Major philanthropic gift from WoodNext Foundation to accelerate research into Earth’s ice ages at Southampton
The University of Southampton has received a donation of £1.9 million from the WoodNext Foundation, a component fund administered by Greater Houston Community Foundation, to study the Earth’s long-term climate cycles.
The significant donation will fund research that hopes to reveal how Earth’s climate has behaved over the past billion years, during times when the planet experienced severe ice ages. This knowledge could prove to be crucial in understanding future climate response and the potential impact of mitigation strategies.
The study aims to develop a data-driven understanding of Earth’s ice ages, investigating how multiple factors—like the Earth’s orbit and surface environmental changes—have combined through time to influence the intensity of climate change.
Honorary Degree for music superstar Will Champion
In January, the drummer from one of the world’s most famous bands made a visit to Southampton to receive his Honorary Doctorate in Music.
Will Champion is most well known for being the drummer and backing vocalist for global sensation Coldplay. Since forming in 1996 the band have won a whopping seven Grammy Awards, nine Brit Awards, and sold over 100 million albums worldwide, making them the most successful group of the 21st century.
Having built up a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the music industry, Will returned to the place he grew up to talk to current music students about what influences the band’s music, creative processes, and enduring success.
While receiving this honour, Will went on to say: “I’m extremely grateful to receive an honorary doctorate. It was a lovely ceremony and a nice opportunity to see the next generation of Southampton-based musicians.”
Watch the video of Will’s visit.
New funding for head and neck cancer research
Researchers at the University of Southampton have secured funding to improve immunotherapy treatment for head and neck cancer. The new £1.38m programme, funded by Cancer Research UK, will be led by Professor Gareth Thomas and Dr Chris Hanley.
The research will look into how Cancer Associated Fibroblasts (CAFs), cancer-hijacked cells that protect tumours from the immune system’s defences, manipulate the immune microenvironment in head and neck cancer.
Over the last decade, the rates of head and neck cancer have increased by 20 per cent in the UK. The disease is difficult to treat and while surgery and radiotherapy are available, the five-year survival rate is between 50 and 60 per cent.
Investigating the different types of CAFs found within tumours could lead to developing novel therapies to use as part of cancer treatment, improving the survival rate of head and neck cancer patients.
Professor Thomas, based at the Centre for Cancer Immunology, started CAF research about 10 years ago and last year started the first clinical trial testing a potential drug that targets CAF. The team hope this latest funding from Cancer Research UK will further the work and produce similar results.
Helping our hedgehogs stay healthy
The University has shown its commitment to its small spiky friends this springtime by achieving Gold Accreditation for its hedgehog friendly campus.
The award, organised and run by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, recognises a number of changes the University has made to its campuses to make them friendly for hedgehogs and other vulnerable species. Improvements include log piles, wildlife surveys and hedgehog friendly landscaping. Since the University received silver accreditation last year, it has also installed a hedgehog crossing sign on University Road and created a hedgehog corner in Valley Gardens.
These efforts have resulted in a significant increase in hedgehog sightings on campus and have helped to ensure that this important species continues to thrive.
President of the Southampton Hedgehog Friendly Campus Society and third year Zoology student, Holly McIndoe, says: “Here at the Hedgehog Friendly Campus Society, we have been working persistently alongside the University, grounds team and Southampton City Council to make our campus safer for hedgehogs”
The University of Southampton is proud to create and enhance its green spaces and will continue to do so for the benefit of local wildlife and the University community.
Pandemic PPE in the press
Earlier this year, Professor Paul Elkington appeared on BBC News discussing the creation of the PeRSo respirator to combat the world’s desperate need for PPE at the height of the pandemic.
Professor Elkington spoke to the BBC about how his team approached the problem of dwindling supplies of PPE back in March 2020. Paul said “I’m a lung doctor, and by mid-March 2020 we realised the process we had to protect our staff was not going to be sustainable. We were initially wearing disposable FFP3 masks, gowns and visors, but within a few weeks it was obvious we weren’t going to be able to maintain those supplies.”
To combat this serious lack of protective equipment Paul and his colleague, engineering Professor Hywel Morgan, led a team who developed the PeRSo, a personal, battery-powered respirator device worn over the head and fitted with a replaceable hepa (high-efficiency particulate absorbing) filter, which sterilises incoming air.
Priced at around £225 each, over time it became clear that not only was PeRSo more comfortable and efficient, but it was more cost effective versus disposable PPE.
Thanks are due to our community of alumni and supporters who donated to the coronavirus response fund, which supported rapid response projects through the height of the pandemic. This truly amazing example of sector-leading medical and engineering innovation would not have been possible without your support.
Read more about PeRSo.
Winchester School of Art Expansion
Going back to its historical roots, the University of Southampton has moved back into the Winchester Guildhall after vacating the building almost 60 years ago. This new development in the Winchester West Wing will house leading-edge fashion education, providing a dedicated space for Fashion students.
The development is an investment in the importance of Arts and Humanities education and the opportunity for interdisciplinary research and knowledge exchange.
The move will bring the Winchester School of Art back to its original home in this Victorian era building. The stone engraving ‘School of Art’ still remains above the West Wing entrance.
The Grade II listed civic offices have largely been redundant since the Covid pandemic in 2020. The University will take over four storeys, turning the space into Southampton’s International Home for Fashion Futures.
Dr Yasmin K. Sekhon Dhillon, Head of the Department of Fashion and Textiles says: “We are extremely delighted with Winchester West Wing, especially because of its historic connections with Winchester School of Art. This space will be central in the development of key projects, debates and initiatives that encapsulate the future of fashion.”
We were greatly saddened by the news of the death of Her Majesty The Queen earlier this month.
We were honoured to be the first University to be granted a Royal Charter by The Queen, two months after her accession to the throne in 1952.
The University joined the rest of the nation in mourning, flying the University flag at half-mast as a mark of our respect during the formal mourning period, and closing for the state funeral on 19th September.
This year saw the University celebrate its 70th anniversary, and on Saturday 14th May we welcomed over 300 alumni back to Highfield Campus for a special celebration event.
The day featured talks from our experts in medical research, and alumnus and Pro-Chancellor Jon Sopel, as well as tours of the campus, opportunities to reconnect with old friends and a quiz to test our guests’ knowledge of all things Southampton. Below are just a few photos from this very special event.
We are delighted by the news that the University of Southampton ranked 78th in the QS World University Rankings 2023, this reaffirms Southampton’s global status in the top 100.
University of Southampton President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mark E. Smith said: “I’m delighted with the consolidation of our position in the top 80 universities in the world and would like to thank everyone for their dedication and commitment that is integral to our success.”
Many thanks to all those that took part in the QS Survey.
The University welcomed Her Excellency, Dame Susan Dilys Dougan GCMG OBE the Governor General of St Vincent and the Grenadines, an alumna of Southampton, on the 14th of March.
Dame Susan met with academics from the Southampton Education School and Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute.
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our well-loved and respected colleague, Professor George Stevenson who passed away peacefully in Oxfordshire on 1st July.
During his career, George pioneered the idea that antibodies could be used to treat cancer and along with his wife, Professor Freda Stevenson, established the Tenovus Cancer Research Group at the University of Southampton. Southampton continued George’s world-leading cancer immunology research and, thanks to the support of the alumni and supporter community, opened the UK’s first Centre for Cancer Immunology in 2018.
Outside of work, George led a busy social life, enjoying squash, chess and understanding how things work, especially his favourite subject – clocks, which he spent time building and repairing.
He will be greatly missed by his family and friends including his wife Freda and three sons, James, Philip and Neil.
Success for International Southampton Alumni at the 2022 British Council Study UK Alumni Awards
The British Council Study UK Alumni Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of international alumni, who are making a significant difference to their regions, countries, and communities in the fields of business and innovation, science and sustainability, culture and creativity and social action.
This year was hugely successful for the University: we had five national finalists from Nigeria, Jordan and India and two national winners in Nigeria and India. For the first time, we also had a finalist in the Global Award category – one of 28 alumni selected from tens of thousands of nominations around the world!
Jordan: Annalle Abuammar (MSc. Artificial Intelligence, 2020) – finalist, Business and Innovation category
India: Rohit Mukul (LLB, 2017), – winner, Business and Innovation category
Yeshwanth Raj Parasmal (MBA, 2007) – finalist, Business and Innovation category
Nigeria: Oluwafemi Adedipe (MSc. Business Strategy and Innovation, 2016) – winner, Business and Innovation category.
Damilola Teidi (MSc. Business Strategy and Innovation, 2014) – finalist, Business and Innovation category
Congratulations to all of our finalists and winners!
Yeshwanth Raj Parasmal (MBA, 2007) – finalist
In addition to showcasing the achievements of our alumni, the awards also raised the profile of our university internationally, highlighting the world class talent of our graduates and our commitment to changing the world for the better.
The British Council Study UK Alumni Awards 2023 open for nominations from 1st September. For more information, please visit the British Council Study UK website.
Yeshwanth, a global finalist for the Business and Innovation Alumni Award 2022 shares how his MBA from the University of Southampton prepared him to launch India’s first online school – 21K School – to assist with the delivery of online classes during the pandemic.
The SURNU (Southampton University Royal Navy Unit) are holding a celebratory 50th anniversary reunion event and are searching for the midshipmen in this photo.
Southampton University Royal Naval Unit – 50 years anniversary 22 October 2022 – Please contact Nigel Newnham – email@example.com
Dr Sheida Afshan from the School of Engineering at the University of Southampton has been awarded a prestigious Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship for work that promises benefits to society and economy.
The Fellowship, announced by the Royal Academy of Engineering, will enable Dr Afshan to specialise on the use of stainless steel metallic cylinders for the storage and transportation of liquified hydrogen fuel and how this can combat the climate emergency.
Dr Afshan said: “Decarbonisation is the most urgent task faced globally, to mitigate the climate emergency and sustain standards of living,” and “I am extremely excited to be part of the solution.”
Sarah Lu, A PhD student from the University of Southampton, has been named as one of the Women’s Engineering Society (W.E.S) Top 50 Women in Engineering for 2022.
The W.E.S celebrates women who demonstrate the creation of a product that makes a difference and Sarah has been recognised for her research in Analytical Radiochemistry and Ocean technology, and for her outreach work in local schools and mentoring young female students.
Sarah has been developing a prototype to detect radionuclides that emit beta radiation and upon receiving the award said: “It still doesn’t feel quite real. It’s not sunk in.”
A student from the University of Southampton has been awarded £2,000 in a UK Space Agency competition, to develop the idea of using satellite data in an interactive app, to help people be more energy efficient. The app, inspired by the current energy and climate crisis, will help people monitor where their energy is coming from, learn more about renewable and nuclear energy, and encourage conservation.
Eleanor Stanton, studying MSc Oceanography at the School of Ocean and Earth Science, was awarded the runner-up cash prize in the national SatelLife competition last month and is “thrilled to have the opportunity to develop it further and hopefully make a real difference.”
Jill Lovelock née Denmark (BSc Social Sciences, 1969, in Commerce and Law) died on 9th March 2022, aged 73. She had been diagnosed with metastatic (‘secondary’) breast cancer in 2009, after a ‘brush’ with the disease a few years earlier, but had continued to live a full and active life.
Jill and Robin (BSc Social Sciences, 1969, in Politics and Sociology; MSc Social Sciences, 1998, in Political Theory) married in July 1970. Having stayed in Southampton they bought an early-Victorian townhouse in the centre of the city in 1975, where Robin continues to live. He is also continuing to spend 2-3 months each year in several visits to their old stone house in a small country village in central France. Jill had a successful career as a local government officer: two spells totalling over twenty-three years working for Hampshire County Council ‘bookended’ fifteen-and-a-half years at Southampton City Council. In the last decade or so of her career Jill played a key role in developing Hampshire’s international policy and links, including managing a multi-authority office in Brussels.