News in brief

29 September 2014

Sheffield welcomes Kenyan President’s Scholarship winner

A prestigious Kenyan scholarship has been awarded to a student who has chosen the University of Sheffield as her destination to pursue her academic dreams.

Wilkister receiving her award from the School Chair of the Board of GovernorsThe 2014 Kenyan President’s Scholarship, aimed at giving a Kenyan student the chance to study in the UK, has been awarded to Wilkister Kiyumbu Ludenyi, who will be enrolling at the University this month to pursue a BA (hons) in Economics and Politics.

The Scholarship is a unique project which is jointly funded by Brookhouse International School in Kenya and The Northern Consortium UK, created out of 11 of the UK’s leading universities, with Sheffield being one of the founding member institutions. One award is made every year to fully fund a student from the local high school system in Kenya, who would otherwise not be able to study in the UK.

Wilkister received her scholarship during a Presidential Awards Ceremony and she follows in some successful footsteps; Stacey Achungo, who was awarded the scholarship in 2011, graduated from Sheffield this year with an impressive first class honours degree in BEng Electronic Engineering.

The University of Sheffield has been welcoming students from Kenya for many decades and Wilkister will join an international community of over 6,000 international students. This year Sheffield was awarded the title of Number 1 University in the UK for student experience, which was voted for by the students.

23 September 2014

Research associate awarded for inspiring next generation of scientists

A University of Sheffield post-doctoral research associate has been named winner of the Society of Biology's Science Communication Awards 2014 thanks to her dedication to informing and engaging the public in science.

Dr Nicola Hemmings from the University of Sheffield has received the Established Researcher Prize in the Society's annual awards, which are intended to reward outreach work carried out by scientists to inform, enthuse and engage the public.

Nicola created a three-tiered programme to teach children as young as five about fertility. She has engaged thousands of local school children by developing hands-on activities on fossils to solar-panels and mentoring undergraduates to deliver them in conjunction with regular lectures. She has also developed workshops to help adult audiences understand how studying sperm can help save endangered species.

Nicola said, "I'm delighted and honoured to receive this award. It is wonderful to gain recognition for something I love doing! I hope my work inspires other scientists to engage the public with their research too."

The competition was open to bioscience researchers from UK universities and institutes in two categories; New Researcher Prize (£750) and Established Researcher Prize (£1500).

Dr Steve Cross, head of public engagement at UCL and chair of the judging panel said: “We were really impressed by the process that Nicola uses to engage with communities outside academia. She is utterly committed to learning, improving and refining her work, to help people connect with both her research and what it is to be a scientist."

The awards will be presented at the Society's Annual Award Ceremony on Tuesday 14 October during Biology Week 2014.

To find out more, please visit The Society of Biology

12 September 2014

Garden of Eden cabaret spectacular

Garden of EdenThe University of Sheffield’s Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies is hosting a Bible belter with a difference - the magnificent Garden of Eden Cabaret Evening.

The enthralling Hidden Perspectives event will see a host of cabaret and variety acts take to the stage to perform spectacular show-stoppers including biblical burlesque, miraculous magic and amazing mind-reading.

The audience will enjoy a huge range of talents including; award winning burlesque from Eliza Delite, entertainment from the Silent Clown Kiki Lovechild, delightful music from the Neil Pennock Quartet, heavenly boylesque by Chris Stuart Wilson and mystical magic from Griffith and Jones amongst others.

The unique evening of entertainment, which is part of the University’s 11-day Festival of the Mind, will take place in the stunning, specially erected 1920s Spiegeltent at Barker’s Pool (outside John Lewis) on Friday 26 September 2014.

Doors and the bar open at 7.30pm and the performance which is suitable for over 18s only will begin at 8.30pm.

Tickets are £11 in advance or £15 on the door, concessions are £8.50.

To learn more about Hidden Perspectives please visit

10 September 2014

Global institute hosts delegation of senior government officials from China

A delegation of senior Chinese government officials visited a world-leading institute at the University of Sheffield to learn about the challenges facing democratic engagement and party politics in the UK.A delegation of Chinese government officials visit the Crick Centre

The 20-strong contingent was given an in-depth talk by Professor Matthew Flinders, Director of the University’s Sir Bernard Crick Centre for the Public Understanding of Politics, analysing topics from the Scottish referendum to the rise of UKIP.

The visit, organised by Sino-UK Link, a non-government organisation established to promote the exchange on economy and culture between the people of China and Britain, further enhances the Crick Centre’s reputation as a global leader in promoting the public understand of politics.

The centre, which is based in the University’s Department of Politics, strives to close the gap that has arguably emerged between politicians and the public and provides a vibrant intellectual environment of scholars engaged in research across all areas of politics and beyond.

Professor Flinders said: “It’s a reflection of the international reputation of the Department of Politics and the rapidly increasing profile of the Crick Centre that led this large delegation of senior Chinese government officials to visit Sheffield.

“With the Scottish referendum in a week and a general election next year, this is a great time for them to visit. Hopefully this initial meeting will lead to further discussions in the future.”

Since the Crick Centre launched last year, it has cemented itself at the heart of a global network of research centres, campaign groups, policy makers, international bodies and a myriad of organisations committed to breathing new life into politics.

As well as securing research grants and delivering specialist training, it has organised a series of public events including hosting a Parliamentary Select Committee at the University’s Arts Tower.

Professor Flinders added: “The Crick Centre is studying and promoting engaged citizenship around the world. This visit was hopefully the beginning of a new link between East and West that may have an impact within and beyond academe.”

29 August 2014

Leading researcher appointed director of new Sheffield Methods Institute

Leading urban researcher Professor Gwilym Pryce has joined the University of Sheffield as director of the newly founded Sheffield Methods Institute (SMI).Gwilym Pryce

The Professor of Urban Economics and Social Statistics will bring his expertise and experience in developing and applying robust research methods to the Institute which aims to raise the profile of ‘best practice’ quantitative research techniques.

The Sheffield Methods Institute (SMI) will promote cutting edge research that aims to answer the big questions in society and influence policy.

The SMI launches in September and will offer two undergraduate courses from September 2015, including the UK’s first BA in Quantitative Social Sciences, linked to the £19m Q-Step initiative.

The course will teach quantitative research methods in a bid to raise the level of numeracy and statistical understanding in industry and amongst policy makers, bridging the gap between research and social change.

Professor Pryce, Director of the Sheffield Methods Institute, said: “I’m keen to start my mission at the Sheffield Methods Institute to raise the bar of quality research methods.

“One part of this will be training the next generation in robust quantitative data techniques that can be applied to the big questions facing our society. But also to facilitate the transformation of the research environment by breaking down boundaries within social science disciplines, and ultimately bringing quality data closer to policy makers.

“Understanding quantitative data is not only the responsibility of researchers and Government, it’s our collective democratic responsibility to be an informed electorate with a social understanding of statistics and to be critical of the numbers we are presented with.”

Professor Pryce will continue his personal research interests through his role as Co-Director of the £4m ESRC AQMEN Research Centre, where he will continue to conduct major research projects in urban segregation and inequality.

The SMI will also make constructive links with business and Government departments to facilitate their research needs and to develop world-class research projects, as well providing ‘real world’ experience for students through internships and placements.

29 August 2014

World-leading scientists gather in Sheffield to showcase pioneering deafness research

Ear-nibMore than 200 ear specialists and clinicians who are fighting to find a cure for deafness and other life-changing conditions will join forces at the University of Sheffield at a world-leading event.

Scientists from across the globe will meet to discuss the most pioneering hearing and deafness research being conducted in Europe at the conference which will take place between 30 August and 2 September 2014.

The event, which is open to the public, will give professionals and patients an insight into revolutionary treatments such as cochlear implantation, genetics of deafness, stem cells and regeneration development and cell physiology.

Conference Chairman Marcelo Rivolta, Professor of Sensory Stem Cell Biology at the University of Sheffield, said: “We are delighted to host such an important event, and to have the opportunity to welcome such a distinguished group of experts to our city.”

The audience will include clinicians and scientists from disciplines related to hearing and balance such as audiologists, otolaryngologists, molecular geneticists, neuroscientists and cell and stem cell.

It will also attract voluntary organisations supporting deafness and other inner ear conditions.

Visitors wishing to attend the event must register at

28 August 2014

Students celebrate after becoming European Debating Champions

Debating championsTwo talented students from the University of Sheffield have been crowned the European Universities Debating Champions 2014 after competing in a prestigious international event in Zagreb, Croatia.

Adam Hawksbee, 22, and Matthew Willmore, 21, represented Sheffield Debating, an inclusive society which helps students to develop their rhetorical skills and public speaking confidence, in the popular annual event which took place earlier this week.

The pair faced tough competition from the best student debaters across Europe but clinched the title ahead of the universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Edinburgh in the final debate.

This is the first time a Yorkshire university has claimed the prestigious title, subsequently establishing Sheffield Debating as one of the most well established in the world.

For more information about Sheffield Debating visit Debate

28 July 2014

Virtual physiological human project awarded additional funding

Professor Frangi from the University of SheffieldThe development of a virtual human body to provide personalised treatments for patients is taking another step towards transforming global healthcare after receiving additional funding.

Researchers from the Centre for Computational Imaging & Simulation Technologies in Biomedicine (CISTIB), part of the INSIGNEO Institute for in-silico Medicine at the University of Sheffield, have been awarded funding to support further collaborations with leading medical researchers from across the UK. 

The funding will enable medical imagining experts from the University to take part in two Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) networks that collaborate with health researchers in the NHS, strengthening its relationship with leading engineering and physical science researchers from across the UK.

Professor Alex Frangi, Director of CISTIB at the University of Sheffield, said: “The participation in these networks is recognition of the leading role that the CISTIB plays in the national landscape of medical imaging analysis and our commitment to clinical translation of the results of our research.”

As part of the networks, Professor Frangi will run a series of workshops aiming to identify the engineering and physical science challenges relevant to the mental health field and attempt to develop a prioritised road map to address these.