An innovative project to improve the Roger Stevens Building cooling pond will enhance the landscape and provide data for environmental research and teaching. The imaginative scheme features floating ‘islands’ containing a range of plants to increase biodiversity and enable ecosystems to flourish. These will also improve natural water quality and reduce operational costs. Sensors within the pool will provide live data on water quality and a variety of environmental parameters. Fans of the pond’s resident ducks need not fear, however. The duck house will be there to welcome them back when they return in the spring.
Leeds has been voted one of the top universities in the UK for student satisfaction. The results come from the independent National Student Survey 2018, one of the key indicators of how students rate their time at university. Final-year students scored Leeds 88 per cent for overall satisfaction, putting the University joint first in the Russell Group in that category. Leeds also came top in the Russell Group for teaching.
In October our sport teams beat Leeds Beckett University in an annual competition that dates back to 2004 – when we called our arch rivals Leeds Met. An intense final day of the Leeds Varsity competition culminated with our Gryphons raising the trophy for the first time ever. In the evening, Headingley Carnegie Stadium erupted with cheers from Leeds students when the University’s Men’s Rugby Union team beat Beckett with a nail-biting 30-28 score.
“Change is needed,” says fashion expert Patrick Grant (Materials Science 1994) about his chosen industry. Patrick, who presented the Leeds Alumni Voices lecture in October, explored the changing face of clothing manufacturing. Beginning with the mills of Victorian England, Patrick showed how our clothes are now seen as cheap and disposable, manufacture has been outsourced overseas, and the environment and social impact this has had.
Patrick made a mark in fashion when he reversed the fortunes of a Savile Row tailor which he still runs today. He discussed issues of sustainability and clothing with students during his visit to the School of Design, home to Leeds’ Textiles research. Patrick’s company, Community Clothing, is returning textiles manufacture to the UK in his Blackburn factory. Patrick also reprises his role as judge on the BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee, which returns to TV this year.
The University and Leeds University Union have pledged to become single-use plastic-free by 2023. We will map current plastic use, with a view to making catering and offices single-use plastic-free by 2020 and laboratories by 2023, working with suppliers to phase out plastic products coming onto campus. Staff and students are also making their own #2023plasticfree pledge on social media. Leeds scientists are exploring future use of plastics, from developing the next generation of biodegradable plastics to improving recycling processes and how after-use plastic can be better managed within cities.
In September 20-year-old American Eric Lu won the Leeds International Piano Competition, widely regarded as one of the most prestigious contests in the world.
In addition to the £25,000 cash prize and the Dame Fanny Waterman Gold Medal, Eric received a recording contract and a host of performance engagements with some of the world’s premiere venues and orchestras. Globally-renowned pianist, educator and philanthropist Lang Lang presented the prizes. Lang Lang (top right) received an honorary degree from the University as part of the evening.
The event was a glittering finale to the triennial piano competition which – with the University as its principal partner – has seen every aspect of the instrument celebrated by a wider audience than ever before. The 2018 competition saw 12 imaginatively decorated pianos pop up across the city in the Leeds Piano Trail. Our very own Parkinson Court played host to one piano with impromptu performances from staff and students to be heard throughout the run-up to the competition final.
Lang Lang receives his honorary degree from Leeds
Leeds is undertaking 53 global projects thanks to funding from the Global Challenges Research Fund and the Newton Fund. Leeds is one of the top three universities to receive funding.
Here are some of the projects.
Leeds is working with researchers in China’s Tianjin University to develop a “£2 a go” portable device to help detect gastric cancer.
Alongside African partners, Leeds is developing the skills of radio astronomers in sub-Saharan Africa so they’ll be able to participate in the building of the world’s largest radio telescope.
Working with activist citizens, NGOs and human rights defenders, the programme is developing counter-kidnapping resources including a handbook, support for families of kidnap victims and a secret alerting system app.
Based in Cambodia, Columbia, Kosovo, Rwanda and South Africa, participants use the arts to help post-conflict societies face their past.
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