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UA Members win Both Research Categories at this Year’s THE Awards

Portsmouth University and Birmingham City University were among the winners at last night’s Times Higher Education Awards Ceremony hosted in London.

Birmingham City University won Research Project of the Year in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences for their project led by Dr Islam Issa on the contribution of Muslim soldiers fighting for the Allies in the First World War. Dr Islam’s extensive research led to an exhibition for the British Muslim Heritage Centre. A mobile version of this exhibition was also set-up at the headquarters of the Greater Manchester Police and had a profound impact on non-Muslim officers, helping to combat some of the dangers of racial profiling following the Manchester Arena attacks.

The judges commended Dr Islam’s project for the “strength of its primary research” and “the eye-opening results” is has had.

The University of Portsmouth also won Research Project of the Year but this time in STEM.  They won for their project “Turning the Tide”, headed by Professor John McGeehan alongside colleagues from across the UK, the US and Brazil. His team has engineered an enzyme which can breakdown some of the world’s most common plastic pollutants. Because of its vast potential impact, the project has received a flurry of press attention and support from pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline. The University of Portsmouth has now launched a Centre for Enzyme Innovation to further this research.

The judges praised the project for its “potential to revolutionise the recycling of plastics”.

Vanessa Wilson, CEO of University Alliance said, “I am so proud of our members. Winning an award on this scale is a fantastic achievement.

“The breadth of nominees for both Research Project of the Year Awards just goes to illustrate the diverse nature of universities conducting world-leading, innovative research and I am particularly proud that our members’ research excellence has been recognised and rewarded.”