Community meals and waste-cutting plastic research among four DMU projects up for top national awards

De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has been shortlisted for four awards in the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards 2020.

The university’s work to support the community, outstanding research that could change the lives of amputees worldwide, the £136m new-look campus transformation and the efforts of its dedicated library team have all been singled out as some of the best work in UK higher education today.

The THE Awards, widely referred to as the ‘Oscars of higher education’ share and celebrate innovation, talent and dedication within the university sector. Hundreds of entries are submitted every year.

Winners will be revealed at a virtual ceremony to be held on November 26.

The four categories in which DMU has been nominated are:

holiday hunger

Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community

One in five children in Leicester worries about having enough to eat, according to a Leicester City Council survey, and 41.3% live in poverty, with this rising to 62% in central areas. This makes the school summer holidays a difficult time for many vulnerable and low-income families without access to free school meals.

This led to the Holiday Food programme being established by DMU, Leicester City Council and food surplus charity FareShare, to provide at least one meal a day for children during the summer holidays. In 2019, FareShare provided food to 21 venues, where 33,056 meals were given to 1,775 children, with DMU staff and students providing a quarter of the total 1,847 volunteer days.

Patients trial new prosthetic limbs made from plastic bottles (resize)
Research Project of the Year: STEM

A research project conducted at DMU successfully manufactured the first-of-its-kind prosthetic limb socket made from recycled plastic bottles.

This innovative invention by Dr Karthikeyan Kandan, Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering, could save healthcare providers millions, help tackle plastic pollution and have a huge impact on the quality of life for a significant percentage of the population with a disability, predominantly through restoring mobility to amputees in low and middle-income countries.

This stellar achievement has been widely featured across a multitude of global news platforms, including the BBC, Daily Telegraph, CNN and Yahoo!, as well as several industry-related publications, and he has been chosen for Shining World Invention Award by the Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association

Mill Lane picture

Outstanding Estates Strategy

DMU’s campus transformation aimed to provide new spaces for the public and students to enjoy, linking the campus with the West End of the city and revamping vacant landmark buildings. The £2m transformation of Mill Lane saw a greener campus, created new cycleways and pedestrian space.

The £62 million Vijay Patel Building consisted of refurbishment and new build to create a landmark building at the heart of campus, achieving a BREEAM Excellent rating. While the £4 million refurbishment of the Grade I listed Great Castle Hall gave an unused landmark a new lease of life through careful restoration. This successful delivery contributed to DMU recruiting its highest-ever cohort in 2017 and 2018 with 10,000 new students per year.

DMU library

Outstanding Library Team

DMU’s Library and Learning Services team members are positioned as partners and co-creators in learning, teaching and support for every student, able to help build their capabilities for lifelong and lifewide learning through personalised, supportive delivery of library space, services and content provision.

The team ensures that the library offer sits physically and digitally at the core of the university experience by informing while also inspiring, engaging and fostering creative expression.

Posted on Thursday 10th September 2020

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