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Tag Archive: Regular Post

  1. New building honours Esther

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    Following a 2018 Leeds magazine story, the University will name a new building after a graduate who saved the lives of intellectuals fleeing persecution. The Esther Simpson building is under construction on Lyddon Terrace. It will include space for the business and law schools as well as a central teaching area.

    Read Esther’s inspirational story at https://alumni.leeds.ac.uk/news/grace-under-pressure

  2. Insightful career experience

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    Insight days enable students to better understand what a career involves, helping them develop their skills, and work out what career they might be suited to. The days involve visiting a workplace, meeting different staff, and often taking part in exercises or workplace activity.

    Many of these days are set up thanks to alumni who work with their employer and colleagues to organise the days. Thanks to alumni, students benefited from insight days at a wide variety of organisations last year, including video game developer Square Enix, wealth management company LGT Vestra, Longley Farm dairy, the Ministry of Housing and Wigan Council.

  3. Still partying at 80

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    Since it opened in 1939, the Old Bar in the LUU Building has been the social venue of choice (or convenience) for thousands of students. Once alleged – but never conclusively proven – to have the longest bar in Europe, it has been refurbished many times but never lost its character. In December LUU held a 1930s-style party to celebrate the Bar’s 80th birthday.

  4. Roadmap to a carbon neutral city

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    A new report, produced by Professor Andy Gouldson and his team in the School of Earth and Environment, sets out how Leeds can become carbon neutral by 2030. It outlines innovative measures including switching the heating network to decarbonised hydrogen, retrofitting domestic, public and commercial buildings and promoting ambitious levels of walking and cycling.

  5. Peering on their peregrinations

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    Get ready to binge watch Leeds’ peregrines in their custom-built nest high on a Parkinson tower ledge. Last year, our popular nest-cam provided an engrossing story of four fluffy chicks, from incubation to their first flight. Meanwhile, students, staff and local birdwatchers congregated on Woodhouse Lane for a chance to see the world’s fastest birds.

    Watch the nest this year at alumni.leeds.ac.uk/peregrines

  6. Historic collection

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    A sea chest from a ship commanded by Lord Nelson is one of the most outstanding pieces in a remarkable collection bequeathed to the University by former antique dealer John Victor Bedford. Originally concentrated on the history of furniture, the scope of Mr Bedford’s lifetime of collecting grew to incorporate all aspects of the classic English home – interiors, furnishings, paintings, drapery, lighting, architecture and gardens.

    Now a gift from the trustees of his will is enabling these resources to be opened up for scholarship, research and public engagement in the Brotherton Library.

    Find out more about leaving a gift to Leeds in your Will, at campaign.leeds.ac.uk/your-legacy

  7. An exercise in wellbeing

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    Mental health is an important issue for the University and our students. Over the past year, student demand for our student counselling services has increased by 35%. Gifts from alumni to the Footsteps Fund have established the innovative Lifestyle and Wellbeing Programme, which uses exercise and physical activity to support students’ overall health – tackling issues around stress, diet, lifestyle and sleep. Thanks to alumni, 183 students benefited from this programme last year.

    Find out more about the Footsteps Fund at campaign at www.campaign.leeds.ac.uk/footsteps-fund

  8. Supporting children to achieve

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    Established with donor support, our IntoUniversity centres are raising aspirations and attainment among young people in inner-city Leeds. In 2018 – 19, almost 4,000 children aged 7 to 18 took part in sessions run by the Beeston and Harehills centres. Of those who were school leavers, 70% progressed to university in 2019.

  9. Accolades for the gender agenda

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    The University’s commitment to gender equality has been recognised with a total of eight awards under the Athena SWAN charter. In November, Leeds Medical School was the first medical school in England to achieve a gold award. The national charter recognises commitment to gender equality in terms of representation; progress of students; journey through career milestones; and working environment for staff.

  10. Oral link to arthritis

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    Research has shown higher rates of gum disease and increased levels of an oral bacterium in individuals at risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. This suggests both may be triggers for the development of the disease. The work, led by Dr Kulveer Mankia, concludes that gum disease may be a legitimate target to explore for preventive intervention in rheumatoid arthritis.

  11. Therapy by robot

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    Your gifts to support stroke rehabilitation robotics are pushing forward development of the MyPAM Robot, which provides valuable exercise to those with reduced arm function. Alumni have donated £77,835, enabling our undergraduates to refine the video games at the heart of the robot, with the aim of optimising its performance in upcoming clinical trials.

  12. Mentoring future leaders

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    One-to-one mentoring can give students the know-how to thrive in their future career and help them work out what they want to do after graduation. Since 2016, 37 alumni have taken part in the Alumni Leadership Mentoring Programme by helping develop students’ leadership, networking and communication skills in a professional and supportive environment.

    Through one-to-one meetings, mentors help students to explore their strengths and weaknesses and how to make the most of them in a professional setting. The mentors also support students with their communications and relationship building skills. Our students feed back that the programme helps to build their confidence as they begin their career.

    Leadership mentors are just some of the 994 Leeds alumni who have given more than 14,000 hours of mentoring time for Leeds over the last three years.

    Find out more about alumni volunteering at alumni.leeds.ac.uk/volunteering

  13. First-hand career support

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    Senior alumni across the world are helping recent graduates by opening their networks, sharing contacts and creating development opportunities. Last year, nearly 170 recent graduates learned from alumni volunteers about their chosen field of work at sector-specific workshops in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhao and Hong Kong.

    Find out more about alumni volunteering at alumni.leeds.ac.uk/volunteering

  14. Wolfson Centre tackles major health challenges

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    A new research centre brings together expertise from the universities of Leeds and Bradford with Bradford Teaching Hospitals. Based at Bradford Royal Infirmary, the Wolfson Centre for Applied Health Research will address key priorities – childhood, ageing and safe care. Professor Mark Mon-Williams, the University’s academic lead for the centre, said: “Our goal is to bring together researchers from a range of disciplines to improve health outcomes for everyone.”

  15. A weather eye on wildlife

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    Scientists are developing a technique to monitor insects using weather radar. Researchers from Leeds, the University of Exeter and the National Centre for Atmospheric Science are developing machine learning to automatically recognise and quantify the diversity of insects within weather data – unlocking a treasure trove of information about our wildlife at a time when insect populations crucial to the food chain are falling sharply.

  16. Gentleman Jack and Jill

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    A book by Honorary Research Fellow Dr Jill Liddington inspired the hit BBC1 drama series Gentleman Jack. Dr Liddington’s book, Female Fortune: the Anne Lister Diaries 1833–36, explores the story of the 19th century Yorkshire heiress, scholar, traveller, businesswoman and LGBTQ+ trailblazer, through her detailed and part-coded diaries. The book inspired Bafta-winning writer Sally Wainright to script the series, which also featured historian Anne Choma (MA English Literature 1994) as an adviser for the production.

  17. Let’s get digital

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    A major international research centre into digital technologies in the workplace is being established at the universities of Leeds and Sussex. The £6.5 million Digital Futures at Work Research Centre (DigIT) will focus on the impact of digital technologies on employers, employees, job seekers and regulators. Its research will provide recommendations about how digital technology can be used effectively in the world of work.

  18. The crystal amaze

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    This amazing image of paracetamol crystal exhibiting colours under polarised light won a string of accolades for PhD student Alexandru Moldovan. He uses computational tools and atomic force microscopy to examine the interactions between crystal surfaces.

  19. Researchers’ Midas touch

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    The thinnest free-standing gold ever produced has been created at Leeds. It could have widespread applications in medicine, electronics and chemistry. Flexible gold flakes, just two atoms thick, could speed up reactions in a range of industrial processes and form the basis of components for bendable screens, electronic inks and transparent conducting displays. The material could also form the basis of medical diagnostics and water purification systems.

  20. Tailored prognosis

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    For patients and their families, the moment of a cancer diagnosis is something that will be remembered vividly for years. Giving patients detailed information is crucial in helping them come to terms with the diagnosis.

    But no two cases are quite the same. Doctors currently have only limited ability to tailor their advice on survival to individuals. Research supported by Geoff Oatley (Gas Engineering 1959) is mining a wealth of NHS data to analyse the impact of pre-existing health conditions on cancer survival, which will help to develop a tool for clinicians to give a more accurate prognosis to each client.

  21. A sole symbol of horror

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    From one side, it’s the sole of a child’s shoe; turned over, a chilling symbol of the Holocaust. The sole was cut from a Jewish religious scroll when synagogues were looted after the deportation of Salonika’s Jews to Auschwitz – and is now the subject of research at Leeds. The sole is one of a number of Jewish objects and rare books amassed by pioneering scholar Cecil Roth. After his death, the University acquired the collection, which is now being made available online thanks to donor funding. Outreach activities will promote engagement with the collection, highlighting Roth’s contribution to the study of Jewish life.

  22. The kindness of a stranger

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    Estranged from her father and having lost her mother to cancer, Sustainability and Environmental Management student Meegan Worcester studied for her A-levels while sleeping in the living room of her brother’s student house in Nottingham. “I didn’t have a desk so I’d stay on after school to revise,” she says.

    She was determined to get to Leeds, having “fallen in love with the place” at an open day. After achieving high A-level grades she enrolled in 2018: “My brother and I came up on the train, but when he left I felt very alone. Other girls’ parents were saying they’d send money and visit. Everything was sorted for them.”

    Meegan threw herself into the Plus Programme, a year-round suite of tailored support for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. “I joined lots of their Freshers’ Week events because I knew there would be people like me there.” There were. Meegan is one of more than 800 students whose studies are currently supported by a scholarship funded by alumni and other donors. “This helps financially, of course,” she says. “But it’s also good to know that a stranger thinks you’re worthy of support.”

    Find out more about supporting scholarships at campaign.leeds.ac.uk

  23. Welcoming new alumni

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    Leeds welcomed almost 3,000 new members into our alumni community in December. Students, supported by friends and family, graduated at 21 ceremonies over seven days.

    The new graduates included 1,000 international students from 50 different countries. The graduates received an alumni pin to celebrate their new status as Leeds alumni.

    They join 8,000 graduates from earlier in 2019, swelling our alumni community to almost 280,000 people across the world. Leeds has one of the largest and most diverse alumni communities of any UK university.

  24. Keeping cool

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    A thirsty moment in a Leeds lecture theatre sparked the idea of a reusable bottle for people who like their water cold. With support from the Leeds enterprise scheme, James Butterfield (Management 2011) developed a water bottle that keeps its contents cold. After graduating, James launched Chilly’s reusable bottles from a market stall in London. Now his company is one of Britain’s fastest-growing private companies, according to The Sunday Times.

  25. Testing times

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    As an expert in food safety, Emma Bradley (Chemistry 1992, PhD Bio-organic Chemistry 1996) helps protect the UK’s food chain. Emma leads a team of 100 scientists who research food safety and food fraud. They test for biological and chemical contaminants in food before it reaches our plates. She is Head of Food Quality and Safety at Fera Science, a large organisation that aims to support and develop a sustainable food chain and protect the global community from biological and chemical risks. Along with her expertise in analytical chemistry, Emma’s job calls for a detailed knowledge of national and international food regulations.

  26. Moving along

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    Tony Mannix (Architectural Engineering 1984) was awarded the UK Warehousing Association’s 2019 Chairman’s Award for his lasting contribution to the logistics industry. As Chief Executive Officer of Clipper Logistics, he has seen the company build partnerships with key retail companies. “In retail, the speed of change can be daunting,” says Tony, “and retailers need an agile, multi-channel logistics partner who can help keep them ahead of the retail curve.” Also driving the Sheffield-based company’s success is Deputy Chief Financial Officer Richard Crofton (Mathematics 2000).

    Through Tony’s lead, Clipper provides career opportunities to ex-offenders, people from minority groups and those living with physical and mental health challenges.

  27. Family matters

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    As a new mum, Shazia Mustafa (Mathematics 1997) wanted to return to work. She found it difficult to brainstorm ideas whilst meeting the needs of her daughter. “I wished for a place I could work, whilst she was cared for nearby,” she says. That’s when the idea for Third Door, the UK’s first co-working and flexible business hybrid, was born. Third Door allows members to work upstairs whilst their children are downstairs in an Ofsted nursery.

  28. Training for life

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    The oldest working railway in the world, the Middleton Railway in south Leeds, has a long association with the University. Back in 1969, Charles Milner (Chemical Engineering 1971) and Malcolm Phillips (Chemical Engineering 1973) were among the members of the Leeds University Railway and Transport Society who helped club together to buy a diesel engine for the railway. “The loco cost £75,” remembers Charles, whose involvement with the railway continues to this day. As Chairman of the Middleton Railway Trust, he is overseeing celebrations to mark its Diamond Jubilee. During the weekend of 20 and 21 June, historic rolling stock will hit the tracks to mark the 60th anniversary of the Trust’s first day of operation. If you have memories of the Railway Society, or any student club or society, please share them at alumni.leeds.ac.uk/society

    To find out more about the celebration weekend, visit: https://www.middletonrailway.org.uk/index.php/special-events

  29. The hammer falls

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    Working for renowned London auctioneers Bonhams puts Peter Rees (English and Religious Studies 1994) in close proximity to some of the world’s finest works of art. As Director of the 227-year-old auction house, he’s been involved in particular with Victorian and 19th century European art. Bonhams has achieved a number of world auction records for artists including Archibald Thorburn, Dorothea Sharp and Stanhope Forbes.

  30. Top of the shop

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    Seen here with the Queen celebrating Sainsbury’s 150th anniversary, the Chairman of Sainsbury’s and RSA Insurance, Martin Scicluna (Accounting 1973, Hon LLD 2008) has come a long way since his student days at Leeds. Martin, recalls how, as a graduating student, Leeds gave him a career boost. “It was clear then that my firm held Leeds in very high regard and that obviously helped my employment prospects!”

  31. Civil president

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    This year Rachel Skinner (MSc Transport Planning and Engineering 2001) is set to become the youngest ever president of the Institution of Civil Engineers. She is currently Executive Director and UK Head of Transport at the global engineering firm WSP. Rachel also finds time to be patron of the Women in Transport network and to encourage girls to study STEM subjects.

  32. Cutting edge tech

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    Enterprising alumni have developed some well-known and useful technologies for consumers.

    The popular money-saving website vouchercodes.co.uk was founded by Duncan Jennings (Management Studies), Max Jennings (German and Philosophy 2001) and Richard Foister (Economics 2003). In 2016, they went on to found Hoop, an app that has already had a million downloads. Families with children under 12 use Hoop to plan child-friendly activities.

    Meanwhile, Trevor Hardcastle (PhD Process, Environmental and Materials Engineering 2014) and Paul Hallett (PGCert Business 2014) are modernising pet healthcare with their start-up Vet-AI. They are developing new technologies that aim to prevent and predict conditions developing in animals. Their app Joii provides symptom checkers, video consultations with vets and free nurse clinics and will provide AI in the near future.

    And finally, JustPark Founder Anthony Eskinazi (Mathematics 2005) together with Lisa Eskinazi (Human Resource Management 2004) and Thomas Welton (Cert HE Mathematics 2009) have made it easier for people to park their cars. Described as an AirBnB for drivers, JustPark allows people with empty driveways to connect with motorists needing a parking space.

  33. Stay healthy with a tickle

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    Tickling the ear with a small electrical current may help to slow down one of the effects of ageing, according to new research. Scientists found that a short daily therapy delivering a painless electrical current to the ear led to physiological and wellbeing improvements. They believe it could help protect against chronic diseases of ageing – high blood pressure, heart disease and atrial fibrillation.

  34. Protein key to brain diseases

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    A protein complex plays a key role in preventing the build-up of toxic plaques in the brain linked to neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease, according to new research.

    Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s are linked to proteins that “clump together” in brain cells, causing progressive dysfunction and death of the cells. Working with international colleagues, Leeds researchers discovered that the nascent polypeptide-associated complex (NAC) helps prevent this happening. Professor Sheena Radford FRS, who led the Leeds team, said: “By understanding the mechanism of how NAC works, we are closer to developing a molecule to slow down or even prevent degenerative diseases.”

  35. Examined by robots

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    Colonoscopy is a crucial weapon in the early diagnosis of colorectal cancer, one of the biggest killers in the west. But it can be a difficult procedure, as Pietro Valdastri, Professor of Robotics and Autonomous Systems, says: “It involves pushing a tube through the large intestine and is usually carried out under anaesthetic. Often, it becomes too painful to proceed or fails altogether.”

    The alternative, developed by Pietro and his team, takes a different approach, using a robotic arm of controllable magnets to draw a thinner tube through the intestine. Being able to pivot its camera in three dimensions enables surgeons to better navigate and get a clearer picture of tell-tale polyps, which need to be removed. Clinical trials begin at St James’s Hospital in Leeds this year and, if successful, the technique could become a routine procedure in five years.

  36. Netball star

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    Natalie Haythornthwaite (Linguistics and Phonetics 2014) is a netball globetrotter. Not only did she win Commonwealth gold in 2018 with the England Roses, but in 2019 she won the Suncorp Super Netball title with the NSW Swifts in Australia and a bronze medal with England at the Netball World Cup in Liverpool. Natalie recently captained England’s Vitality Roses in the Netball Nations Cup.

  37. Thanks a million

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    One million pieces of single-use plastic have been removed from use across campus a year on from the launch of the joint University and LUU pledge to go single-use plastic-free by 2023. The target was set to inspire staff and students to drive operational changes and encourage innovative research.

  38. Make friends, influence people

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    “My Leeds experience served to polish my negotiating skills,” says Maltese diplomat Marisa Farrugia (PhD Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies 2002). She brings these skills to her new role as Deputy Secretary-General for Social and Civil Affairs at the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). “Often, winning a person over is more pivotal than winning an argument to maintain long-term, honest relationships.” The UfM is an intergovernmental organisation that brings together countries of the European Union and 15 countries of the southern and eastern Mediterranean.

  39. In deep water

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    A conference in the Great Hall marked the tenth anniversary of renowned interdisciplinary research group water@leeds, one of the largest centres for water research in the world. Collaborators in academia and industry joined speakers from water@leeds to highlight the impact of the research on society and the economy. Changing climate and rainfall patterns, growing global populations, shifting land use patterns and increasing water consumption all provide challenges that water@leeds is helping to address.

  40. Give a little back

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    There’s something about Leeds that brings out the best in people, as demonstrated by these altruistic alumni.

    Orangutans in Sumatra have an effective ally in Panut Hadisiswoyo (MA Communication Studies 2004) who is Founding Director of the Orangutan Information Center, an NGO that conserves and protects both the animals and their forest homes.

    Through Campaign Bootcamp, Johnny Chatterton (Economics and Geography 2007) trains people from marginalised groups to run campaigns that challenge injustice and inequality. The Obama Foundation awarded him a fellowship and is helping him to grow the charity significantly.

    At the age of 25, Joseph Walsh (Social Work 2016) gave a kidney to a stranger through the kidney-sharing scheme. When he donated his kidney to one patient, their friend or family member gave their kidney to another patient. Joseph now raises awareness about altruistic kidney donation.

    Agnes Frimston (English 2008) heard a woman sobbing in a public toilet stall beside her. She soothed the woman, who had recently lost her mother, by reading aloud the poem “To the Woman Crying Uncontrollably in the Next Stall” by Kim Addonizio. When Agnes tweeted about the incident, she prompted hundreds of others to describe how strangers had supported them in tough times.

    Agnes Frimston

  41. Climate commitment

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    The University of Leeds has fully divested from significant fossil fuel extractors and has set out seven bold principles it will adopt to help tackle the climate crisis. The principles have been approved by the University’s governing body, its Council, and outline the ambitious steps Leeds is taking to support the global transition to a low-carbon future. They commit to a 2030 net-zero carbon footprint target and a drive to achieve no direct carbon emissions by 2050. They also include a commitment to reorient research and teaching away from the fossil fuel sector over time.

  42. A gateway to discovery

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    Walking up Woodhouse Lane from Leeds city centre you will notice a striking new route into the University campus. On the site of the old Fenton Street, Discovery Way leads up past the EC Stoner Building and towards the Roger Stevens lecture theatre block. Located on Discovery Way is Nexus, which brings business and research together in the same building.

    The new £40 million Nexus building has five floors of offices, labs, event spaces and a café, forming a hub for the city’s growing innovation community.

    Businesses can join the Nexus community and even locate their business in the building’s high-quality office and lab workspace. Open for less than a year, this growing community already includes a diverse range of innovators, start-up companies, SMEs, business advisory partners and funding networks.

    The Nexus team builds relationships between business and the University to develop partnerships that drive economic and societal impact. The team works to connect these organisations to the right support to allow their ventures to thrive. Whether that’s research and innovation collaborations, funding opportunities, recruitment or continuing professional development.

    Find out more at nexus.leeds.co.uk