinne Clarisse (MA World Music Studies 2014) won the Study UK British Council Culture and Creativity Alumni Award for Mauritius.

Hollie Pearne-Webb, MBE

Peter Kenyon (BA Business Studies 2004) took part in the Globe 5.80 Transat challenge to sail across the Atlantic in a boat he built himself at home.

Dr Tural Gulu (MPH/Public Health 2013) was a global finalist for the Study UK British Council Science and Sustainability Award.

Hollie Pearne-Webb, MBE (BA Economics 2013) captained the Team GB Women’s Hockey team to a Bronze medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Professor Chris McDermott (PhD Clinical Neurology 2004) has been recognised as an outstanding health and care researcher by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) with the highly competitive Research Professorship.

Sophie Hainsworth (BA Management and Economics 2011) won the Entrepreneur of the Year and Innovation in Business titles at the Leicestershire Live Women in Business Awards for her business LoyalFree.

Timothy Peters (BMus Music 2017) was awarded a Fellowship from the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, recognising emerging young professional choral leaders.

Dr Witiya Pittungnapoo (PhD Town and Regional Planning 2009) was a finalist of the Study UK Culture and Creativity Award for Thailand. Dr Orna Rosenfeld (MA Planning Research and Theory 2007) won the Study UK British Council Global

Dr Fay Hield (PhD English Cultural Tradition 2010 and PG Cert 2016) was awarded a Future Leaders Fellowship from UK Research and Innovation. Professor Zubairu Iliyasu (PhD Health and Related Research 2017) was appointed Pro-Chancellor and Chairman Governing Council of Kano University of Science and Technology Wudil, Nigeria. Irina Mkrtchyan (MA Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations 2013) won the Study UK British Council Science and Sustainability Alumni Award for Armenia. Dr Emma Owens (MChem Chemistry 2015, PhD Chemistry 2020) was awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry’s 2021 Early Career Prize for Excellence in Secondary and Further Education.

Dr Orna Rosenfeld

Bryony Page (BSc Biology 2015) won Gold at the Trampoline World

Jan-Justus Schmidt Jan-Justus Schmidt (MEng Aerospace Engineering 2012) won an Earthshot Prize with the company he co-founded – Enapter – for its Electrolyser technology that turns renewable electricity into emission-free hydrogen gas.

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Your notes and news (CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS PAGE) Inqilab Shahbazov (BA Sociology 2015) was a finalist in the Study UK British Council’s Science and Continuity Award for Azerbaijan.

usually reserved for established researchers and academics. Daniel Olatokun (BSc Biology 2021) was awarded a ‘Centenary Award’ bursary from the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust for his work in crop improvement to help manage the impacts of climate change on the agricultural sector.

Olivia Shotton (BMus Music 2017) was awarded a Fellowship from the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, recognising emerging young professional choral leaders.

Michael Turley (MEng Chemical Engineering with Energy 2015) won the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Global Award for Young Industrialist. Dr Juanjuan Zhu (PhD Mechanical Engineering 2012 and PG Cert 2020) was highly commended in the L’Oréal- UNESCO For Women in Science Rising Talents.


Wenjia Liu (BSc Landscape Architecture 2021) won the International Federation

Dr Marian Schini (PhD Medicine 2020) was awarded a Young Investigator Award by the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) for her work on osteoporosis.


Ailis Topley (BA Business Management 2014) was named in the Forbes European 30 under 30 list (Retail & Ecommerce) following the success of her candle business, Pott.

Daniel Olatokun of Landscape Architects (IFLA) Europe Students and Young Professionals Competition for the climate-adapted design of her final year project ‘Storm on the Slope’. Zoe Lord (BA Architectural Studies 2021) was shortlisted for the RIBA President’s Awards for Research in the Cities and Community category. The Awards celebrate high-quality research in architecture and are

Dr Alex Tanner (MB ChB Medicine 2021) was the University’s Chancellor’s Medal winner in recognition of his internationally acclaimed medical research, outstanding extracurricular achievements and entrepreneurial success. Murat Umbetkaliyev (MSc Mechanical Engineering with Industrial Management 2020) was nominated for the Study UK British Council Science and Sustainability Alumni Award for Kazakhstan.

Alumni honours A number of our alumni have been recognised for their outstanding contributions to society in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021 and the New Year Honours 2022. Professor Tony Avery (BMedSci Biomedical Science 1985, MB ChB Medicine 1986) was made an OBE for services to General Practice. Dr Lisa Burger (BMus Music 1983, Hon LittD 2019) was made a CBE for services to the Arts. Dr Lisa Burger, CBE

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Professor Stewart Cole, CBE (PhD Microbiology 1979) was made a KCMG

(Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George) for services to Science. Lt Col Timothy Coombe (BSc Materials Science and Technology 1975) was made an MBE for services to the community in Brampton, Cumbria. Alan Davis (BMet Metallurgy 1982) was made an MBE for services to the NHS, particularly during COVID-19. Edmund De Waal, OBE (PG Dip Japanese Language 1992, Hon LittD 2013) was made a CBE for services to the Arts.

Stephen Oldfield (BA French and Spanish 1985) was made a CB for services to EU Exit Preparedness and the COVID-19 Response. Victoria Phipps (BA Architecture 2007) was made an MBE for services to Veterans and the Commemoration of the Second World War.


Professor Malcolm Press (Former staff and Dip Spanish and Latin American Studies 2008) was made a CBE for services to Higher and Technical Education.

Edmund De Waal William Griffiths (BSc Zoology 1968) was made an MBE for services to Museums and the community in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. Adele Hague (Cert Enrolled Nurse Conversion 2002) was awarded a BEM for services to Public Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic. James Jamieson (MEng Materials Process Engineering 1986) was made an OBE for services to Local Government. Dr David Kennedy (BA Economics with Econometrics 1991) was made a CBE for public service, particularly during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Professor Martin Knapp (BA Economics 1973) was made a CBE for services to Social Care Research. Dr Vivienne Lennox (MB ChB Medicine 1987) was made an MBE for services to Education.

Dr Michael Rogers (BSc Microbiology 1998) was made an MBE for services to COVID-19 Research Funding. Dr Liane Smith (PhD Metallurgy 1984) was made a CBE for services to Engineering and Materials Science. Professor Sarah Springman, CBE (Hon DEng 2018) was made a DBE for services to Engineering and International Sports Administration. Reverend Jonathan Swales (MA Biblical Studies Research 2003) was made an MBE for services to the community in Leeds, particularly during COVID-19. Dr Christopher Timperley (BSc Chemistry 1991) was made an OBE for services to UK Defence and Security. Adrian Vinken, OBE (BA Philosophy 1975) was made a CBE for services to Theatre. Andrew Wright (BMus Music 1988) was awarded a BEM for services to Public Libraries.

This year we were delighted to have awarded honorary degrees to a range of people in person at our catch-up graduation ceremonies. Honorary degrees are awarded to those who have given distinguished service or brought distinction to the University, the city of Sheffield or the region. Below are the alumni who received or will receive honorary degrees.

March 2022

Poppy Gustafsson, OBE (BSc Mathematics 2003, Hon DSc 2022): Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Darktrace. Professor Tim Kendall, BEM (BMedSci Biomedical Science, 1981, MB ChB Medicine 1983, Hon MD 2022): National Clinical Director for Mental Health at NHS England. Jonathan Seaton, MBE, DL (MA Law 2007, PGDip Legal Practice 2008, Hon DSc 2022): Co-Founder and CEO of Twinkl Education Publishing. Jonathan received the honorary degree jointly with his wife Susie Seaton, Co-Founder of Twinkl Education Publishing.

May 2022

Dr Sam John Chapman (BEng Software Engineering 1999, MSc (Res) Materials, Structures and Systems Engineering 2001, PhD Computer Science 2010, Hon DEng 2022): Chief Innovation Officer, Co-Founder and Director of Floow.

Jean McVann (BMedSci Specialist Community Nursing and Health Care Practice 1997) was made an MBE for services to the community in Rotherham. Ian Morrison (BA Ancient History and Classical Archaeology 1989) was made an OBE for services to Heritage and the COVID-19 Response. Sir Paul Nurse (Hon DSc 2005) was made a CH for services to Science and Medicine in the UK and Abroad.

Honorary degrees

Professor Dame Sarah Springman

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Honorary degrees

The Professor Robert Boucher


Distinguished Alumni Award

July 2022

Dr Alexzandra Hildred (BA Prehistory & Archaeology, 1978; Hon LittD 2022): Head of Research and Curator of Ordnance and Human Remains at the Mary Rose Trust.

This award acknowledges the achievements of alumni who have made outstanding contributions to business and community life.

Professor Sir Simon Lovestone (BSc Microbiology 1982, Hon MD 2022): Professor of Translational Neuroscience at the University of Oxford and led the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Translational Research Collaboration in Dementia (TRCD).

Since graduating from Sheffield, Rob has led a successful and distinguished career in the financial services industry. For almost 30 years he has worked with financial institutions including HSBC, Paribas, Merrill Lynch and ultimately Goldman Sachs where he currently holds the prestigious position of Partner, now working as the Head of the Financial and Strategic Investors Group in the Americas. Rob is an enthusiastic supporter of the University and gives back in thanks for the fantastic education that he received and the opportunities that it created for him. Rob has regularly given talks to current students, reflecting on his career and sharing his experiences to help them achieve success in their careers. He has also given his time to fundraise for the University – most notably, in 2018 he ran the Marathon du Médoc in France and raised over £200,000 for the Sheffield scanner. He has also personally funded a range

October 2022


Dr Ayesha Husaini (PhD Education 2009, Hon LittD 2022): Founder and Director of Manzil Centre.

Dr Alexzandra Hildred

Rob Pulford (BA Business Studies 1994)

Volunteer of the Year Award Winner, Matthew Donovan Matthew graduated in 1992 with a BA in French and Spanish. He has been a mentor on the E-mentoring programme since 2014 and always offers to help out and sign up for events. We’d especially like to recognise Matthew’s outstanding contributions this year, when he not only undertook his usual mentoring role, but also supported the new Coach Cafe initiative as well as a Careers Service event for final years.

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Matthew explains why he gave his time this year: “I am privileged to have had the opportunity to study at Sheffield and have since been employed by worldrenowned companies, living and working in several countries. I have learnt so much about work ethics and the importance of diversity and culture. I am proud to be able to give something back in the form of being ‘someone to ask’. I hope my experiences provide students with guidance and direction in an increasingly uncertain world. Knowledge is only power when shared. I enjoy learning about students’ real-life situations and helping them find their way. It has helped me learn and grow as a professional and as a human being.”

of initiatives to support low-income students, including many scholarships, employability and internship support, as well as supporting research such as the Desert Garden project. Rob is an exceptionally passionate and dedicated alumnus and supporter of the University, and we are delighted to recognise his commitment to Sheffield with this Distinguished Alumni Award. For information on how to make a nomination and to see previous winners, visit: our-alumni/distinguished

Alumni benefits


We’re delighted that our in-person benefits have restarted in line with the latest government guidance. See for full details and current activity. CAREERS ADVICE



You can continue to use the Careers Service and receive bespoke careers advice. Make an appointment to visit us on campus, or we can offer support remotely via web chat, phone or Google Meet. Visit graduate for more information or to search for jobs or make an appointment.

Discount on sports facilities

Free for alumni members


Reunions and events

We run a range of in-person and online events just for alumni. Visit the web page for our calendar of events and watch your inbox for exclusive invitations.

Discounted concert tickets for alumni

Graduates of the University are eligible for a 10% discount on the ticket price for all University concerts. Tickets must be purchased online via TicketSource through the University of Sheffield Concerts website: performancevenues. The Concerts programme includes scores of international and awardwinning performers from across world, jazz, folk, contemporary and classical music. There’s also a series of concerts from our talented current students and an annual alumni concert.

Sport Sheffield offers a discounted membership rate for all Sheffield alumni. This membership provides access to the gym, swimming pool, steam and sauna rooms, and fitness classes, all based at the Goodwin Sports Centre. Sign up at alumni

Discounted hotels

You can receive a discount at several hotels in Sheffield. Perfect for a break in the city or the Peak District.

Inox Dine

Situated on Level 5 of the Students’ Union Building, Inox Dine is an independently run events venue and restaurant serving contemporary British food with an international twist. Alumni are treated to a 10% discount on the INOX lounge menu.

Wedding venue discount

Choose from two stunning wedding venues at the University of Sheffield and receive an alumni discount.

You can apply for free membership of the University Library. As an alumni member, you will receive a library card that enables you to borrow books from all library sites, plus on-site access to a large number of e-journal articles via the library walk-in access service. The card also allows you to access all library sites during staffed service hours, including Western Bank, the Information Commons and the Health Sciences Libraries. All you need to do is provide proof of study or graduation. To find out more, including how to apply for a library card, visit: alumni

CONTINUED STUDY Postgraduate discount

As a Sheffield graduate you can benefit from a discount on your tuition fees if you decide to study with us at postgraduate level. The level of discount depends on the grade you achieved in your undergraduate course and the level of study. For more details, visit: postgraduate/alumni-rewards

For some of these benefits, you may need to show your Alumni Membership Card. If you haven’t received your card yet or need a replacement, please see:

2022/2023 | YOUR UNIVERSITY 43


REASONS TO BE PROUD Proudly global

Our green declaration

The funding awarded to the Centre for International Research on Care, Labour & Equalities will establish the new Centre For Care, supporting reform within the care system through vital research.

Life-saving discoveries

Researchers from the University have discovered a new gene therapy pathway that has the potential to protect against serious life-limiting diseases such as cancer and dementia.

The University has developed game-changing artificial intelligence that can predict blockages in sewers to help cut pollution incidents and improve the health of rivers.

We’ve switched to milk churns from a local dairy farm to supply our cafés across campus, meaning we’re set to reduce our plastic waste by 87,000 single-use bottles every year.

£10m for social care research

The University of Sheffield has been named one of the most international universities in the world by Times Higher Education, acknowledging our strong global outlook and reputation.

AI can reduce Yorkshire flooding

Cutting plastic waste

Harvesting the Kenyan sun

Cutting-edge medical research

A clinical research facility run by the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals has been awarded £7.9m for the development and testing of new treatments for diseases.

The University has colaunched East Africa’s first Agrivoltaics system in Kenya alongside local experts, which will deliver solar electricity, crop production and rainwater harvesting and provide energy and food security benefits.

The gift of time

Giving the gift of time is a fantastic way of helping the next generation of Sheffield alumni. This year over 6000 students benefited from the support of over 1000 alumni from 45 countries.

We’ve reaffirmed our commitment to a sustainable future by signing a new ‘declaration of climate expectations’, which ensures our investments are managed sustainably.

Parliamentary influence

Two University of Sheffield researchers have been named in the list of 100 Most Influential Academics in Government 2022.

Leaders in data science

The University is one of the first recipients of a new award from The Alan Turing Institute, which will support our data science and AI research in areas such as healthcare and manufacturing.

+ @SheffieldAlumni + University of Sheffield Alumni Campaigns and Alumni Relations, The University of Sheffield, 40 Victoria Street, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK 0114 222 1071

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