Your University magazine 2020-21

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YOUR UNIVERSITY 2020/2021 NEW-LOOK HOME FOR ENGINEERING The new Engineering Heartspace

Our problem with plastic

How a multidisciplinary team of researchers is calling for a new approach to plastic waste

PUSHING ARCHITECTURE IN NEW DIRECTIONS Groundbreaking designs from our alumni

OUR PARKINSON’S RESEARCH Working hard to stem the effects of the disease



A note from your editor


t has been a difficult and uncertain year thus far. The coronavirus (COVID-19) is having an unprecedented impact on many of our lives. From moving teaching online and allowing medical students to graduate early, to joining in the fight against the virus through research, as a University we’re doing all we can to help (page 4). During this time, we are more passionate than ever about helping you feel connected with your University and your alumni community. Within this issue we feature developments on campus (page 9), including the opening of the new Heartspace building for our engineering students (page 21), how our researchers are tackling the problem of single-use plastic waste (page 18) and Parkinson’s (page 28), updates on your fellow alumni and lots more. I hope you enjoy the magazine, and however you have been affected by coronavirus, my thoughts are with you.

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






16 M y Sheffield: Lucie Cave We catch up with the Editor of Heat magazine and the Creative Editorial Director at Bauer Media

18 War on single-use plastic How our researchers are solving the problem of single-use plastic

21 T he new-look home for Engineering Cover illustration: Ollie Hirst 2


Staff and students return to the newly refurbished Engineering Heartspace

12 48 37 18


28 16



24 P ushing architectural design in new directions Groundbreaking designs from School of Architecture alumni

28 H alting the progression of Parkinson’s



Working hard to stem the effects of the disease


30 O ur alumni across the globe


Reaching out to our international alumni


Go digital Prefer to receive the digital magazine? Let us know by emailing 2020/2021 | YOUR UNIVERSITY


Our University’s top news and achievements in the past year 4

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is having an unprecedented impact across the world and is creating a vast and growing number of challenges for all of us. Staff and students from across the University of Sheffield have been and are continuing to mitigate its effects on society with a rapid response through crucial research and innovation, local and global collaborations and practical

support for the community. We are working with the NHS locally and nationally, to ensure that we are doing all we can to support not only our local hospitals, but also the national effort in mitigating the effects of this global outbreak. We’re also supporting the regional response to the COVID-19 challenge by ensuring healthcare services, cultural and creative sectors and industry partners across the Sheffield City Region are supported.



How your University is responding to the COVID-19 challenge


Our medical students graduated early from Sheffield to assist the NHS Nearly 250 final year medical students graduated early to become junior doctors and be able to work for the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic. The medical students were keen to graduate earlier than usual to provide valuable support to the NHS as qualified clinicians. They join student nurses and allied health professionals on placement from the University who have already volunteered to dedicate more time to working on the front line as NHS employees at this time.



We have donated personal protective equipment to help front-line NHS staff Around £60,000 worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) has been donated by University of Sheffield departments and alumni to front-line NHS staff treating patients with coronavirus. Over 160,000 items of disposable PPE including masks, gloves, aprons and eyewear have been collected from the University’s laboratories and workshops to assist key workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Our engineers 3D printed face shields for doctors and healthcare workers Engineers from the University joined forces to rapidly manufacture face shields for doctors and healthcare workers. Face shields have been distributed to frontline healthcare workers who may be exposed to COVID-19, and they are continuing to manufacture and distribute more. The University of Sheffield team is now the Yorkshire hub for the national 3DCrowd UK initiative.


The AMRC and Nuclear AMRC were part of the national effort to manufacture medical ventilators The University’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and Nuclear AMRC played a pivotal role in the national effort to produce medical ventilators as part of a consortium of leading industrial, technological and engineering businesses. The industrial consortium, Ventilator Challenge UK, came together after Prime Minister Boris Johnson made an urgent plea for an additional 50,000 ventilators to be delivered to the NHS within a matter of weeks, before the coronavirus pandemic reached its peak. The consortium received orders from the government in excess of 10,000 units.


Our Genomics research is analysing how COVID-19 spreads and behaves Scientists and clinicians from the University and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have joined a UK consortium to map how COVID-19 spreads and behaves. Backed by the UK government, a £20 million investment will allow the consortium to work together – and through whole genome sequencing – to create valuable intelligence that could provide breakthroughs in how to fight this, and future pandemics, saving lives around the world. Expert groups across

the country will work together to rapidly analyse the genetic code of coronavirus samples circulating in the UK. In doing so, the consortium will provide cutting-edge information about the cause of the disease to share with public health agencies, hospitals, regional NHS centres and the government to help combat the virus.

One of the giant sculptures at the Mausoleum of the Giants.


New web platform to keep Sheffield’s arts and culture sector open The University partnered with Sheffield City Council to launch a new online platform to keep the city’s vibrant arts and cultural sector open during the coronavirus lockdown. Developed and hosted by Our Favourite Places (OFP), the Sheffield Culture Hub allows events in the city to be accessed for the first time through one digital route, providing visitors with a one-stop online arts and cultural events guide. Many events in Sheffield have already made the move to online delivery due to the COVID-19 lockdown. The new hub will help make these events accessible to more people as well as provide a platform for smaller events and cultural groups that don’t have access to digital delivery systems. Visit the Hub There are undoubtedly going to be further challenges ahead, and the University will continue to work closely with, amongst others, ministers and the government, the Mayor and other leaders from the Sheffield City Region, Universities UK and the Russell Group, our industrial partners and other universities in the UK and in Europe.

The University is involved in several leading events across the city, where our students and staff share their expertise and passion to drive cultural and city vibrancy, working with key partners to enhance Sheffield’s offering. Past events Mausoleum of the Giants took place in spring 2019 and was a new exhibition by acclaimed international artist Phlegm. Over 12,000 people from across the globe visited the exhibition, which featured massive sculptures by the artist. The exhibition was led and produced by the University as one of the key delivery partners in the Sheffield Culture Consortium’s Cultural Destination programme. Sheffield Makes Music provided a day of celebration showcasing Sheffield’s musical creators, contributors and talent, as part of BBC Music Day. The 2019 event included a unique performance by University of Sheffield alumnus Jon McClure from Reverend and the Makers. Upcoming events Some of these events may be held online due to COVID-19 Festival of the Mind is a unique collaboration between the University’s academics and experts from Sheffield’s cultural and creative industries. The bi-annual event celebrates the University and the city, through performances, talks, exhibitions and interactive events. (17-27 September 2020 Off the Shelf is a diverse and wide-ranging literary festival that hosts world-renowned names in literature and media. Now run by the University, Off the Shelf presents its 29th edition this year, providing a variety of opportunities for our academics to participate (10-31 October 2020 2020/2021 | YOUR UNIVERSITY




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






Queen’s Anniversary Prize for SITraN


f you or a loved one has been affected by dementia, motor neurone disease (MND), Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis (MS), you’ll know how urgently new treatments are needed for these devastating conditions. That’s exactly what the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN) is doing. It was opened by Her Majesty The Queen in 2010, and a decade later, SITraN has been awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for innovation in neuroscience. SITraN is now one of the world’s leading centres for research into neurodegenerative disorders. TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall presented the University with the prize on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen at a Buckingham Palace reception in February 2020. The Queen’s Anniversary Prize is the highest national honour that recognises outstanding work by UK universities and colleges that demonstrate quality and innovation in their research. Professor Dame Pam Shaw, Director of SITraN, said, “This prize recognises the University of Sheffield as a centre for excellence in neuroscience research and teaching, where our researchers are making life-changing discoveries and progress in treating some of the most devastating neurological diseases, making a real difference to patients’ lives.” SITraN has been recognised for improving patient outcomes for people living with neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, MND, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and MS. 6


Left: Professor Dame Pamela Shaw at the Queen’s Anniversary Prize Ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Above: With The Queen at the opening of SITraN.

Highlights from a decade of research at SITraN include: • the development of a new orthotic device, ‘HeadUp’, for patients living with MND who suffer from muscle weakness in their neck • groundbreaking stem cell trials for MS patients • research which has improved the life expectancy and quality of life for those living with MND • the discovery of a biomarker linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease for the first time, which has the potential for earlier diagnosis and has sparked the development of new therapies • drug discovery programmes to develop new treatments for Parkinson’s disease.

a leading global facility at the forefront of research and expertise. We are pioneering new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases and bringing new hope to patients and families across the country.” Generous philanthropic gifts from our community of donors have played a key role in SITraN’s success over the past decade. In addition to the £12 million raised to help build the facility at the outset, £8 million has been donated since 2010, helping to accelerate the groundbreaking research which has the potential to improve the lives of so many patients around the world affected by neurodegenerative disorders. The University has recently launched a fundraising appeal to help support its research into Parkinson’s disease (see feature on page 28).

Professor Dame Pam Shaw commented on how the institute has developed over the past 10 years, “SITraN has grown into

You can find out more about the appeal and make a donation by visiting


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

New generation of PhD researchers to tackle chronic diseases A £5.24 million investment by the Wellcome Trust will provide scholarships for 35 graduates to carry out pioneering research into the world’s most critical public health issues. The investment means graduates from a wide variety of disciplines will have the opportunity to specialise in public health economics research at the Doctoral Training Centre at the University of Sheffield. During the programme – led by the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) – doctoral researchers will focus on how health policies, strategies and systems can best be coordinated and prioritised to tackle chronic diseases. Petra Meier, Professor of Public Health and Director of the Doctoral Training Centre at ScHARR, said, “Worldwide, chronic diseases such as heart disease,

diabetes and cancer now account for around 70% of premature deaths. Our doctoral researchers will work to identify the most cost-effective public health policies and interventions to reduce these types of ill health and how different interventions can be coordinated to maximise impact.” The scholarships cover tuition fees, research costs and a monthly stipend, and offer the possibility of part-time study. This opens up a route to postgraduate research training for students who may not have otherwise had the opportunity to further their academic career. The funding award from the Wellcome Trust recognises ScHARR as a provider of excellence when it comes to public health and economics research, with a programme built on high-quality research training. The new PhD programme will start in autumn 2020. For more information, visit

Rehab Osman Khalifa, Community Services Officer at Za’atari camp.

Hope grows in the desert thanks to your generous donations Thousands of refugees will now have the opportunity to grow their own fresh produce thanks to a unique fundraising appeal launched by the University in 2019. So far, generous donations have raised over £227,000 of the £250,000 target. The Desert Garden project was set up in Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp by Sheffield scientists. Bringing together their expertise in hydroponics – a method of growing plants without soil – and the refugees’ farming knowledge from their former lives in Syria, the project is making a huge difference to the lives of people living in some of the world’s harshest conditions. Sustainability is key to the Desert Garden’s success: it uses discarded mattress foam as a growing medium in place of soil, as well as other waste materials from around the camp, and 80% less water than traditional farming methods. And its ‘train the trainer’ model means that within three years, the project will become fully self-sustaining. To find out more about the Desert Garden project, visit 2020/2021 | YOUR UNIVERSITY




Department of Economics

110 years The Department of Economics was established in 1910

Department of Philosophy

110 years The Department of Philosophy was established in 1910

Department of Psychology

60 years The Department of Psychology was established in 1960

School of East Asian Studies 30 years The School of East Asian Studies was established in 1990

Department of Computer Science 40 years The Department of Computer Science was established in 1980

Celebrating 60 years of Halifax Hall Lacrosse Celebrates 100 Years


The Sheffield University Lacrosse Club is looking forward to celebrating the centenary of the formation of the ladies team. The Club has come a long way since the 23-nil loss of their first game, and now have three teams. The First Team had a fantastic season, reaching the semi-finals in the Cup. The Club is especially proud of the Development Team, made up of beginners, who beat Hallam 11-4 in the only Varsity fixture they managed to have this season. SULC is in the midst of planning an event to celebrate; look out for updates on the Club’s Facebook page.



It’s 60 years since Endcliffe House was renamed Halifax Hall in honour of the Earl of Halifax, who was Chancellor of the University between 1947 and 1959. Originally built in the 1840s, Halifax Hall provided lodgings to University of Sheffield students for 50 years before being refurbished as a conference venue and, most recently, a boutique hotel. Endcliffe House was originally one of several large houses built for wealthy industrialists and their families in Sheffield. The building was home to Sir Joseph Jonas, who was Lord Mayor of Sheffield from 1904 to 1905, and his wife Lady Jonas for many years. When the building was acquired by the University in 1929, plans were drawn up to extend the property, with accommodation for 65 students and lodgings for a warden and a subwarden. The refurbishment included repurposing Sir Joseph Jonas’s library as the warden’s study, using the family sitting room as the reference library, and in 1936 the adjacent fiction library was furnished with fittings from the White Star liner, Homeric, the sister ship to the Titanic. The building became known as the University Hall for Women in 1934, before being renamed Halifax Hall in 1959.


In 1962, Halifax Hall underwent another extension that included a seven-storey bedroom block, a large dining hall, kitchen facilities and rooms for resident academic and domestic staff. 2013 brought the final change to the building, as Halifax Hall underwent a £1.8m transformation into a beautiful boutique hotel and wedding venue. The hotel has 38 en-suite bedrooms, including three suites and deluxe conferencing facilities. Halifax Hall is managed by Unicus, a subsidiary of the University and offers discounted rates to University of Sheffield alumni. Did you stay in Halifax Hall? Share your memories and photographs with us @SheffieldAlumni on social media.

Supporting the next generation of doctors

September saw the University’s Medical School open its doors to 50 additional medical students, as part of a scheme by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and NHS England. Fifteen of these new students are fulfilling their ambition to study medicine, thanks to support from generous donations. The students are part of a progressive new programme that fast-tracks science graduates from financially disadvantaged and underrepresented backgrounds straight into their second year of study. Each of the 15 students received a £3,500 scholarship towards their fees. This financial support is vital in opening doors for those who might otherwise find it difficult to access or continue in higher education. “The scheme levels the playing field and gives a broader selection of students access to medical training, which is fantastic,” said student Sam Horton. The progressive new programme enables more students to gain medical education and training. Medical courses are heavily oversubscribed, so this expansion opens up new opportunities for aspiring medical professionals. Professor Deborah Murdoch Eaton, Dean of Medical Education at the University, commented, “Expanding medical education is enabling the University of Sheffield to respond to the future needs of the UK’s healthcare system. We can now train more doctors and develop more high-quality medical professionals to work in hospitals, GP surgeries and clinics both in South Yorkshire and across the UK.” The expansion enables the University to recruit students from areas of South Yorkshire where the study of medicine is typically low.



The new Social Sciences building is scheduled to open in summer 2022.

t’s been a busy year for building projects on the University’s estate, with students, staff and visitors benefitting from new facilities. Now fully refurbished, the Concourse will continue to be a hub for major events such as graduation and open days, as well as being a place for staff, students and the public to meet, relax and safely cross the busy A57. It features new terraced areas, which include hedges, flowers and trees, and contemporary lighting, giving this much-used area a new lease of life. Work on the new Social Sciences building is well under way and on schedule to open in summer 2022. This major new investment will house a wide range of social science disciplines under one roof for the first time, including the Departments of Economics, Politics, and Sociological Studies. Construction work is progressing on the University’s new energy centre, known as the Transformer. The building is designed to ensure resilience and energy security for the University’s world-leading, multi-million-pound research projects. The new Transformer will provide an uninterrupted power supply to research experiments and ensure business continuity to the west side of campus, as well as supplying power and heat to several key University buildings. World-class sports pitches now open Work on two new all-weather pitches at the Norton Sports Centre is now complete. The competition-standard hockey pitch and the rugby/football multipurpose pitch will enable students and members of the public to play all year round, whatever the weather. The pitches feature new spectator stands, which help to create an exciting atmosphere for competitive games. The updates, including new changing facilities, elevate the sports centre and enhance the University’s reputation as an international leader in team sports. 2020/2021 | YOUR UNIVERSITY



A green solution to playground pollution

Cole Porter composing as he reclines on a couch in the Ritz Hotel during out-of-town tryouts for DuBarry Was a Lady (1939).

Newly published Cole Porter letters reveal a life of contrasts Cole Porter was one of the most successful American songwriters of the 20th century. His musicals, such as Kiss Me Kate and Anything Goes, still resonate with audiences over 55 years since his death. A new collection of letters, uncovered by Dr Dominic McHugh from the University’s Department of Music, in collaboration with Professor Cliff Eisen from King’s College London, reveal previously hidden details about the life and work of Cole Porter. The letters disclose a life of contrasts, as Dominic explained, “Although he had numerous affairs with men, he was devoted to his wife; alongside the lavish parties, he agonised about how to pay his bills; and though witty, there was a darker side to his personality in which he was tormented about whether he was losing his talent.” To uncover the letters, Dr McHugh and Professor Eisen spent five years searching archives held by the Cole Porter Trust as well as the Library of Congress and Yale University – where Porter studied. The collection is published in The Letters of Cole Porter, Yale University Press, London. 10 YOUR UNIVERSITY | 2020/2021



t’s estimated that children on the school run in Sheffield are inhaling the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes every week in particulate matter pollution, according to research carried out by the University. To counteract the harmful effects of air pollution, pupils, staff and volunteers have planted a ‘green barrier’ at Hunter’s Bar Infant School playground. The barrier is part of a study by PhD researcher María del Carmen Redondo Bermúdez, from the University’s Department of Landscape Architecture, and is funded by the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures. Teams of volunteers planted 50 ivy screens and over 240 plants chosen for their ability to reflect, trap and absorb air pollutants in the school playground. María said, “Different plants have different capacities to reduce air pollution, depending on the characteristics of their leaves and bark. Planted together, they form a barrier against the wind that brings contaminants into the playground.” The findings from the study will be published in 2021 and will include the impact green barriers have on the wellbeing of children, families and school staff, as well as their ability to reduce pollution.

The plant barrier stretches 200ft around the inner-city school playground. Work on the green barrier is part of the BREATHE project, which aims to address the air pollution problem with a ‘naturebased solution’. The school community raised funds for the project, which also received generous donations and in-kind services from local businesses.

Entrepreneur takes on the Dragons and wins In 2019, William Chew (MA Psychology of Music 2015) was brave enough to enter the BBC’s hugely popular show for entrepreneurs, Dragons’ Den, and came out with a £50,000 investment for his Malaysian chilli paste start-up Mak Tok. During his memorable Dragons’ Den pitch for investment, William sang the Dragons a song on his guitar and confessed that he stole the recipe from his mum. His pitch charmed the Dragons, even making two of them cry. New Dragon, Sara Davies, invested £50,000 into Mak Tok for a 33% share in the business.

William first had the idea for setting up a chilli paste business while studying for his MA at the University. Feeling homesick, he started experimenting with creating his own chilli paste to recreate the taste of home-cooked Malaysian food. With help from his mum and a kind elderly friend known as ‘Mak Tok’, the business was born. William has already made use of Sara’s expertise by adapting his branding. He plans to use the investment to explore more effective packaging and manufacturing methods and expand the business by selling to the catering industry.



Sheffield Students’ Union is more than a building The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year brought campus to a standstill, and we had to close the SU doors in mid-March. Despite the difficult circumstances, our amazing students have emerged with creative solutions to support each other and help keep the SU spirit alive when we all need it most. Here are some of the many highlights: • Our Officer team launched the new online community group on Facebook for all of our students to come together and share a space online. • Our Advice Centre continued to support hundreds of students each week through online and remote appointments.

• Bake Society have launched a virtual Bake Off, encouraging anyone baking at home to use the #IsolationBakes hashtag, and are collecting recipes for their blog. • Disabled and Dyslexic Students’ committee ran an online campaign ‘Keeping Calm Together’, which focused on good wellbeing and mental health in an anxiety-inducing time. • Give It A Go has delivered seven weeks of online programmes.

Campaigning for a sustainable campus It’s been a big year of climate action at the Students’ Union. The SU supported three global climate strikes throughout the year, which in September included evacuating the building and shutting down services for a full hour. Students were directed to a rally on the concourse, which led to hundreds marching to join the city-wide protest. There was brilliant campaigning work from the Clean Energy Switch campaign, made up of students and staff, which has consistently urged the University to switch to a clean energy supplier. This was alongside lobbying throughout the year from our SU Development Officer Harry Carling and the Sustainability Committee, and in May the University committed to switch to 100% renewable energy for the first time.

Harry said, “It is so important that we have a University that values our student voice, and this is particularly important when talking about environmental issues. I’m exceptionally proud of our student-led Clean Energy Switch campaign and Sustainability Committee, who have done an incredible job in making sure this issue has been pushed to the top of the agenda in the University. “The University of Sheffield has set an example to the rest of the higher education sector and organisations around the world. It is now the responsibility of others to follow.” Find out more about the SU’s commitment to sustainability:

Highlights included online belly dancing classes, virtual tours of British landmarks and Bummit’s virtual hitchhike. • Our Officers hosted live Instagram Q&A sessions twice a week, answering students’ questions on exams, housing, wellbeing, and many more. Find out more about how we’re delivering our mission during social distancing: @SheffieldSU

Student Advice Centre puts £1 million back in students’ pockets The team at the SU’s Student Advice Centre last year broke the £1 million mark in financial gains for students as a result of their work. That’s £1 million in one academic year that students across the University have in their pockets thanks to the amazing work of the advice team. This just covers the quantifiable financial gain. The advice team have supported students through complex University processes and hearings, supported them with housing issues and disputes, helped them with visas and consistently gone the extra mile to ensure students have the best possible experience at Sheffield. Find out more about the Student Advice Centre: student-advice-centre 2020/2021 | YOUR UNIVERSITY 11



Resilient City: the RC2 project If we’re going to survive, we need to become more resilient.


oil, the non-renewable resource we rely on for all of our crops, is degrading at a rate of 24 billion tonnes a year due to the intensification of farming and use of fertilisers. Low-impact agriculture in urban spaces can help alleviate the pressure on soil. A new project from the Institute for Sustainable Food and Resilient Campus, Resilient City (RC2), aims to build minifarms in old shipping containers, with a prototype opening in 2020. The mini-farm relies on aquaponics, a technique for growing plants in water that replaces fertilisers with fish. The fish provide nitrogen-rich waste which is broken down by bacteria and then used by the plants for growth. It’s one of the greenest ways to grow food; the only energy required is electrical and can be produced using any number of renewable resources, and the fish food can be created sustainably from food waste. A major benefit of the mini-farm is that it provides food on a local scale and the concept can be easily adopted by anyone with an interest in farming. Researchers at the Institute for Sustainable Food have developed open-source software and Internet of Things electronics to balance the ecosystem within the farm, controlling water flow, heating and

lighting. Information is then available online to anyone who wants to develop their own mini-farm. “The point is to show other people how they can do it themselves,” explained Hamish Cunningham, Professor of Internet Computing at the University of Sheffield. It’s a system that can be scaled up to community level or scaled down to desktop size. This alternative food system is at the heart of the Institute for Sustainable Food. “The Institute is about changing food systems – our current systems are broken so we’re changing that by growing local food using soil-free and open methods.”

Main: An abandoned school in Tinsley has been transformed with the installation of groundbreaking hydroponics systems. Above: An illustration of an aquaponics site installation in Sheffield.

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:



Pioneering stem cell therapy for multiple sclerosis


team from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, led by two University of Sheffield honorary professors from the Neuroscience Institute, are pioneering a breakthrough treatment in the UK for multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is a neurological condition that causes a range of symptoms including blurred vision and problems with how we move, think and feel. Over 100,000 people have MS in the UK, with around 5,000 newly diagnosed every year. It is progressive, with no known cure and people are most likely to find out they have it in their 30s, 40s and 50s. However, the signs often start years earlier. Now, there’s a pioneering breakthrough treatment being trialled in the UK.

Problems with thinking, learning and planning Blurred vision Problems with balance and coordination

THE MAIN SYMPTOMS OF MS INCLUDE: • Fatigue • Numbness or tingling in different parts of the body • Muscle stiffness and spasms

Problems controlling the bladder Difficulty walking


Balancing the grid by tracking renewable energy


he move towards green energy is having a radical impact on our electricity system. It demands much smarter management tools, and our researchers have taken on a crucial role in this revolution. Until recently, the UK’s electricity supply came almost entirely from a few power stations. The move to renewables means there are now many more small generators, such as solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on the roofs of homes, schools, factories and in farmers’ fields. As the energy from solar PV depends on when the sun shines, it can be challenging to predict how much energy it will generate.

14 YOUR UNIVERSITY | 2020/2021

National Grid is responsible for balancing electricity generation with usage. Previously this meant matching fluctuating demand with a controllable supply, but National Grid receives no data from small generators and the amount of energy generated from solar can be unpredictable. In 2010 when solar PV started to become popular, Dr Alastair Buckley, Senior Lecturer in organic electronics and member of the Energy Institute, saw the need to understand how these systems perform in the UK. People with systems installed were asked to contribute to a project called the Microgen Database, and they were given performance reports to flag up if their system was underperforming.

When Dr Buckley met Jack Barber from National Grid’s energy forecasting team, they worked together to create what would become PV_Live. PV_Live mines the Microgen Database, then scales it up to give the real-time solar performance across the country. It is displayed in National Grid’s control room to help balance the grid. The energy company PassivSystems helped by providing more data to predict the output of around one million systems on the network. This accurate picture of solar energy output helps reduce the cost of balancing the grid and its emissions by ensuring that fossil fuel alternatives can be maximised with minimal requirement for standby generators.

The autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplant (AHSCT) team is the first to significantly reverse disability in certain patients with MS. The global impact of this treatment on patients with severe inflammatory MS has been confirmed in the published findings of the first randomised controlled trial in this field. The trial showed that the treatment stabilised the disease and reduced the level of disability to levels never seen before in research trials. So far, the treatment has had a lifechanging impact on patients who have the relapsing-remitting form of the disease, with many regaining their ability to walk, run and even dance as a result. Colette Beecher was diagnosed with MS in January 2011 and has been relapse-free for three years after having the MS stem cell transplant at Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital. She said, “Several of my symptoms have now disappeared – I no longer get spasms that go down my spine when I flex my head forward, and my right leg hasn’t given way for three years. “I’d like to thank Professor Sharrack and Professor Snowden and the team for seeking ways to treat this condition so that people like me can live a life not defined by MS and disability but with possibilities, freedom and optimism.”

New toolkit could repair DNA breaks associated with ageing, cancer and motor neurone disease HEALTHY LIFESPAN INSTITUTE AND NEUROSCIENCE INSTITUTE COLLABORATION

Solar panels at the University of Sheffield.

An accumulation of broken, damaged DNA can cause cellular ageing, cancer and neurological diseases such as motor neurone disease (MND). Until now, ways of repairing DNA damage have been poorly understood. However, a new ‘toolkit’ has been discovered by scientists at the Universities of Sheffield and Oxford. The research shows that a protein called TEX264, together with other enzymes, is able to recognise and ‘eat’ toxic proteins that stick to DNA and cause it to become damaged. Scientists hope to exploit this novel repair toolkit of proteins to protect us from ageing, cancer and neurological disease.

The findings could also have implications for chemotherapy, which deliberately causes breaks in DNA when trying to kill cancerous cells. Scientists believe targeting the TEX264 protein may offer a new way to treat cancer. “Failure to fix DNA breaks in our genome can impact our ability to enjoy a healthy life at an old age, as well as leave us vulnerable to neurological diseases. We hope that by understanding how our cells fix DNA breaks, we can help meet some of these challenges, as well as explore new ways of treating cancer in the future.” Professor Sherif El-Khamisy Healthy Lifespan Institute and Neuroscience Institute

2020/2021 | YOUR UNIVERSITY 15

MY SHEFFIELD LUCIE CAVE JOURNALIST She began her career at Sheffield, working on the University’s student paper. Now, Lucie Cave (BA English Literature 1995) is one of the leading figures in British media.


erhaps best known for her role as editor of celebrity magazine Heat, the award-winning journalist is currently Creative Editorial Director of Bauer Media, heading up brands such as Grazia, Closer and Magic FM. Here, Lucie – who last year received a Distinguished Alumni Award (see page 43) – looks back on her student days and reflects on the lasting impact Sheffield has had on her life and work.


THE ‘SQUAT’, WISETON ROAD One of my most cherished memories is living in a scruffy student house on Wiseton Road near Endcliffe Park in my second year. In pre-internet 1992, we found it by knocking on the door and asking the students living there if we could move in after they’d moved out. Despite having ‘Squat’ graffitied above the door, it was the most brilliant house. We had so much fun there.


FRIENDS FOR LIFE During my first week at university in Earnshaw Hall I met some of the people who are still my best friends today. We shared loads of experiences together – living away from home and tasting independence for the first time, boyfriends coming and going, tears and tantrums. It was amazing to bring them with me all these years later to collect my Distinguished Alumni Award (which I was blown away to receive!).

JEREMY HEALY IN THE BOTANICAL GARDENS I loved hanging out in the Botanical Gardens. Whenever there was an ounce of sun, me and my friends would head there to listen to mixtapes of 90s DJs like Jeremy Healy and Sasha. Great memories.

EDITING DARTS At university, I worked my way up to become editor of the student paper, Darts. We were given a lot of freedom, which allowed me to be really experimental and curious about people’s lives. It’s where I learned the craft of journalism.

MUSIC FACTORY MERRIMENT Sheffield’s nightlife in the 1990s was brilliant. My favourite club was the Music Factory. I used to dance on the podium in ridiculously short home-made dresses and think I was great at dancing. I wasn’t.

FROM DARTS TO DAVID CAMERON Receiving the alumni award really made me look back on my life and think, “Gosh, I have done a lot of stuff.” The 19-year-old me who arrived in Sheffield with a perm and a briefcase thinking I was in Press Gang would be pretty chuffed with everything I’ve achieved. A particular highlight was interviewing the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, at 10 Downing Street. I asked him really important questions like did he know the words to ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen and did he take the bins out. The answer was ‘yes’ to both. 2020/2021 | YOUR UNIVERSITY 17

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ince the BBC TV series Blue Planet II aired in autumn 2017, interest in single-use plastic, and the effect it has on the environment, has exploded. The statistics are staggering: there’s currently around 8 billion tonnes of plastic on earth and 10 million tonnes of it leaks into the oceans every year. Single-use plastic benefits us in many ways, from improving hygiene to reducing food waste, but our overreliance on it needs to change to avoid further environmental impact. Researchers from the University of Sheffield have launched a new project to tackle single-use plastic waste holistically. The project, Plastics: Redefining Singleuse, is led by Professor Tony Ryan and Dr Rachael Rothman from the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures, and is funded by a £1 million investment from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The diverse project team brings together scientists and engineers, with researchers from the arts, humanities, medicine and social sciences, with the ultimate goal of creating a zero-waste, circular economy for plastics. This would mean plastics are used for as long as possible and are then recovered and regenerated at the end of their life. The team has highlighted several areas that need to change to make this a reality, from how ‘greener’ plastics are marketed to how the language around recycling is used. But these changes will only happen if they are backed by stringent government policies.

How a multidisciplinary team of researchers is calling for a new approach to plastic waste

Solving the problem of single-use plastic waste

The greenwashing problem

The lack of standards around bioplastics and compostable plastics means that some companies are marketing these products to appear more environmentally friendly than they are: this is known as greenwashing. Despite sounding eco-friendly, bio-plastics often take more energy to produce than plastic made from fossil fuels and can only be composted in very specific conditions. Professor Ryan explains, “To make plastics from plants, you have to first turn the plants into oil. With regular plastics, geology has done this stage for us, so making bio-plastic actually takes more energy and generates more greenhouse gas emissions than making conventional plastic.”

Greenwashing can lead people to think that they are making good decisions. For example, people might think that buying bio-plastics means that they can use as much as they want and then just throw them in landfill.”

Most compostable plastics are also problematic as they won’t compost in a domestic compost bin or landfill. Dr Rothman said, “Compostable plastics will break down, but often only in an industrial composter. This is part of the huge greenwashing problem we have around plastics, the language used on these plastics is misleading.” As the project is multidisciplinary, psychologists at the University are also involved in finding a solution to problems associated with single-use plastic. Psychology plays a huge part in greenwashing and how we use and dispose of single-use plastic. Professor Thomas Webb, Professor of Psychology at the University of Sheffield, explains, “Greenwashing can lead people to think that they are making good decisions. For example, people might think that buying bio-plastics means that they can use as much as they want and then just throw them in landfill. Alternatively, they might think that ‘good’ decisions in one area entitles them not to make changes in other areas. For example, people might think that it is okay to drive to a zero waste store because of the energy that they save by buying goods without packaging. We need to consider the bigger picture.” 2020/2021 | YOUR UNIVERSITY 19

If the law changed so that all beverage bottles had to be returned, cleaned and refilled, rather than being recycled, there’d be some consumer resistance, but people would get used to it pretty quickly and it would become the new norm.”

Being clearer about which plastics can be recycled and where is key to solving the plastic problem. Currently, the language used to talk about single-use plastic is very confusing. Professor Joanna Gavins, Professor of English Language and Literature at the University, who is involved in the project, explained, “A label telling us simply that a piece of plastic is ‘recyclable’ doesn’t make clear who should recycle it and how. It’s much better to make the language of plastic use and recycling clearly instructive, for example, ‘Put this bottle in your domestic recycling bin’ is a much clearer instruction than ‘Recyclable’.” A simple ‘traffic light’ system on plastic packaging, similar to the one used for food nutrition, would provide clear instructions to direct people about what to do with plastic after use. From a psychological perspective, if recycling or reducing single-use plastic is confusing, people are less Dr Rachael Rothman, right and Professor Tony Ryan from the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures are leading the Plastics: Redefining Single-use project. 20 YOUR UNIVERSITY | 2020/2021

likely to engage with it. Professor Webb added, “Many people have good intentions around dealing with single-use plastic, but if it’s difficult to understand what can be recycled and where, or if reducing single-use plastic means always remembering a reusable bag or coffee cup, then their intention of becoming greener will be harder than they may have initially thought, which could discourage them.”

Reuse is the greenest option

Researchers involved in the study are keen to promote the benefits of using reusable plastics in place of degradable or singleuse plastics, and to make this an attractive option for manufacturers and the public. For reusable plastics to replace single-use there would need to be new regulations in place as the higher costs involved in producing multiple-use plastic will impact on industries and the public. Professor Ryan explains, “We need more stringent policies in place to encourage the use of reusable plastics. It’s not going to be easy, it’s not going to be cheap and it’s not going to be convenient, but it needn’t take a long time. What will take a long time is businesses resisting change.

You can find out more about the project and read the latest news updates by visiting grantham. redefine-single-use-plastic

If the law changed so that all beverage bottles had to be returned, cleaned and refilled, rather than being recycled, there’d be some consumer resistance, but people would get used to it pretty quickly and it would become the new norm.” Professor Ryan concluded, “We can make reusable plastic as attractive as possible, but the increased costs mean it will absolutely need government regulation to work.”


Clearer recycling language

The Grade II listed Sir Frederick Mappin Building and the neighbouring 1885 Central Wing are considered the birthplace of engineering at the University. A lot has changed since these beautiful Victorian buildings were first opened. Now, over 100 years later, they have been regenerated to provide a more usable and dynamic space.


The new Engineering Heartspace entrance on Portobello Street.


n early 2020, after three years away, staff and students in the engineering Faculty moved ‘back home’ into Mappin and the new addition of the Engineering Heartspace, designed specifically to encourage collaboration across the Faculty. The most impressive feature of the Engineering Heartspace is the stunning geogrid glass and steel roof that connects the Sir Frederick Mappin Building and the 1885 Central Wing, creating a new atrium space in the previously unused gap between the two buildings. 2020/2021 | YOUR UNIVERSITY 21

One of the collaborative spaces for students and staff to work and socialise in.

Improving employability

The new Employability Hub is a key feature of the Engineering Heartspace as it promotes and hosts employability activities for the whole Faculty, from undergraduate students through to postgraduate researchers. Students will be able to gain employability and broader skills development through a number of support services available across the University, including 301: Academic Skills Centre, Year in 22 YOUR UNIVERSITY | 2020/2021

Industry, Careers Service and Global Opportunities & Engagement. They will have the chance to meet employers in the Employability Hub and find out more about activities such as Sheffield Engineering Leadership Academy (SELA), Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experiences (SURE) and engineering student societies. There are also bookable video interview facilities provided with funding from generous alumni donations.  Claire Brooke, Year in Industry Manager, said, “We are incredibly excited about the opening of the Employability Hub and the opportunities it offers to help Faculty of Engineering students reach their full potential. Our students have very busy timetables and lives, so being conveniently located in the Engineering Heartspace should encourage more students to call in and find out more about how they can engage with activities which will develop their employability.”

The Engineering Heartspace is home to staff from the Faculty of Engineering’s Central Services teams, and the departments of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Interdisciplinary Programmes in Engineering. The University of Sheffield is one of the biggest providers of engineering research and education in the UK with over 6,700 students and an annual research income of over £120 million. You can find out more about engineering at the University by visiting • This feature was written prior to the COVID-19 lockdown. At the time of publication all University staff are working from home and are not on campus as per Government guidelines.


The central atrium is home to new laboratories, offices, a cafe, a boardroom, an employability hub and collaborative spaces for students and staff to work and socialise in. An added benefit of the new atrium is that it has significantly improved the energy and carbon performance of the original Victorian buildings by enclosing their inner facades.

Professor Mike Hounslow Vice-President and Head of the University’s Faculty of Engineering:

“We are absolutely delighted to be back in the Engineering Heartspace and look forward to welcoming staff, students and partners from industry into our new facilities. “Sheffield is renowned across the globe for its expertise in engineering. Our academics are conducting research at the cutting edge of their fields, our students are some of the brightest emerging talents in the industry, and we work together with businesses ranging from local SMEs to some of the world’s biggest companies to help solve some of their most pressing challenges. The Engineering Heartspace can further enhance this work and provide a new place alongside our existing facilities to aid and inspire collaborations.”

Professor Chee Hing Tan

Head of the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering: “It is fantastic to be back in the Mappin Building. The project has retained the buildings’ architecture, reflecting our long history of engineering, while the addition of the modern Engineering Heartspace reflects the expansion of the Faculty as a world-leading engineering Faculty. “Previously, staff and students were located across three locations, now being all under one roof will strengthen interaction and collaboration, which will help recreate the electronic and electrical engineering community.”

“It feels like coming home!” Professor Neil Sims

Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering: “Moving back into the Engineering Heartspace buildings feels like coming home. For many longerserving members of staff it’s been quite emotional! After more than three years away from the building, we now have a large proportion of staff and PhD students all co-located in a central space, which is fantastic for teamwork and collaborations, from both a research and a teaching perspective. The new building has transformed life in the department. “The Engineering Heartspace area itself is a fantastic architectural feature and shows off the heritage of the two original buildings. The new space has already had a positive impact on my teaching, for example, I’ve just used the Engineering Heartspace area to meet students with some last-minute revision questions. The new laboratory facilities will have a dramatic impact on our undergraduate projects as well as MSc and PhD activities.”

The central atrium is home to new laboratories, offices, a cafe, a boardroom and an employability hub.

Professor Harm Askes

Head of Interdisciplinary Programmes in Engineering (IPE): “It’s great to be back in the heart of Mappin. Students have already commented that the IPE Student Support Office is so much easier to find and get to. I’ve missed randomly bumping into colleagues and students – and I’m quickly catching up with both.”

Heartspace won the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Social Impact Awards 2020 Yorkshire & Humber in the heritage and education categories. 2020/2021 | YOUR UNIVERSITY 23

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In 2015, English Heritage ran a competition to design a new bridge to reconnect the two halves of Tintagel Castle, which had been separated for 500 years. William Matthews (BA Architectural Studies 1990, Dip Architectural Studies 1993), Director of William Matthews Associates, was selected as the winner. He’s now had the opportunity to take on the design of the new bridge for this historic and muchloved Cornwall attraction. “The site had many challenges,” William explained, “It’s heavily protected because of its scientific interest, natural beauty and history. In addition to this, the location has no vehicular access, can’t support temporary works such as scaffolding, is exposed to winter storms and is literally on a cliff edge on the Cornish coast.” These restrictions led William to design a cantilever bridge, one of the oldest methods of bridge building, where the two sections of the bridge are built out from either side of the chasm. The two sides of the Tintagel Castle bridge meet in the middle to form a 40mm gap that allows for the natural expansion and contraction of steel. Usually, expansion joints are covered with other materials, but William decided




Alumni from the University of Sheffield School of Architecture are pushing the boundaries in landscape, infrastructure and building design internationally


he School of Architecture first opened its doors at the beginning of 1908, shortly after the University was founded. Over the years, the School has developed an international reputation for producing world-class architects and is one of the top four research schools in the UK. Situated in the iconic Arts Tower, the School of Architecture has produced award-winning architects who have worked on some of the most recognisable and renowned projects in the world. Here, we take a look at some of the recent architectural designs produced by a selection of our alumni.

TINTAGEL CASTLE BRIDGE, CORNWALL ★W illiam Matthews (BA Architectural Studies 1990, Dip Architectural Studies 1993), Director of William Matthews Associates

The stunning new bridge makes the site much more accessible. to leave this gap visible, “We thought it would be fun to let people see the gap. It’s nice to make something of it because it represents the transition from the mainland to the island.” Another challenge was to ensure the modern bridge looked like it belonged in this ancient landscape. William said, “The materials we used helped with this, as steel, iron and slate all existed in the Middle Ages and the slate came from a local mine which has produced the material since Roman times.” The new bridge means the castle is much more accessible and people who previously couldn’t access the site, due to the numerous steep steps, can now enjoy the attraction.

We thought it would be fun to let people see the gap. It’s nice to make something of it because it represents the transition from the mainland to the island.”

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★ Annalie Riches (BA Architectural Studies 1991) ★ Cathy Hawley (BA Architectural Studies 1991)

Annalie Riches

Living in a Passivhaus home will make a huge difference to residents too, for example their heating bills should be just £150 a year.”

Top: One-quarter of the site is communal space. Right: Secured ‘ginnels’ at the back of the houses are one of many communal areas for children to play in. 26 YOUR UNIVERSITY | 2020/2021

A partnership forged at the School of Architecture led to alumnae Annalie Riches (BA Architectural Studies 1991) and Cathy Hawley (BA Architectural Studies 1991) winning the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize for their work on Goldsmith Street in Norwich. This is the first time the prize has been awarded for a social housing project. The architects faced many challenges on the project, including how to fit accommodation for a high number of people into less than one hectare of land. Annalie, Director at Mikhail Riches, explained, “We were struggling to get a site plan that wasn’t apartment blocks as we really wanted to put houses on the site. Cathy, who is from Norfolk, pointed out the popular area of late Victorian terraces nearby, known as the Golden Triangle, where the houses are just 14m apart. By also applying these distances, we could build terraced houses with gardens instead of flats.” Creating an area of dense social housing that meets Passivhaus standards was a challenge. Passivhaus is a system that reduces a building’s ecological footprint. Annalie explained, “Achieving Passivhaus accreditation was a big learning curve for us, but it pushed us to include features that would improve energy efficiency. Living in a Passivhaus home will make

a huge difference to residents too, for example their heating bills should be just £150 a year.” The attention to detail paid off as the 2019 RIBA Stirling Prize judges, chaired by Julia Barfield, commented on the development, “Goldsmith Street is a modest masterpiece. It is high-quality architecture in its purest, most environmentally and socially conscious form.” Cathy and Annalie met at the University of Sheffield, where they were in the same year group as William Matthews. Annalie’s connections to the city have recently been strengthened as Mikhail Riches are currently working on phase two of the regeneration of Parkhill Flats. Annalie commented, “We are really proud to be working on Parkhill Flats for Urban Splash. As a student in Sheffield, it was a really important building for me. It’s been fascinating to study it in more detail.”




★M ichael Lip Yoke Cheong (MA Landscape Architecture 1978) ★N ik Malik Bin Nik Zainal Abidin (MA Landscape Architecture 1979) It’s not just in the UK where Architecture alumni are leaving their mark. In Malaysia, former students Michael Lip Yoke Cheong (MA Landscape Architecture 1978) and Nik Malik Bin Nik Zainal Abidin (MA Landscape Architecture 1979), have spent nearly 40 years working on prestigious landscape architecture projects. Having worked in the industry for so long, it could be difficult to pinpoint a standout project, but both Nik and Michael agree that their work on landscaping Putrajaya, Malaysia’s capital, was a career highlight. Michael said, “I’m most proud of our work on the capital city of Malaysia, Putrajaya, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. It has bloomed well and matured.” Nik adds, “It was a complex project as we were involved in the landscape design of multiple locations, including the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Finance Complex, the Ministry of Tourism Complex, the Main Boulevard and waterfront, the Protocol Roads, the Diplomatic Enclave, the Prime Minister’s Official Residence and the Putrajaya Wetland.” Michael and Nik’s pioneering partnership was formed whilst studying for their MAs in Landscape Architecture at the University of Sheffield. Since founding MLA Landscape Architects in 1983, the duo has gone on to win over 25 awards for their stunning landscape designs, and the company has grown from a twoman team to a firm of over 50. Studying in the Department of Landscape Architecture helped give Michael and Nik a different perspective on the natural landscape. Michael commented, “Living and studying in Sheffield widened our perspective on how diverse the natural landscape is. Nik and I both come from the tropics and its rainforests, and being in England allowed us to experience a different natural environment on the other side of the world.”

Above: WWII Memorial Peace Park. Below: Putrajaya Promenade. Michael Lip Yoke Cheong N ik Malik Bin Nik Zainal Abidin

Living and studying in Sheffield widened our perspective on how diverse the natural landscape is.”

Halting the progression of Parkinson’s disease affects more than 10 million people worldwide. But treatment is still only helping with some of the symptoms and not stopping the illness from getting worse. Sheffield is working to find a way to slow down or even stop the disease from progressing.


ith 80 new patients diagnosed each day in the UK alone, Parkinson’s disease is a common neurodegenerative condition. Yet over time, the current drugs become less effective and they can also have disruptive side effects. Tremor, fatigue and difficulties with movement and coordination have a life-changing impact for people with Parkinson’s and their families. These motor symptoms are often accompanied by depression, memory impairment and other non-motor symptoms including constipation or impaired bladder control. Sheffield is working to understand what drives Parkinson’s in the brain and why it can be so different for each patient. For some people it might be 28 YOUR UNIVERSITY | 2020/2021


driven by problems in the mitochondria – the energy sources of the cell. While for others it might be due to protein clumping, neuroinflammation or faulty lysosomes – the cell’s waste disposal. Home to some of the world’s leading experts in the field, SITraN (Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience) brings together scientists, clinicians and the latest imaging technology. The team excels at taking scientific discoveries from the lab and turning them into reallife treatments for patients. In the lab, Sheffield scientists are currently using cell reprogramming to convert samples of skin tissue from Parkinson’s patients into brain cells. This non-invasive technique enables them to assess the drivers of the disease and rapidly test the effectiveness of different medications, all under the microscope.

Sheffield researchers have already completed the world’s first Parkinson’s drug screenings in patient cells and discovered an existing liver disease drug (UDCA) that can rescue mitochondria. This drug has now entered a clinical trial at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. With the help of donations, Dr Heather Mortiboys and Professor Oliver Bandmann hope to accelerate this research. Deepening their understanding of what drives Parkinson’s in the brain, and increasing the lab’s drug screening capacity, will mean the team can group patients together by the different types of Parkinson’s. This could pave the way for further clinical trials and even lead to individual treatments specifically formulated to tackle the different root causes of the disease.

How Sheffield could make a Parkinson’s treatment breakthrough

We’re working to understand what’s driving the disease in different people. It could be a problem with the cell mitochondria or it could be inflammation of the nervous tissue.

By transforming patient skin tissue into brain cells, we can recreate how drugs might interact, all in the lab. This means we can rapidly test a bank of compounds to identify promising treatments.

Once a drug has been proven to work on brain cells in the lab, we can progress to clinical trials. We are already undertaking a trial with a liver disease drug which we hope will work for Parkinson’s as well.

Will you help Sheffield make a Parkinson’s breakthrough?

By making a gift to support Parkinson’s disease research today, you can help speed up this crucial work.

With greater understanding of the different types of Parkinson’s and a range of effective drugs, we’ll be able to use ‘personalised medicine’ for each patient to slow or even halt the disease.

Donate now

To make your gift, please visit: With your help, this research could develop the next generation of treatments or call us on 0114 222 5598 for millions of people with Parkinson’s.

The work we’re doing at Sheffield now means that in the future, we’ll apply a ‘precision medicine’ approach to Parkinson’s. We’ll no longer have to treat all patients in exactly the same way. This will be a huge leap forward for people suffering with this incurable brain disease.”

To be able to get up in the morning and have plenty of energy to do all the things that I used to do would be fantastic. You have to learn to overcome the daily problems and go with the flow. But the flow would be so much better if there was a cure!”

Professor Oliver Bandmann, Professor of Neurology, Department of Neuroscience

Pam Irvine, Parkinson’s patient

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Global alumni connections


ith over 190,000 alumni based in 205 countries, the University of Sheffield is a truly international place to study. Our international alumni groups make it easy for former students to build professional and social networks with other alumni. There are now 15 active alumni groups across the world, from Chicago to Beijing, with new groups being set up all the time. Charlotte Cremers has recently been appointed as International Alumni Relations Manager, and helps alumni across the globe keep in touch with their alma mater. She also acts as the central point of contact for these graduates within the University. Charlotte, who is an international alumna herself (Erasmus 2009), attended alumni events in cities around the globe designed to help develop connections and celebrate the shared experiences of our international alumni.

Alumni groups connecting former students across the world US We hosted a number of alumni events across the United States, including in Chicago, Austin, New York and Washington DC. “Alumni events are a fantastic way to meet new faces with a shared history. The NYC event showcased how diverse and far-reaching our fellow alumni are, across industries and disciplines.”


Erin Collard, new Sheffield in America Board member and co-founder of Blend, a Silicon Valley technology company propelling consumer lending into the digital age.


Find your alumni group You can find out more about the University’s international alumni groups by visiting international or contacting International Alumni Relations Manager, Charlotte Cremers:

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Mexico The Mexican Alumni Association was launched in 2019 and is one of our most active alumni groups. More than 120 people attended the launch event which took place at the British Ambassador Corin Robertson’s residence. It included an inspiring speech from Corin, who is a Sheffielder herself.



Members of our alumni community met for a drinks’ reception in Dublin, with many attendees from higher education distance learning programmes. Although some had only been to Sheffield a few times, they felt a very strong connection to the University.

This group launched in 2019, and 120 alumni attended an event with guest speakers including Computer Science alumnus, Dr Gang Lu. “Our group’s mission is to inspire all alumni to share a lifelong commitment, pride and passion for the University of Sheffield.” Adrian Zheng, Beijing Alumni Group President.


Brussels A drinks’ reception was organised by the White Rose Consortium, a partnership between the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York. Professor Koen Lamberts, the University of Sheffield’s President and Vice-Chancellor, presented at the event, which provided an excellent networking opportunity for European alumni.

Eastern China Sheffield Alumni Group (ECSAG) We organised a meet-up of 50 alumni at prestigious Shanghai club, Bund8. “I’d like to see ECSAG become the benchmark amongst British university alumni groups and generate more career opportunities for alumni in eastern China. We plan to host more social events and build more connections across different regional Sheffield alumni groups.” Lily Tu, President of the Eastern China Sheffield Alumni Group.


Malaysia In Malaysia, 23 alumni met and enjoyed dinner together. There is now a Malaysia alumni WhatsApp group with more than 50 members. “The alumni dinner was a great way to hear about the University’s latest developments. It was a wonderful opportunity to network with other Sheffield alumni.” Mary-Ann Ooi Suan Kim, group member and attendee.

Shenzhen The Shenzhen event was held at WeWork, and nearly 40 alumni gathered to hear guest speakers, including Charlotte and Michael Yang, President of the Chinese Student Returnees organisation.

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JENNY LAY-FLURRIE BMus Music 1997 Chief Accessibility Officer at Microsoft We all tend to put artificial ceilings on what we can achieve, but I’ve learnt that you can break through them. I’m deaf as a result of measles as a kid, which has slowly caused my hearing to decline over the decades. I’ll admit, there are hard days and ‘brick wall moments’, but the most important thing is to learn from them, don’t let them stop you, advocate for what you need to be successful, and ultimately figure out (with help!) how you overcome them. “Disability is a huge demographic, affecting over one billion people worldwide. Accessibility is how we empower everyone through technology and innovation. When accessibility is done well, it breaks down barriers, is ubiquitous and easy to use, and can be life changing. At Microsoft, I work with customers, employees and charities to learn how we can build better and more inclusive products for everyone. “Disability is a strength and a huge untapped pool of talent. We continuously work on how to tap into that talent through inclusive hiring programmes. Our Autism Hiring Programme launched as an initial pilot back in 2015 and we were blown away by the response. After the pilot was announced, we received more than 700 résumés from potential candidates. By simply adjusting the interview process and allowing candidates to showcase their skills in a way that works for them, we’ve hired amazing talent that we would have otherwise missed.

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As Chief Accessibility Officer at Microsoft, Jenny Lay-Flurrie champions inclusivity and accessibility in the workplace. After finishing her music degree, Jenny worked in technology before facing her ‘brick wall moment’ when her deafness meant she didn’t feel she could accept a promotion. Her boss at the time launched into action to provide accommodations. This was the start of Jenny’s journey to empowering other people with disabilities.

“Inclusive design is another big area of focus for me. It involves building accessibility into the development process and designing products with and for people with disabilities. This starts with hiring great talent with disabilities and embedding them into the process. When you include people with disabilities in the design process, the technology you create is by its very nature accessible. “I’ve been humbled by so much of what we’ve accomplished at Microsoft, but there are two standout moments for me. The first was being recognised by the Obama administration as a White House Champion of Change. I was incredibly honoured to be counted among the amazing folks doing extraordinary work to create employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities and making workplaces more accessible. The other moment was being included in Wired Magazine’s 25th Anniversary Issue as someone who will shape the tech industry over the next 25 years. To see accessibility being thought of in this way by the mainstream press was a huge moment for the tech industry – and for me personally.”

JONATHAN SEATON BSc Computing (Networks) 2005 MA Law 2007 Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice 2008 Founder and CEO Twinkl

After studying law at the University of Sheffield, Jonathan Seaton worked as a solicitor, but he was waiting for the right opportunity to set up his own business. That opportunity arrived in 2010 when his wife Susie, a teacher, was frustrated by the lack of quality teaching resources available, such as lesson plans and educational activities. Together they decided to launch Twinkl, an online educational publisher with a mission to help those who teach. Ten years on, Twinkl now employs over 550 people and has created more than half a million resources for over seven and a half million educators worldwide. It is hoped Jonathan and Susie will be awarded honorary Doctor of Science (DSc) degrees from the University of Sheffield during graduation in 2021. The company recently played a huge role in supporting those who were home-schooling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Twinkl provided all of its resources, including a Home Learning Hub, to support teachers, parents and carers across the world with school closures.

I loved my time at the University and I’ve been able to apply what I learned about law to every role I’ve had. After graduating, I worked as a Commercial Recovery Manager for a drinks wholesaler, which taught me a lot about commercialism, and I still practise many of those lessons today. “Having a background in law has huge benefits for my current role at Twinkl. It means I can understand risk better, which is integral to operating any business, and it allows me to make quicker and more accurate decisions across the board. “An unbelievable amount of hard work and personal sacrifice went into making Twinkl the business it is today. For over two years I got up at 4am to create

resources before leaving for my job at the time. I would then continue making resources until midnight once I got home. Susie and I worked on resources together when she wasn’t teaching, which was great as she could offer a teacher’s perspective. We learnt as we went, carving a path through execution and feedback and that’s still the way we do it today. “I’m immensely proud of how far we’ve come and seeing people with a range of skills and expertise joining Twinkl to carry out its mission is incredible. As a team, we want to help as many educators and children as possible, so we recognise the importance of working with others rather than just in competition. This is one of the reasons we created TwinklHive.

“TwinklHive nurtures and supports emerging start-ups to achieve accelerated growth, offering founders and their teams entrepreneurial space, investment and support. Sheffield is an incredible place to run a business and we want to support its position as a hub for Educational Technology and start-ups in all fields. “My ultimate goal is for Twinkl to become the largest supplier of digital teaching content in the world – and to become the market leader in each country. To do this, I’m always looking out for new opportunities to try out ideas. Failure is not something to be feared, in fact, it is something to be encouraged, as it can always be learnt from.

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MARÍA GUADALUPE MARTÍNEZ ESCOBEDO MSc(Eng) Aerospace Materials 2016 Design Engineer in Variable Geometry and Actuating Systems, GE Aviation, Mexico Studying her MSc at the University of Sheffield led María to a successful career at GE Aviation in Mexico. María chose Sheffield as it was the only university on her shortlist that offers annual tuition fee scholarships through the National Council for Science and Technology in Mexico. During her career, María has been nominated for and won several awards. Most recently, she’s been recognised as one of the top four young engineering talents in Mexico by Manufactura Business Magazine.

Studying in the UK for a year completely changed my life and I have so many happy memories of my time at the University. I was able to live the British culture and always felt welcomed and included. The UK has a global reputation for excellence in the aerospace industry, so studying here was a natural choice for me. “After completing my MSc, I went back to Mexico and within the same week, I received a job offer to join GE Aviation at one of the three GE Engineering Centres in Advanced Turbomachinery outside the US. Studying at the University gave me the appropriate tools to develop scientific thinking towards innovation. The teaching methodology allowed me to see how my studies could be applied in industry. This isn’t something that many universities offer, but it was invaluable to me. “Studying at the University of Sheffield improved my cultural awareness and helped me develop technical and leadership skills that I’ve been practising ever since. I became fluent in English,

34 YOUR UNIVERSITY | 2020/2021

which has helped me immeasurably in my career and given me confidence when developing projects and communicating with people around the globe. “As well as studying hard, I met some amazing people and reached well beyond my limits, particularly as part of the University’s Ladies Rugby Football Team. They became my family in the UK. I was almost in tears when I made it from Fresher to the first team and received my varsity sweatshirt! “I’m very proud of the recognition I’ve received during my career, but my proudest moment is being recognised as one of the top four engineers of promise in my country. It confirmed to me that hard work pays off. It’s fantastic that more and more women are choosing careers in the industry and that we’re being recognised for our work. Looking back at the recent recognition I’ve received, I feel I’m slowly becoming a role model in this field, in my job, community and country. This is something I’m very proud of.

DUNCAN CAMERON BSc Animal and Plant Biology 2001 Professor of Plant and Soil Biology, and Co-director of the Institute for Sustainable Food at the University of Sheffield Visiting Professor at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania I was 14 when I first became interested in environmental sustainability. I’d read an article about sustainability and decided to become a vegetarian, much to my mum’s horror as she wasn’t sure it was healthy for me!

An early interest in environmental sustainability led Professor Duncan Cameron to a degree in Animal and Plant Biology at the University of Sheffield. After completing his PhD in Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Aberdeen, Duncan returned to Sheffield as a post-doctoral research associate. He is now Co-director of the Institute for Sustainable Food (with Professor Peter Jackson) and a leading expert on sustainable agriculture. In 2013, he won the World Economic Forum Young Scientist Award and was recognised as one of the Forum’s 40 extraordinary researchers under the age of 40. Duncan is a visible member of the LGBT+ community and is actively engaged in issues around LGBT+ equality and inclusion.

“I chose to study at Sheffield because it is one of the absolute centres of excellence in plant and soil biology. After graduating, I went on to do my PhD on grasslands at Aberdeen and it was there that I first became interested in what my colleagues were doing around sustainable agriculture, particularly in the context of soil. “As I started to move through my career, which was primarily focused on microbiology and grasslands, I realised that my science could help make profound changes in food sustainability. So, when I got my first research fellowship, which was at the University of Sheffield, I shifted my focus and started working with

the food industry. It was awesome to see my science start influencing how the industry was producing crops and making crop breeding more sustainable. “I’m really excited to be one of the directors of the University’s four new flagship research institutes. Along with my colleague Peter Jackson in Geography, I’m heading up the Institute for Sustainable Food. The institute brings together around 150 academics from across all of the University’s science faculties with the sole purpose of making the food system more sustainable, from farm to fork. To be intellectually driving such an ambitious project and working with such amazing, inspirational people is so exciting and such a privilege. “As an undergraduate, I never imagined that I’d work at the University of Sheffield professionally, let alone become a professor here. After completing my PhD, my head of department at Aberdeen said I should speak to David Read, Emeritus Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences at the University, who was looking for a research assistant. After an initial chat with David, I went to Sheffield for a formal interview and he offered me the job right away. Four weeks later I was driving back down to Sheffield with my worldly possessions and that was the start of everything. My whole family have now moved to Sheffield, so the University has a really special place in my heart and has fundamentally changed my whole life.

2020/2021 | YOUR UNIVERSITY 35

A L U M N I Notes and news, awards, honours and obituaries 36 YOUR UNIVERSITY | 2020/2021

Alumni Board The Alumni Board was established in 2014 to represent the global alumni community within the University of Sheffield. We are an advisory body, working alongside Campaigns and Alumni Relations. The Chair and Deputy Chair of the Alumni Board are also members of the University Council and were both appointed Pro-Chancellors in 2017.

The Alumni Board usually meets three times a year but due to circumstances beyond our control, the Alumni Board has only met once in this academic year. At the meeting we had the opportunity to discuss the Vision Green Paper with the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Koen Lamberts present at the meeting and taking part in the debate. This is an important piece of work that feeds into the future Strategic Plan for the University of Sheffield. As Chair of the Alumni Board, I particularly enjoy meeting alumni and having the opportunity to congratulate all those who have received Distinguished Alumni Awards bestowed by the Alumni Board. These awards acknowledge the achievements of alumni who have made outstanding contributions to business and community life, and it was wonderful to see Faye Savory (BMedSci Speech Science 2012) and Lucie Lunt (nĂŠe Cave) (BA English Literature 1995) receive their awards last July. Due to the global pandemic, the University had to

Richard Mayson postpone its July 2020 ceremonies so the Distinguished Alumni Awards for this year will be given in person at a future date. As ever, as Pro-Chancellor I am always available to alumni on, and if you have anything alumni related that you would like to raise, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Richard Mayson (BA Geography 1983) Chair, Alumni Board


Your notes and news We are always delighted to discover what our alumni are doing now, and of their achievements that have been recognised. 1960s

Duncan Kitchin (Economics, Management) retired from the University following 50 years of teaching at the University across a variety of departments, as well helping to establish the University Counselling Service and introduce prayer rooms across the University. Dr Tony Lewis, MBE (BSc Mathematics 1964, MSc Probability & Statistics 1966) 1942-2020. March saw the sad death of mathematician and cricket aficionado Tony Lewis, one half of the pair responsible for the creation of the Duckworth-Lewis method. The D/L method is used to help determine one day cricket matches which are cut short, and has been adopted at all levels of competition around the world since it was introduced 20 years ago.

Professor Nik Malik Bin Nik Zainal Abidin (L)

Sue Manns (BA Geography 1977) took office as President of the Royal Town Planning Institute.


The Rt Hon. the Lord Blunkett (BA Politics 1972, Hon LittD 2016) has had his remarkable journey from a deprived area of Sheffield to the highest level of British politics catalogued in The Blunkett Archives, part of The Archives Revealed programme. The archives record from his childhood, right up to the present day and cover a transformative period in British political history, as well as his unique perspective as the first blind Cabinet minister in the UK.

Professor Nik Malik Bin Nik Zainal Abidin (MA Landscape Architecture 1979) was awarded the Malaysia Landscape Architecture Awards (MLAA)’s Lifetime Achievement Award. See page 27 for details of his work.


Simon Allford (BA Architectural Studies 1983) and Paul Monaghan (BA Architecture 1983, Hon LittD 2018) were awarded two RIBA London Awards 2019 and two RIBA National Awards 2019 with their firm Allford Hall Monaghan Morris.

Professor Julia Buckingham, CBE (BSc Zoology 1971, Hon DSc 2013) has been elected as the President of Universities UK, the representative organisation for the UK’s universities. Dr Emlyn Koster (BSc Geology 1971) was the recipient of the 2019 Alumni of Excellence Award of the Faculty of Science at the University of Ottawa in Canada.

The Rt Hon. the Lord Blunkett

Professor Julia Buckingham, CBE

Roger Hawkins (BA Architectural Studies 1981, MA Architecture 1985) was awarded a RIBA South Award 2019, RIBA South Building of the Year Award 2019 and RIBA National Award 2019 with his firm Hawkins\Brown. 2020/2021 | YOUR UNIVERSITY 37



Professor Graham Ogden (BDS Dentistry 1980) was awarded the 2019 IADR Distinguished Scientist Award in Oral Medicine & Pathology Research, one of the highest awards in dental research. Professor Tariq Rahman (MA History of English Literature 1983, PhD English Literature 1985, Hon LittD 2014) won first prize in the non-fiction category of the Karachi Literary Festival for his book Interpretations of Jihad in South Asia. Sue Threader (née Patterson) (BEng Civil & Structural Engineering 1988) was the recipient of an Outstanding Contribution Award from the Institution of Civil Engineers’ Kent and East Sussex Branch, its highest honour.


John Allison (BA Journalism Studies 1998) won Best Continuing Series and Best Humour Publication at the Eisner Comic Book Awards for his series Giant Days, which is inspired by his time at Sheffield. Andy Groarke (BA Architecture 1993, MA Architectural Studies 1997) won the Architects’ Journal Design of the Year 2019 award for the Windermere Jetty Museum design with his practice Carmody Groarke. Cathy Hawley (BA Architectural Studies 1991) and Annalie Riches (BA Architectural Studies 1991) won the 2019 RIBA Stirling Prize, and the Architects’ Journal Housing Project of the Year 2019, for the Goldsmith Street social housing scheme for Norwich City Council, working with the architectural firm Mikhail Riches. See page 26 for details of their work. Kara Owen (BA History 1993) was appointed as the British High Commissioner to Singapore. 38 YOUR UNIVERSITY | 2020/2021

Lucy Prebble


Dr Tural Gulu

Abdullah Alazemi (MA Applied Linguistics 2006) won the British Council Study UK Alumni Award – Social Impact for Kuwait.

Lucy Prebble (BA English Literature 2002) received the 2019 Wellcome Trust Screenwriting Fellowship for her contribution to British playwriting.

Yiannis Mylopoulos (MSc Management 2003) received the Prose Award from the UNESCO ArtLiterature and Science Club in Greece for his story under the title ‘23.23’.

Tim Smedley (BA English Literature 2002, MA International Cinema 2003) was nominated for the 2019 Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize.

Dr Zaid Omar (MSc Eng Data Communication 2008) was nominated for the British Council Study UK Alumni Award – Professional Achievement for Malaysia.

Dr Wei Yang (MSc Computer Aided Environmental Design 2001, PhD Architecture 2005) has been elected as the Royal Town Planning Institute’s Vice President for 2020. She will take over from current President and fellow Sheffield alumna Sue Manns in 2021.


Murtaza Ali (PhD Engineering Materials 2012) was nominated for the British Council Study UK Alumni Award – Professional Achievement for Pakistan. Tom Dixon (BSc Zoology 2012) has established The Arden Project, a project to enable young people to reconnect with nature and environmental justice through the arts, literature and community-driven creative events. Christina Dymioti (MSc Marketing Management Practice 2019) was selected as the Cypriot flag-bearer during the Commonwealth Service in March 2020. James Featherstone (MEng Civil Engineering 2017) won the New Civil Engineer’s 2019 Graduate of the Year award.

Dr Pip Gardner (BA Archaeology & Geography 2011, PhD Geography 2018) was selected by UN Women to be part of the Beijing+25 Youth Task Force.

Dr Shahwar Kazmi (MPH Public Health 2016) was nominated for the British Council Study UK Alumni Award - Social Impact for India.

Dr Tural Gulu (MPH Public Health 2013) won the British Council Study UK Alumni Award – Professional Achievement for Azerbaijan, and was nominated to take the prize for the overall, global winner.

Martha Kelner (BA Journalism Studies 2011) won the Young Talent of the Year prize at the RTS Television Journalism Awards 2020.

Olivia Hellman (BA Architecture and Landscape 2016) was jointly awarded first place in the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings’ Philip Webb Award, celebrating new designs for historic buildings. Dr Minal Jain (MBChB Medicine 2019) was part of a team that won the People’s Choice award at the Santander Universities Entrepreneurial Awards 2019 for their therapy app ‘Bet On Me’.

María Guadalupe Martínez Escobedo (MSc(Eng) Aerospace Materials 2016) was selected by leading Mexican business magazine Manufactura as one of the ‘4 Young Engineering Promises in Mexico’. She was also nominated for a British Council award as an ‘Outstanding Woman – Far From Home’. Read her profile on page 34. Lt Hugo Mitchell-Heggs (MEng Mechanical Engineering with French 2010) led a successful trans-Atlantic row, completing the Talisker Whisky Atlantic challenge in 37 days, six hours and 40 minutes as a member of the fastest serving military team in history to row the Atlantic. Imon Pal (MPH Public Health 2018), Shereen Al Laham (MPH Management and Leadership 2018) and Bikramaditya Ghosh (MPH Public Health 2018) won the public vote and reached the Grand Final of the NACUE-TATA Varsity Pitch Competition with their wellbeing start-up, Totawell. Ralph Street (BA Geography & Planning 2012) won bronze at the Orienteering World Cup in the Knockout Sprint event. David Wetherill (BSc Biological Chemistry 2012) won team gold and class six singles bronze at the para-table tennis European Championships.

Dr Pip Gardner

David Weatherill

Nikola Yanev (BA Architecture 2016, MArch Architecture 2019) was jointly awarded first place in the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings’ Philip Webb Award, celebrating new designs for historic buildings. 2020/2021 | YOUR UNIVERSITY 39


Changing lives A legacy to support our students Physics undergraduates at the University of Sheffield will benefit from a new set of scholarships created in memory of Dr Edward Ward (BSc Physics 1950, PhD Metallurgy 1955), who studied physics in Sheffield 70 years ago.

Top: 1950 year group outside Weston Park Museum. Dr Ward is in the centre and Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Greenwood is on the far left. Bottom: Dr Ward outside Ranmoor halls of residence. Dr Ward is on the far left on the second to back row.


r Ward spent his career working in government laboratories on civil and military projects and, in later years, he gained a passion for restoring Morris Minor cars. He died in 2012, aged 84. Dr Ward was one of the first students to live in student accommodation at Ranmoor, where he stayed from 1947 to 1950. Currently, undergraduate applicants to the University of Sheffield can apply for an Experience Sheffield Scholarship of £1,200 for each year of their degree. Thanks to a legacy gift in memory of Dr Ward, more undergraduate students from financially disadvantaged or under-represented backgrounds in the Department of Physics and Astronomy will now receive a scholarship. Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Greenwood, who was at the University at the same time as Dr Ward, wrote in a letter to the University, saying, “He always appeared grateful for what he had gained from the University and this no doubt was the basis of his legacy.” So far, four students have benefitted from Dr Ward’s generous donation since 2019, including Joshua Cardona Germano who is studying BSc Theoretical Physics. Joshua said, “I chose to study Theoretical Physics as I’ve always loved maths and wanted to do a degree which would enable me to apply maths in a way that helps people or that can help improve knowledge in our world.” 40 YOUR UNIVERSITY | 2020/2021

The funding enabled me to upgrade my current computer so it’s at the standard I need it to be for my studies. I wouldn’t have such amazing opportunities without this scholarship, so I am very grateful.” Joshua Cardona Germano, studying BSc Theoretical Physics

Create a legacy of your own David Meadows, our Philanthropy Manager, didn’t get the opportunity to meet Dr Ward, however, his gift is changing the lives of our students. If you’re considering leaving a legacy gift to the University in your will, David can talk through your ideas with you to ensure your wishes are realised.

You can speak to David in confidence: David Meadows Philanthropy Manager – Legacies and Individual Giving Campaigns and Alumni Relations The University of Sheffield 40 Victoria Street, Sheffield S10 2TN Tel: +44 (0) 114 222 1073 Email:

Alumni honours A number of our alumni have been recognised for their outstanding contributions to society in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2019 and the New Year Honours 2020. Professor Colin Gareth Bailey (BEng Civil & Structural Engineering 1992, PhD Civil & Structural Engineering 1995) appointed a CBE for services to Engineering. Dr Bikramjit Singh Bhangu (MSc Control Systems 2000, PhD Electronic and Electrical Engineering 2004) appointed an OBE for services to Trade and British commercial interests. Lee Child (LLB Law 1977, Hon LittD 2009) appointed a CBE for services to Literature. Dr Keith Clarkson (BSc Zoology 1979, PhD Zoology 1985) appointed an MBE for services to Wildlife Conservation. Sir Thomas Collingwood Hughes (MBChB Medicine 1991) appointed an OBE for services to Healthcare Technology and Information. Wendy Coomber (LLB Law 1966) appointed an MBE for services to Young People and the community in Cheshire. Professor Dame Sally Claire Davies, DBE (Hon DSc 2008) appointed a GCB for services to Public Health and to Research. Arnab Dutt (BA Politics 1986) appointed an OBE for services to Small and Medium-sized Businesses, to Diversity and to Equality. Dr Olanike Adefemi Folayan (PhD Electronic and Electrical Engineering 2007) appointed an MBE for services to Diversity in Engineering.

James Grieve (BA English Literature 2001) appointed an MBE for services to Theatre. Poppy Gustafsson (nĂŠe Prentis) (BSc Mathematics 2003) appointed an OBE for services to the Cyber Security Industry. Clive Humby (BSc Applied Maths and Computer Science 1975, Hon DEng 2016) appointed an OBE for services to Data and Business in the UK. Dr Angela Margaret Knowles (Hon LittD 2008) appointed an MBE for services to Blood Cancer Research. Dr Jonathan Leach (MBChB Medicine 1983) appointed an OBE for services to General Practice.

Clive Humby

Professor Lee Elliot Major (BSc Physics 1990, PhD Physics 1994, Hon DSc 2017) appointed an OBE for services to Social Mobility. George Robert Marsh (BEng Civil & Structural Engineering 1971) appointed an MBE for services to the community in the West Midlands. Mark McCree (MA Librarianship 2001) appointed a BEM for services to Public Libraries. Dr Janet Metcalfe (BSc Chemistry 1976, PhD Chemistry 1980) appointed an OBE for services to Researcher Career Development. Professor Jim Norton (BEng Electrical Engineering 1974, Hon DEng 2003) appointed an OBE for services to Engineering and the Digital Economy. Claire Caroline Pashley (MA Psychology for Musicians 2002) appointed an MBE for services to Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

Lee Child

Sir Keith Vivian Thomas (Hon LittD 1992) appointed a CH, Order of the Companions of Honour, for services to the Study of History. Dr Elizabeth Towns-Andrews (BSc Chemistry 1981, PhD Chemistry 1987) appointed an OBE for services to Business, to Enterprise and to Public and Private Sector Collaboration.

George Perrin (BA English Literature 2002) appointed an MBE for services to Theatre.

Jonathan Vaughan (BSc Ecology 2001) appointed an MBE for services to combating the illegal wildlife trade in Malawi.

Andrew Donald Tapley (BA Economics & Business Studies 1973) appointed an MBE for services to Hockey.

Tim Wheeler (BA Classics 1982) appointed an MBE for services to charity and to Education. 2020/2021 | YOUR UNIVERSITY 41


Honorary degrees This year, we’re delighted to have awarded honorary degrees (or degrees honoris causa – as a ‘mark of honour’) to a range of people who have given distinguished service or brought distinction to the University, the City of Sheffield or the region. January 2020 The Rev Inderjit Bhogal, OBE (Hon LittD 2020) Methodist minister and founder of the City of Sanctuary Movement. George Ergatoudis (BA Architectural Studies 1986, Hon DMus 2020) Head of Music for Apple UK & Ireland. The Rev Inderjit Bhogal, OBE

George Ergatoudis

Professor Jackie Hunter, CBE (Hon DSc 2020) Board Director of BenevolentAI and a pioneer in bioscience research. Douglas Chi-Chui Young (BA Architectural Studies 1986, Hon LittD 2020) designer, founder and CEO of Hong Kong brand Goods Of Desire (G.O.D.). July 2020 Due to the global pandemic of coronavirus (COVID-19) the University had to postpone its July 2020 graduation ceremonies. Those who were going to receive honorary degrees during the summer graduation will be given the opportunity to receive them in person at a future date.

Professor Jackie Hunter, CBE

Obituaries We are sorry to report the deaths of the following former members of University staff in the past year: Emeritus Professor Bill Anderson a member of the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering from 1972 to 2005.

Douglas Chi-Chui Young

Bryan Coates a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography from 1958 to 1989. Dr Michael Dietrich a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics from 1992 to 2013. Professor Ron Johnston, OBE (Hon LittD 2002) former Professor of Geography and A minute’s silence was held at Sheffield Tigers RUFC in honour of the late Emeritus Professor Bill Anderson (left)

42 YOUR UNIVERSITY | 2020/2021

For further information on how to nominate someone for an honorary degree, please contact Miles Stevenson, Director for Honorary Graduates and Events:

Pro-Vice-Chancellor from 1974 to 1992. Dr Kirill Mackenzie a Reader in the School of Mathematics and Statistics from 1989 to 2020. David Maddison, Photographic Assistant and Field Storeman in the Department of Geography from 1970 to 2012. Professor John Page a member of the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering from 1960 to 1984.

Anthony Sampson a member of staff in the Department of Economics from 1966 to 1989. Dr Christine Sprigg a member of staff in the Institute of Work Psychology and the Management School from 1995 to 2019. Alumni and friends of the University may submit obituaries – for an alumnus, alumna or former member of staff – to be included on our website: alumni/obituaries. Please email alumni@sheffield. to share a tribute.

The Professor Robert Boucher

Distinguished Alumni Awards These awards acknowledge the achievements of alumni who have made outstanding contributions to business and community life. The awards were established in 2011 in memory of Professor Robert Boucher (Hon DEng 2009), the University’s 12th Vice-Chancellor. Further details can be found at alumni/our-alumni/ distinguished

Award winners 2019

Faye Savory (BMedSci Speech Science 2012) Faye is the founder and ‘Chief Sender of Hugs’ of her social enterprise BearHugs, which sends personalised ‘hug in a box’ gift hampers. The idea for the business came to Faye while she was seriously ill and received a package from a friend, which gave her a huge boost during her recovery. This also led her to promote flexible, accessible working, and provide job opportunities for people with disabilities and long-term health conditions, as well as campaigning to promote the issue more widely.

Lucie Lunt (née Cave) (BA English Literature 1995) Lucie is the Creative Editorial Director for commercial content across all Bauer Media brands, including Heat, Grazia and Closer magazines. As well as having a great understanding of audiences, she is also a talented interviewer, profiling the likes of James Corden, Gwyneth Paltrow and David Cameron. Most recently, she has led Bauer Media’s campaign to promote legislation for mental health first aid in the workplace, and to encourage employers to do more around mental health. Read Lucie’s profile on page 16.

Sheffield Alumni Volunteer of the Year Award Mark Ansell (BA Social Policy & Sociology 2006) Mark is a longstanding volunteer for the University, having given his time to support various activities and events since 2013. He has been a fantastic eMentor on the Careers Service eMentoring scheme, which involves a significant time commitment supporting a student for one-to-one mentoring. He has also provided strategic advice to the

University as a member of the Alumni Board. Most recently, he joined our Northern City Connections event, attending a networking session with widening participation students. Mark gives his time to the University whilst managing the demands of his busy job as a BBC journalist. 2020/2021 | YOUR UNIVERSITY 43


Staff and student

Honours and awards Staff and students from the University continue to be recognised nationally and internationally for their expertise. Iraitz Arrospide (Machining Science student) won the men’s 50km Ultramarathon World Championship and set a new European record. Professor Michael Barkham (Psychology) was awarded the Senior Distinguished Research Career Award by the Society for Psychotherapy Research. Aimee Barlow (Archaeology student) was awarded the Philip Rahtz Award by the Society for Medieval Archaeology for their PhD dissertation. Dr Andrew Beckerman (Animal and Plant Sciences) won the BES Award from the British Ecological Society in recognition of exceptional voluntary service to the Society and its community. Amelia Beckett (Journalism student) was the winner of the BJTC (Broadcast Journalism Training Council) Best Radio News Report for her piece: ‘Opera and Homelessness’. Professor David Beerling (Animal and Plant Sciences) was elected to Council of the Royal Society, a fellowship of the world’s most eminent scientists. Professor Sarah Blandy (Law) was announced as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences for the excellence and impact of her work through the use of social science for public benefit. Professor Richard Carwardine (Hon LittD 2015) (Former Professor in History) has been appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) for services to the study of American history in the UK and the USA. 44 YOUR UNIVERSITY | 2020/2021

Dr Dan Cogswell (MSc Statistics 2013) (Materials Science and Engineering) has been awarded a Future Leadership Fellowship by the funding body UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) including a grant to support their research into tool development for risk assuring the performance of a component. Professor Joan Cordiner (Chemical and Biological Engineering) has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Dr Claire Corkhill (Materials Science and Engineering) received the the Pam Liversidge OBE Award for Engineering at the 2020 Inspirational Women of Sheffield Awards. Dr Holly Croft (Animal and Plant Sciences) has been awarded a Future Leadership Fellowship by the funding body UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) including a grant to support their research into remote sensing technologies to understand plant interactions within the environment.

body UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) including a grant to support their research into the design and manufacture of ultra low/zero emission vehicles. Dr Victoria Habermeh (Social Sciences) won the 2019 Regional Studies Association (RSA) Best Paper Award for the journal Territory, Politics, Governance. Dr Guillaume Hautbergue (Neuroscience) was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology for his prominent contribution to the advancement of the biological sciences. Professor Jamie Hobbs (Physics) won a 2019 Institute of Physics (IOP) Phillips Award for his significant contributions to the IOP Biological Physics Group.

Professor Richard Eastell (Oncology and Metabolism) was awarded the Linda Edwards Award by the National Osteoporosis Society, its highest level of recognition, for his tireless and highly valued work in the field of osteoporosis. Dr Laura Ferraiuolo (Neuroscience) was awarded the 11th Paulo Gontijo Award for her work to investigate the causes and treatment of motor neurone disease. Dr Petros Golitsis (International Faculty) has been invited to receive the International Prize for Poetry ‘Povelja Morave’ (Moravian Charter) by the Association of Serbian Writers. Dr Dikai Guan (PhD Engineering Materials 2016) (Materials Science and Engineering) has been awarded a Future Leadership Fellowship by the funding

Dr Julie Hyde (Chemistry) was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by Advance HE for the outstanding impact of their teaching and support.

Professor Richard Jones (Physics and Astronomy) was elected to Council of the Royal Society, a fellowship of the world’s most eminent scientists. Professor Katherine Linehan (BSc Anatomy and Cell Biology 1997, PGCE 2003, MEd 2008) (Biomedical Science) was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by Advance HE for the outstanding impact of their teaching and support. Dr Sabine Little (PGCE 1999, MEd Networked Collaborative Learning 2002, MA Educational Research 2003, PhD Education 2006) (Education) was awarded the prestigious Brenda Eastwood Award by the UK Literacy Association in recognition of her work on multilingual communities. Dr Jiajia Liu (Physics and Astronomy) received the Alexander Chizhevsky Medal for his work on space weather and space climate. Hannah Makepeace (Journalism student) was the runner up of the BJTC Best TV News Report for their piece ‘Teenage Boy with Autism Wins National Award’. David McKown (Accommodation and Commercial Services) was appointed an MBE for services to Hospitality, Training and Education. Professor Petra Meier (ScHaRR) has been announced as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences for the excellence and impact of her work through the use of social science for public benefit. Professor Hilary Powers (Oncology and Metabolism) received the British Nutrition Foundation BNF Prize 2019 for their outstanding achievement in an area of nutrition. Professor Alasdair Rae (Urban Studies and Planning) was awarded the Bartholomew Globe by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. Emma Schlauder (Archaeology student) won the Fullbright Barzun Prize for Youth Engagement, including a grant to run projects related to her studies in her local community.

Professor Basil Sharrack (Neuroscience) and Professor John Snowden (Oncology and Metabolism) led a team from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust that was named the national winner of the NHS Future Award at the NHS Parliamentary Awards. Professor Dame Pamela Shaw (Neuroscience) has been awarded The Association of British Neurologists Medal in recognition of her major contribution to neurology and to the Association. Professor Derek Sinclair (Materials Science) received the Peter Day Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry for his outstanding contributions to, and advancement of, the field of Materials Chemistry. Kirsty Smitten (MChem Chemistry 2016) (Chemistry PhD student) was named in Forbes 30 under 30 Europe list for Science and Healthcare. Professor Robert Stern (Philosophy) was elected as a Fellow of the British Academy in recognition of his research into the history and ideas of Immanuel Kant, and postKantian European philosophy. Dr Maria Val Martin (Animal and Plant Sciences) has been awarded a Future Leadership Fellowship by the funding body UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) including a grant to support their research into removing CO2 from the atmosphere. Professor Gill Valentine (Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor) was named Senior Champion of the Year by the Stonewall Regional Awards (Yorkshire & Humber). Professor Meihong Wang and Dr Mathew Aneke (Chemical and Biological Engineering) were awarded the Nigeria Prize for Science 2019 for their work on Carbon Capture, Carbon Utilization, and Biomass Gasification and Energy Storage for Power Generation. Dr John Williams (Former Head of Physics) won a 2019 Institute of Physics (IOP) Phillips Award for his significant

contributions to the IOP Yorkshire branch committee and 45 years’ service. Dr Gary Wood (BA English Language with Linguistics 2005, PhD English Language & Linguistics 2016) (Mechanical Engineering) was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by Advance HE for the outstanding impact of their teaching and support.

Ala Archa Expedition team (Geography, Environmental Science, Biology, Medicine students) won bronze in the ‘Made in Sheffield’ award at the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival, for their film about the trip.

Sheffield iGEM team (Engineering) won Best Project in Track for their OPENLUX project at the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Foundation competition. SITraN, the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (Neuroscience) was awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for innovation in neuroscience. See page six for more details. The University’s Concourse space outside the Students’ Union won the award for Outdoor Lighting Project of the Year at the Lux Awards 2019 from the official magazine of the lighting industry. The University’s Engineering Heartspace won the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Social Impact Awards 2020 Yorkshire & Humber in the heritage and education categories. See page 21 for more details.

2020/2021 | YOUR UNIVERSITY 45


Dates for your diary Regrettably, the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected our calendar of events. We had to prioritise the safety of our guests and cancel a number of events in 2020; however, our Events Team are hard at work planning for how we can rearrange (or deliver virtually) as many of these as possible. Visit our Events web page for the latest updates on our upcoming events: There have, however, been many fantastic events in 2019 and early 2020. Below are a couple of highlights.

Alumni reception at the House of Lords Our 11th reception at the House of Lords proved as popular as ever, with a spread of alumni attending from the most recent graduates right through to those who had graduated decades ago. The event was hosted by the Rt Hon. the Lord Blunkett, together with our President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Koen Lamberts. Alumni also heard from Professor Oliver Bandmann, Professor of Neurology in the Department of Neuroscience, who captured the attention of our guests by explaining the astonishing research into Parkinson’s disease currently taking place at the University.

Lectures from the archives Over the years, many notable and distinguished guests have come to the University and delivered fascinating lectures. We have looked back through our archives and put together a selection of talks which we hope you’ll enjoy: 46 YOUR UNIVERSITY | 2020/2021

Sheffield alumni guest lecture with Dr Helen Sharman CMG, OBE In December 2019, alumna and Britain’s first astronaut Dr Helen Sharman (BSc Chemistry 1984, Hon DSc 2017) delivered a fascinating talk to 200 of her fellow alumni at the Royal Society, London. Helen’s lecture, titled ‘Out of This World’, took the audience through her journey into space, describing the training and preparation, the launch, how weightlessness feels and just what it is like living and working in space. All of this was accompanied by Helen’s own photos and her passionate and enthusiastic storytelling.

Exclusive benefits for alumni See for details

Are you making the best use of your alumni benefits? EVENTS



Reunions and events

Discount on sports facilities

Careers advice

Receive exclusive invitations to events both on and off campus:

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:

Wedding venue discount

Choose from four stunning wedding venues at the University of Sheffield, including Firth Court, and receive an alumni discount.

Inox Dine Discounted Concert tickets for alumni

Graduates of the University are eligible for a 10% discount off the ticket price for all University concerts. Tickets must be purchased online via TicketSource through the University of Sheffield Concerts website. 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. We have something to astonish and delight music lovers of all tastes and ages.

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. Sheffield alumni receive a 10% discount on the Inox lounge menu.

You can continue to use the Careers Service and receive bespoke careers advice up to three years after graduation.You can make an appointment to visit us on campus or we can offer support remotely via phone or Skype. Visit careerconnect. to search for jobs or make an appointment.


As a Sheffield graduate you can benefit from a discount on tuition fees if you decide to study with us at postgraduate level. You could save 10%, 15% or 20% depending on the grade of degree you received, see the website for more details and terms and conditions: alumni-rewards 2020/2021 | YOUR UNIVERSITY 47


REASONS TO BE PROUD A global community

From Brussels to Shenzhen, Chicago to Dublin, you’ve maintained your connection with Sheffield by meeting up at alumni events in 21 cities across the globe.

Highest national honour

In recognition of its status as a renowned centre of excellence in neuroscience research and teaching, the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN) has been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize.

Opportunity for all

Over 620 students from lowerincome and disadvantaged backgrounds now have the opportunity to fulfil their potential at Sheffield thanks to life-changing scholarships funded by your generous donations.

Our green campus

Did you know, there are 10,500 trees on campus? Helping to maintain Sheffield’s reputation as England’s greenest city, they also provide health-enriching green space for students and staff.

Time matters

We’re in the Top 100

We ranked as one of the world’s Top 100 Universities and 16th in the UK in the 2021 QS World University Rankings.

Engineering’s new heart

Sporting success

Students competing in the 2020 British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) National Championships brought home our largest ever haul of 12 medals from the annual event.

Linking two of the University’s oldest buildings under a striking glass canopy, the new Engineering Heartspace has been shortlisted for two prestigious awards by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Graduate change makers

Through a progressive sustainability strategy, we’re committed to producing the next generation of graduates who will go out into the world equipped to tackle pressing environmental, economic and social challenges.

Giving the gift of time is a fantastic way of helping the next generation of Sheffield alumni. This year, 5,300 students benefitted from the support of 1,000 alumni in 53 countries.

New life from old mattresses You generously donated £227,000 of the £250,000 target in support of our Desert Garden appeal, enabling Syrian refugees to grow fresh food in some of the planet’s harshest conditions using discarded mattress foam in place of soil.

Responding to COVID-19

Staff and students from across the University are working to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on society with a rapid response through crucial research, innovation and collaborations.

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