Alliance Awards 2023: Meet the nominees

With our partner TechnologyOne, we are delighted to announce all of the shortlisted nominees for this year’s Alliance Awards. Competition this year was very fierce: each of the twenty-nine shortlisted nominees has made a significant contribution to their university, often against the odds. The nominees span the full range of university life, from health and safety to student unions, to academics, teaching staff and technicians.

The shortlists for each award were selected by an independent panel of judges from across the higher education and research sector.

The Alliance Award

ARU Peterborough, Anglia Ruskin University

ARU Peterborough is a new university, designed in partnership to match the needs of local students, employers and the regional economy. It was created during the pandemic to realises a 40-year ambition for a university in and for Peterborough, a higher education ˜cold spot’ in the country. ARU worked at great pace with partners Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority and Peterborough City Council to deliver a new university model: offering the right facilities and curriculum to increase opportunities for young people, and boost skills across the region.

They worked closely with employers, key stakeholders and residents to make this future university a reality, and welcomed their first cohort in September 2022. ARU Peterborough is one of the largest start-up university initiatives (over £77M) – and partnership working has been key to its rapid success. Milestones include: completing ARU Peterborough’s first teaching building, construction of a R&D Centre, funding for a second teaching building, incorporating a publicly accessible science resource at the heart of Peterborough’s new University Quarter. Their collaborative approach has been integral to this ambitious university start-up.


Stephen Goodall, Teesside University, Public Events and Social Impact Officer

Stephen joined Teesside’s Enterprise Team in 2022 as a ‘Social Enterprise Activator’ – which was established in partnership with local social housing company Thirteen Group to improve opportunities for people in the Tees Valley. Within just one year, Stephen made a huge amount of impact in the local community through collaboration working with local charities and organisations. He worked with the Hope Foundation to provide incubation space for a digital poverty charity called FurbdIT, which has distributed over 200 recycled IT devices to the community, and provided an internship for a Teesside student.

He worked with FurbdIT to recycle surplus PC units into arcade cabinets for an innovative student projects. These are then used to engage with local charities and community groups focusing on youth engagement through enterprise. Stephen has also been involved in the University’s partnership work with Barefoot Kitchen, a community bakery operating in the University’s Launchpad facility which will provide bread-making workshops, volunteering opportunities and a variety of employment prospects to local residents. He has also collaborated effectively with Thirteen Group to deliver student challenges tackling anti-social behaviour, furniture poverty, and social isolation. Through this work, students have developed real-world problem-solving skills, and Thirteen Group addressed social problems impacting their housing residents, while connecting with future student talent. Stephen’s hard work continues to connect the University’s resource and expertise to our wider community and is worthy of recognition through this award.


Outreach and Educational Partnerships (OEP) Team, University of Greenwich

Following the launch of T-levels, the OEP team developed the T-level Outreach and Mapping Pathways Project. Led by Amie Greensted, the team is committed to widening access to HE and Greenwich’s vision of ‘Education Without Boundaries’. The OEP mapped how T-Level qualifications aligned with existing university programmes and worked to deliver successful placements within the university’s Marketing and External Relations (MER) Directorate.

These placements supported students with widening participation characteristics: just under half were the first-in-their-family to attend university. The project would not have been possible without the collaborative approach the team took internally to secure effective placements, and externally with key strategic partners. The committed OEP team provided training, raised awareness and understanding of T-Levels, and supported essential practical requirements, such as safeguarding for placements. The placements have been so successful that there are 119 offer holders for September 2023, with 28 firm accepts (all with T-Levels) up from 17 offer holders with one registered with T-Levels in the 2022 cycle.


USW Students’ Union and Operational Policing Team, University of South Wales

USW partners with five different police forces in England and Wales to deliver higher degree apprenticeships and graduate police diplomas, working with serving police officers who work and study full-time. Because of this, students didn’t always feel like ‘students’, struggling to recognise university and support services. In 2022, the Students’ Union posed the question: ‘How do we ensure student police officers have a voice and representation through the SU?’

Thus began a crash course in the nuances of policing, with SU staff learning police regulations, shifts, police trauma, and uniform. Together, the team worked to bridge the gap, starting with bespoke resources, and recognising a prevalence for neurodiversity. Videos were recorded, podcast interviews shared, and a bespoke SU area added to all modules to maximise accessibility. The SU launched a specialist award at the 2023 Student Choice Awards for serving police officer students, recognising a student from across the partnership who went above and beyond to support their students. Working together, the teams saw that IT accessibility would be a barrier to engagement, so a bespoke nominations portal was created. It took two teams from very different areas to come together, working in partnership, to make sure their student voices were heard and the duality of Operational Policing Students identity embraced.


The Professionals Award

Group Policy Unit, Coventry University

The Group Policy Unit offers a professional service to internal colleagues and to external partners. The team have a remit to communicate policy developments internally effectively and build strong external relationships. The team has increased the knowledge base of staff around the university on political engagement. At all times the team maintain an impartial and professional attitude, offering factual reports, with GPU commentary to allow colleagues to make informed decisions.

This has led to engagement in new international markets, speaker slots at Select Committee hearings and increased regional political engagement around devolution. The team have increased their engagement with policy makers and think tanks, which has led to organisations such as the QAA and the shadow education team reaching out to the GPU for information and commentary. This has significantly raised the profile of the Unit and the senior leadership of Coventry University Group. In addition to their support and engagement activities, the team are exceptional in support of University Alliance colleagues. One great example of this was the panel discussion at the Labour Party conference last year.


Nursing Team, Leeds Beckett University

The Leeds Beckett Nursing Team have strong working relationships with local health organisations including Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and key healthcare providers.

The team secure inspirational opportunities for students, providing real world experience as they spend 50% of their time on placements. Students have opportunities to work across many areas including teenage cancer wards, specialist wards, hospices and ICU. LBU’s students also provide first aid and welfare in non-healthcare settings, such as professional football matches, festivals and for associations such as Girl Guides and Out Together. In a career that requires expertise as well as emotional resilience, the team provide support in conjunction with dedicated pastoral care colleagues. They have also cultivated a strong student community, encouraging peer to peer support. The team prides itself on developing autonomous graduates, who are empowered to ask questions, challenge practice, interrogate evidence, identify solutions, and formulate conclusions to achieve the highest standards of practice.


Student Learning Assistants Team, Middlesex University

Middlesex University’s Student Learning Assistants (SLA) Scheme aims to improve student outcomes. The Scheme recruits and trains experienced students as SLAs to support their peers’ learning in over 300 modules annually across all University faculties. Around 300 SLAs support over 6000 undergraduate students, a third of Middlesex’s students. Over time, the emphasis on SLA support has expanded beyond student achievement to focus on student experience and engagement, and enhancing their sense of belonging and employability.

Modelled after Supplemental Instruction, a 1970s peer assisted learning model, the Scheme is unique in how it is embedded within the curriculum, integrating real-time co-facilitation between lecturer and SLA. This allows effective collaboration and trust between students and SLAs, offering faster learning intervention opportunities. The Scheme enhanced SLAs’ confidence and coaching, mentoring, communication and leadership skills during their tenure. SLAs advance the University’s strategic priority to transform learning though innovative, flexible and highly accessible practice led education. The Scheme received an Advance HE 2022 Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence.


Business Growth and Entrepreneurship Team, University of Hertfordshire

The Business Growth & Entrepreneurship (BGE) Team is responsible for delivering the University’s external business support provision, student and graduate entrepreneurial support and growth/regeneration work with local and central government. Over the last 12 months, often with limited resource, the BGE has delivered core programmes such as the Incubator Programme – supporting approximately 50 startups through a 12-month support programme – and has designed several impactful new schemes, including the Herts Sustainability and Herts Healthcare Accelerators.

They’ve brokered new partnerships, resulting in programmes such as the Watford Young Entrepreneurs Programme and Herts Camera Action, which have generated tangible impact in their region. Their work has generated over £600k in income for the University, while supporting over 350 businesses 278 of which were new to the University. They’ve also supported 50 companies to bring new products and services to market; provided 207 students and alumni with entrepreneurship services, and 134 with 1:2:1 support and helped launch 226 graduate start-ups during the last three years. They also provided critical 1:2:1 support to over 330 businesses during Covid. The BGE team makes a significant contribution to the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem, aligned to the University’s ambition of generating opportunities and transforming lives. They proactively seek new collaborative ways of enabling knowledge exchange and supporting sustainable, inclusive economic growth and innovation in the region and beyond.


Events Team, University of South Wales

The USW Events team specialise in operationalising large scale events and delivering impactful projects. Traditionally a venue-based operation, the pandemic required a new operating model focused on running online events in order to continue to meet client needs for a large range of events and networking opportunities. This was a significant change for the team who quickly became experts providing advice and guidance on online event management to colleagues and external clients.

This expertise fed into policy on events during the pandemic whereby the Events Manager represented the Welsh HE sector on a Welsh Govt Covid committee focused on hospitality and tourism. As the pandemic receded, the team again reacted to the changing world of meetings and events through investment in professional hybrid meeting and event technology to ensure events could continue to flourish. The team has also become a trusted partner to deliver a wide range of student-related events programming.

For example, in September 2021, they created a highly successful ˜festival-style’ welcome event for new students ˜Welcomefest’, a 4-day ˜Glastonbury’ style event featuring live music, local community stalls, street food traders and interactive activities. This event continued in 2022 and will again be run later this year across all USW campuses. As a key element of the wider Engagement & Enterprise department, the team also supports knowledge exchange events with civic and industry partners evidenced through, e.g. a project to catalogue and showcase 170 key pieces of technical equipment and facilities that are accessible by external partners, including social enterprises and community groups.


The Innovation Award, Supported by Duolingo English Test

Dr. Edward McCaffrey, Middlesex University, Senior Lecturer in Film at Middlesex University (MDX)
Through the Creative Campus Network, which Dr McCaffrey instigated – and now leads – the Creative Campus Network: a collaboration between over 40 UK universities and colleges, and over 50 screen industry employers.

A 2021 National Teaching Fellow, Dr McCaffrey developed the Network to address industry skills shortages and empower students/graduates to gain industry experience. Eddie’s innovative work has positioned MDX at the epicentre of the Mayor of London’s Creative Skills Academy: a partnership with Film London, Capital City College Group and London Higher which helps underrepresented young Londoners into the screen industries. To date, it has helped 2153 young people gain training/education, delivered 1153 work experience placements in the sector and helped another 169 get paid work/placements. In curriculum development, Edward led Middlesex’s partnership with ScreenSkills to co-create the ‘Work Ready Skills and Experience’ graduate competencies guidance and resources.

In 2023 he created the UK’s first co-production between an independent film production company and a university, to offer 15 students/graduates paid work on professional film in exchange for access to university equipment and facilities. Eddie also led and authored the UK-wide Covid-19 Guidelines for Student Productions, and the Covid-19 Supervision certified training he led with First Option had over 3000 students enrolled across 10 universities. Dr McCaffrey’s work exemplifies Middlesex’s strategy themes of inclusivity, equity and sustainability, while his vision and innovations embody MDX’s community principles and creative and collaborative approach.


Geo-thermal team, Oxford Brookes University

Innovative approaches to decarbonising our heating systems will be key to delivering Oxford Brookes’ ambition to be net-zero by 2040. Due to the high building density of their main campus, space for deploying traditional heat pumps is limited. However, since a new £2.3m project reached practical completion in 2022, Brookes are the first university with an operational geo-thermal system.

Working with Black Mountain Developments, the system utilises 14 vertically splayed boreholes (>200 meters deep) that fit within a very small site footprint. It delivers 1.2GWh/year of thermal energy and reduces CO2 emissions for the site by approximately 20%. The team will be treating this project as a ‘Living lab’ to benefit both the education and research community and wider adoption across the sector.

This project was initially rejected for the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. However, the tenacity and professionalism of the delivery team, continued support of senior management, the robustness of the proposal and the importance of the decarbonisation agenda resulted in late funding being awarded. Due to supply chain delays and complex contractual arrangements on this scheme delivery timescales were unrealistically tight, creating delivery and financial risk. Yet these were overcome through an innovative and dynamic approach, effective teamwork, project management and senior leadership support. The team went above and beyond delivering this innovative project.


Greenwich Learning and Simulation Centre, University of Greenwich

The Greenwich Learning and Simulation Centre (GLASC) consists of experienced academics, researchers and technicians working collaboratively and innovatively with clinical, patient and industry-based partners within state-of-the-art healthcare simulation facilities

This collaboration has led to the development of a series of diverse and culturally-inclusive manikins that represent wider society. For instance, a recent success was the result of collaboration with industry partners, Lifecast, to develop the world’s first training manikin representing a child with Down Syndrome. Working with the Down Syndrome Association, the team developed a manikin based on 3D scans of a real life 7 year-old child called Gwen. ‘She’ gives students a diverse and more inclusive representation of the people they will ultimately care for and an innovative and entirely new way to demonstrate and teach life-saving skills. ‘Gwen’ has recently been on a world tour of academic institutions to further extend the beneficial knowledge exchange network arising from her development. Through acknowledging the importance and benefits of knowledge exchange, the team are able to share these developments for the benefit of all, and, as in this case, further advance the field of simulation.


USW Intensive Learning Academy for Leading Digital Transformation, University of South Wales

Supported by the Welsh Government, USW’s Intensive Learning Academy for Leading Digital Transformation (ILA) proactively responds to a need identified by NHS Wales: to transform many of its professional practises through digital technology, with the aim of positively impacting health & social care across Mid & South Wales. Partnering with Powys Health Board, USW’s ILA team provide academic courses, training and specialist advice to leaders across seven NHS and social care organisations who need to better understand digital technology to transform their professional practice.

The ILA team has delivered training to 1,660 staff, held conferences and engagement events, and successfully established a community of interest across the sector to lead on the use of digital technology. The team also developed an MSc Leading Digital Transformation course. During challenging times in our health and social care systems, they collaborate as an online community to develop solutions that will help drive improvement for patients and families.


The Star Award

Menopause team, University of Greenwich

The menopause team is passionate about raising awareness and normalising conversations around Menopause as well as providing support for Menopause at work. Members carry out their activities in addition to their normal roles and have made the university a brighter and more inclusive place. The team formed a strong alliance with external provider, Henpicked, to support their work, and also collaborated internally with Staff Networks, HR, IT , and resources hub Estates, Greenwich’s Wellbeing Network and Mental Health First Aid Teams.

The team delivers extensive training to staff and line managers to raise awareness and provide support to ensure that Menopause is no longer a taboo.  The popularity of the Menopause Cafés has grown and the team has been invited to speak at external conferences to highlight their work resulting in external collaborations with private and public sector organisations.   The team’s academic research to evaluate the impact of their work has found that 100% of line managers and 92% of staff would recommend the training to increase understanding of the symptoms and how to offer support.  The team’s dedication, commitment and taboo-busting approach continues to make a huge difference to the working lives of people who have menopausal symptoms.


Anabelle Bullock, University of Hertfordshire, Education Liaison Officer

Bella’s fun, positive nature radiates when communicating with young people at Open Days or school visits. She goes out of her way to give young people from all backgrounds a positive and relatable experience, helping them to start their journey to higher education, allay their concerns and realise their ambitions. A Herts alumna, Bella talks openly about her time at the University, including the challenges she experienced with anxiety. She chooses to talk about this experience when giving talks to young people who may be facing similar challenges to foster inclusion, encourage confidence, and provide an inspirational role model of success.

Bella is transforming lives by igniting a passion for Herts in prospective students and increasing their confidence to consider higher education as an option. She goes above and beyond, taking the time to address concerns and searching for answers when she doesn’t have them readily. Her dedication has resulted in Herts being the go-to university for many of the institutions she looks after: including Luton Sixth Form College, where applications to Herts have increased. Bella’s innovative thinking led to her work closely with academics on new subject ‘immersion days’ for prospective students. Despite her busy schedule of school visits, she delivers each one with professionalism and excellence.


Andreea-Daniela Coroama, University of West London, International Student Experience Coordinator

Andreea makes coming to the University as an international student a fun and positive experience: a home away from home. She is the first person at the University that international students meet, and each one knows her by name. Once an international student has been offered a place at the University, Andreea is there to support, monitor and guide with 1-to-1 calls, emails, and texts. She runs webinars giving practical advice on how to prepare, enrolment and induction, accommodation and more.

As part of their induction, when they come to campus, Andreea organises sessions on how to get essentials sorted and access different services. Andreea’s support for international students continues throughout their time at the University with drop-ins, social events, picnics, alumni panels, career-focused webinars, a social café, and regular day trips. Every month Andreea sends out a newsletter to more than 3,000 students featuring news, services and support, upcoming events, and tips and discounts. It makes students feel connected, contributing to its impressive open rate of 75-80%. Andreea’s office door is always open for international students for guidance, support, a chat, and positive vibes.


Jamie Whelan, UWE Bristol, Programme Leader and Senior Lecturer, PGCE Primary

Jamie has worked tirelessly to support students and safeguard their wellbeing. He does so with boundless energy and enthusiasm and always has time for the students and his colleagues, regardless of how busy he is.

This year, Jamie has created a network for trainee teachers and teachers with ADHD and uses this group to empower people in the teaching profession with a diagnosis of ADHD. Students have started to see their neurodivergence as a strength rather than a deficit and this is largely due to Jamie’s positivity and humour regarding his own diagnosis. Teaching is a tough career, but Jamie ensures that UWE’s PGCE students develop the right attitude of fun and playfulness that means they will be able to navigate any challenges that come their way. More importantly, their classrooms will be fun and inviting places for children too.


The DTA Alumni Award

Dr. Laura Sirabella, Ulster University, DTA/MSC COFUND PhD Researcher

Dr. Sirabella’s research is based on civil society organizations and reproductive health in Uganda. Her qualitative approach provides insights into advocacy, policy translation, and empowerment for reproductive rights. Her work fills a knowledge gap, addresses global violations, and aligns with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Dr. Sirabella engages stakeholders, fosters partnerships, and exhibits leadership qualities. She is a deserving candidate who consistently goes above and beyond to make a meaningful impact.


Dr. James Fortune, former PhD student at University of Hertfordshire

James always works hard to go above and beyond to achieve impact within and outside of his area. Although his PhD project was on interactions between phoma stem canker and light leaf spot pathogens, he also investigated interactions between other two plant pathogens. During the course of his PhD, he presented his work at several national and conferences and agricultural events and a Parliamentary Networking event. Some of his research has received media coverage in the agricultural press, and he has published two papers based on results from his PhD in scientific journals (e.g. Plant Pathology, 2021; Pest Management Science, 2022).

He has real passion about plant disease control for food security through development of effective disease control strategies to enable farmers to achieve higher yields, reap good economic rewards and reduce the use of fungicides. Inspired by his PhD project, he has become a member of Ashdon and Saffron Walden Young Farmers Club. Through the club, he has involved in many activities and events, such as Essex Young Farmers Show and money-raising for a local charity that offers support to people of all ages with a disability. With an ambition to make a real difference in the UK agriculture, he has worked as a Research Consultant in Plant Pathology for ADAS and has now moved to Vegetable Consultancy Services (UK) Ltd working as a Research Consultant Agronomist.


Dr. Paolo Baffero, University of South Wales, former PhD student

After completing his BSc in Sociology in Milan, Dr Baffero followed his interest in alternatives to detention by studying Criminology at Middlesex University, completing his MA in Youth Justice, Community Safety and Applied Criminology in 2016. Following his graduation from Middlesex University, Paolo made the move to La Paz (Bolivia) to concentrate on the feasibility and potentiality of his research as well as entering the Bolivian social environment.

Paolo developed a passion in working towards real change and making important contributions to the literature around restorative justice. To date, he has published one journal article ‘Immersing into Indigenous Justice in Bolivia: Focused Ethnography, Interviews, Diary and Field Notes’, and has had a second journal article recently accepted.


The Braveheart Award, supported by UCAS

Louise Hewitt, University of Greenwich, Senior Lecturer in Law and Director of the Innocence Project London (IPL)

The IPL makes applications to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) on behalf of convicted individuals who maintain their innocence but have exhausted the criminal appeals process. The project recruits student volunteers to deconstruct claims of innocence alongside lawyers and academics volunteering their own time. Since 2017, 138 university students supported by between 5 and 8 academic staff, have worked on behalf of 24 clients, looking to find fresh evidence or a new legal argument as required for the CCRC. The students have contributed over 20,000 hours of their time, reading case documents, meeting relatives of their clients, reading case law that could develop a new legal argument, writing letters to their client to ensure they are updated and visiting their client in prison.

Working with the School of Law and Criminology, students work hard to act with integrity, taking care they do not mislead their client and managing expectations about the process. The IPL has provided access to justice for five clients this year alone, filling a funding gap in the legal system because of the limited legal aid funding for lawyers to do this work. Most students will go on to work in the criminal justice system and their experience enables them make changes to improve it for the better and to act with integrity and principle throughout their legal careers.


Vida Greaux, University of South Wales

A USW academic specialising in Social Policy, Vida is Chair of USW’s Race Equality Network and a Coronation Champion in recognition of her dedication to voluntary work. As Chair of the Gwent Police Independent Advisory Group (IAG), Vida helps build cohesion between communities and policy by ensuring a community voice and public scrutiny. Through her work, she has helped police better engage with communities and have a greater understanding of the tensions impacting those living and working in the Gwent region; ultimately working towards embedding an anti-racism culture within the police.

She is also a member of the divisional IAG for the British Transport Police, and has actively served the religious community through her links with places of worship. Her passion for working towards eliminating racial, religious and cultural discrimination continues in her role as Chair of USW’s Race Equality Network, which aims to promote opportunities for everyone, regardless of their background; creating and supporting a culture in which all members of the USW community can participate and fulfil their potential in an environment where they are valued and respected.


Dr. Mike Chick, University of South Wales, Refugee Champion

An academic specialising in language teacher education, Dr Chick is USW’s Refugee Champion. Mike’s work focuses on improving access to language education for people seeking sanctuary and working to find ways to remove barriers to entering university. In collaboration with the Welsh Refugee Council, he has led a project to provide English language classes for refugees and sanctuary seekers. USW’s students engage with refugees to deliver language education and break down the barriers for people arriving in Wales to build a new life. Striving to give people the opportunity to progress in education or to find rewarding employment, Mike developed USW’s Sanctuary Scholarship programme for those seeking asylum and led the successful application for USW to become a University of Sanctuary.

Committed to going the extra mile, he has also volunteered as an ESOL teacher for the past 9 years and has been organising weekly ESOL classes for Ukrainian refugees whilst leading on arrangements for twinning USW with a Ukrainian university.


Dr. Bernadine Idowu, University of West London, Associate Professor, School of Biomedical Sciences

Bernadine has won the Students’ Union STAR award for best lecturer three times in a row. However, it is her work around diversity and inclusion that makes Bernadine really stand out. Following her experience of being a young black woman at university in the 1990s, and despite having a huge sense of pride at attending university, she still struggled in isolation both with her studies and in enjoying all extracurricular activities. She realised then just how important it was to have a safe, peer-mentor; someone you could identify with. As a result, she established a peer-mentoring scheme in her School that has transformed the student experience.

Bernadine founded the ‘BME early career researcher’ conference, with the aim of addressing the lack of diversity in HE, and to empower young BAME individuals through talks, networking, and mentoring. The conference, which has been running for six years, attracted 400 delegates in September 2022, both in-person and online, with some from as far afield as the US and South Africa. This year, Bernadine developed the first “Changing the Story for Black Biomedical Scientists” conference, attracting over 70 students from across the UK.


The TechnologyOne Lifetime Achievement Award

Professor Helen Odell-Miller OBE, Anglia Ruskin University

Prof Odell-Miller retires this year after over 30 years as a music therapist, University teacher and researcher. Helen started a Music Therapy (MT) training course at Anglia Ruskin University in 1994 and played a crucial role in the early development of the MT profession in the UK: with other MT colleagues she actively negotiated with the government, successfully attaining professional recognition for MTs.

Helen contributed significantly to establishing the Courses Liaison Committee for the Association of Professional Music Therapists. She participated in setting training standards for the Council for Professions Supplementary to Medicine Arts Therapists’ Board. She served for 11 years as the advisor to the Department of Health for MT and took a leading role in documenting the Standards of Practice and Standards of Education for Arts Therapists for the Health Professions Council. She has also established and researched MT treatment programs for persons living with dementia (PwD). In 2017, ARU established the Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research at ARU. Given the high profile of research and international collaborations, the University was awarded the Queens Anniversary Prize in 2021 for its outstanding contribution to MT research, especially in the field of dementia care. In recognition of her outstanding contributions, she was awarded the Officer of the British Empire (OBE) in 2016.


Ian Appleford, Kingston University, Health and Safety Manager

Ian has been in the post of Head of Health, Safety and Security strategy for over 17 years at Kingston University. He left Health and Safety from Surrey Police to make a difference in the HEI sector. Using his experience and knowledge from Surrey Police, Ordnance Survey, HRH Treasury and V&A. Ian has significantly decreased injuries and incidents at the university to only a few incidences a year. He has delivered 1000s of training sessions to staff from all departments to make the institution more aware and prepared – along with training for students.

Ian has successful changed the safety culture at the institution. He developed all policies and ways of working to ensure the thriving success and safety of the institution and has helps hundreds of individuals in the HEI sectors at other institutions (university and colleges) all over UK learn ways to keep everyone safe. He volunteers much of the time to the university, including staying late nights and weekends, and has seen well 102,000 students successfully and safely graduate and getting Kingston University awarded 6 Swords of Honour (UK), 15+ years of International Safety Awards and Occupation Health and Safety Audits. Ian has volunteered a very large part of his life to the higher education sector not only in teaching key skills that keeps people safe, but has vastly impacted the health and safety in the higher education sector over all parts of the UK.


Paul Butler, University of Greenwich, Executive Director and Chief Information Officer

Paul has had a distinguished 30-year career at the University of Greenwich. Starting as a student and then visiting Lecturer in 1994, he became Head of Corporate Information Systems, Director of Information and Library Services before his current role. Paul led Greenwich’s decade-long digital transformation programme to ensure their financial sustainability and support their ambition to be the best modern university by 2030. This project required strong leadership and a focus on delivering transformational change. Paul ensured it was an inclusive and collaborative process, involving students and staff at all levels.

In March he was named UCISA’s CIO of the year. Paul has supported multiple global organisations by sharing information about Greenwich’s Digital Strategy and its development, with many going on to use it as a reference model. Vice-Chancellor and CEO Professor Jane Harrington said: “Paul is an insightful, informed and innovative leader. Under his leadership, we have developed and are delivering a challenging and transformational digital strategy that is demonstrating value and success and changing our students’ lives for the better. Paul’s leadership extends beyond delivering digital innovation. He leads with our university values of collaboration, inclusivity and impact whether he is working within the University of Greenwich or across our sector.”


Professor Julie Newlan MBE, University of Hertfordshire, Deputy Vice Chancellor

After 27 years’ service at Herts and 30 years within higher education, Professor Newlan MBE retires this year having made an incredible contribution to the sector. A hugely respected entrepreneur before moving into academia, Professor Newlan has always used her extensive enterprise knowledge to benefit the next generation of entrepreneurs and the University as a whole.

Working in senior management for the last 12 years, she has been at the heart of all the University’s most impactful strategic and operational decisions. Her outstanding careers and employment strategy resulted in Herts’ employability level rising from 85% to 96%; moving Herts from bottom quartile of league table to the top 20, and their graduate employment rate from 65% to over 80%. Her refocused Enterprise and Business Development strategy implemented many innovative new business initiatives, partnerships and services that have achieved multiple awards, funding and University Enterprise Zone status, benefitting 632 businesses since 2019 and 337 graduate start-ups since 2018. She is also behind Herts’ ambitious international growth plan. Her nominator said “It is thanks to Professor Newlan’s unfaltering work ethic, fervour for higher education and business prowess has Herts become a socially engaged, entrepreneurial and valued university on the up”.


Stephen Lines, University of Hertfordshire, Principal Technical Officer in the School of Physics, Engineering and Computer Science

Stephen has worked at Herts for 34 years and has had an immense impact on countless Aerospace Engineering students. He has been pivotal in the successful completion of final year projects for decades, the impact of his work has been felt by generations of students. Steve played a vital role in making Herts’ Aerospace Engineering course what it is today. In the mid-90s, he oversaw the installation of their first Merlin Flight Simulator, and kept it in service ever since, using his advanced technical knowledge and ability to adapt modern components into the original chassis.

He takes pride in passing down these manual construction skills to generations of students. Steve consistently goes above and beyond to ensure that students receive fantastic opportunities within and outside their course. Because of Stephen, the University is always well-represented at the annual British Model Flying Association Challenge. Demonstrating that he remains at the cutting edge of his specialism, Steve has ensured that his legacy will continue with the advent of UAV (drone) technology, having written the University’s UAV flying policy and runs the co-curricular Drone Club. Steve’s impact is evident through the thousands of Aerospace Engineers who he has assisted in preparing for the world of work. Both academics and technicians remember his calm, helpful disposition when things are at their most frenetic, and speak of his invaluable wealth of knowledge and boundless passion to help students reach their full potential. One colleague describes him as ‘the very model of a specialist technician.”