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Award Winner Profiles 2016

Jacqui Holgate

Embedding the governance review into practice and process


Jacqui Holgate is the Committee Secretariat Manager in the Directorate of Planning, Legal and Governance. This role includes the full range of committee servicing and support responsibilities for monthly meetings of Executive Board and quarterly meetings of both Council and Governance and Nominations Committee.

Jacqui provides exemplary support to these committees and enjoys the full confidence of the Chair of Council, the Vice-Chancellor and all other Executive Board and Council members. Jacqui works tirelessly, liaising with report authors and senior colleagues to ensure timely distribution of papers; her minute writing is accurate and succinct and she ensures that agreed actions arising are implemented effectively and efficiently. Jacqui has a consistently positive approach to her work and as such is a great role model for colleagues; in this ,and previous roles, she has demonstrated great commitment and loyalty to the University.

In recognition of her outstanding contribution to the work of the University generally and to the development and maintenance of a high quality governance support service, I have pleasure in confirming the award of the Vice-Chancellor's prize for Outstanding Achievement to Jacqui Holgate

Bill McCarthy
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Operations)


Karan Aswani

Diamonds & Diamonds Business


Karan Aswani, a graduate of our BSc (Hons) Accounting and Finance programme, won the Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Award 2016 for his business Diamonds and Diamonds Ltd. The diamond trade is a tough industry and although the London market was already saturated Karan believed that by offering exceptional customer service, fair prices and always using his trained eye to source quality certified diamonds he could successfully break into the market.

He was right! In the first year of trading, the company had a revenue of £280k and in the second year this increased by 92% to £540k. Diamonds and Diamonds Ltd supply loose, polished diamonds and finished jewellery pieces to retail, private and e-commerce jewellers across the world, from the UK, Spain, Germany, Italy to Canada, USA, Hong Kong, Australia, and the Caribbean.

Karan is now in the process of developing his second company, 'House of Silver Ltd' which will focus on fashion jewellery, benefitting from the knowledge and skills he has already developed in the diamond trade.

Nikki Pierce
Academic Registrar (Director of Student and Academic Services)


Lijun Shang

Developing international student recruitment, student exchanges and research collaborations in China


Dr Lijun Shang, was recruited as a Lecturer in Medical Sciences with the aim of developing Internationalisation. Within the University he represents the Faculty of life Sciences and contributes to the development of the strategy at the University Internationalisation Working Group, and is a also member of the University Academic partnership Sub-committee. He has made a good contribution to developing international student exchanges and research collaborations, particularly in China. He has a good relationship with the college of Life Science in Sichuan University (a premier University in China) and has brought forward a 3+1+1 agreement in biomedical sciences, and when the contract is jointly signed should lead to recruitment next year.

In building this relationship, Lijun has developed exchange programmes with other Chinese Universities e.g. South Western University, in Chong Qing where he has run summer camps. They have sent their students here on camps for two consecutive years. When the students have come here, some of us have lectured on their courses. I have spoken to the Leaders of the Delegation who have said how energetic and helpful he has been to all the visiting students.

Lijun has also for 2 years taken 2 groups of 7-10 University of Bradford students to Sichuan University on their existing cultural exchange scheme. Most of the costs are covered by Sichuan, so costs are minimal. These experiences have greatly improved the students’ international experiences and promoted the Faculty of Life Sciences and the University of Bradford.

Our students are very enthusiastic about these exchange programmes and four have written to support his nomination. As one of them wrote, and I quote: “ This achievement is a prime example of how the University of Bradford staff are Making Knowledge Work at an international level and the University International Programme is recognised internationally as a competitive fulfilling event.”

Diana Anderson
Professor of Biomedical Science and Established Chair

Winning the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement made me feel very proud. It not only recognised me for the work that I have done, but hopefully also indicates future support and commitment for the University’s Internationalisation Strategy

Lijun Shang

Project Search Team

Introducing the Project SEARCH Bradford programme to the University


The Recruitment team within HR was nominated for a Vice-Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Achievement for their demonstrable commitment to the development and employment of individuals with learning difficulties within the University from across the Bradford district.

The University formed a partnership with Project SEARCH Bradford, an access to work programme run by Southfield Grange School (the educational provider), Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (the host employer), and HfT (a supported employment charity) in 2014. The recruitment team in HR has taken a very proactive approach over the past 18 months which has led to the creation of a number of additional placements and permanent job opportunities for Project SEARCH Interns and Graduates at the University of Bradford. This includes roles in administration, library services, portering, cleaning, and catering (working with Sodexo).

The structured annual programme provides three on-site work placements, each lasting ten weeks in duration, complemented by classroom-based skills development sessions. It involves continual feedback on performance and areas for learning to ensure ongoing improvement. The Interns carry out 'real' jobs in real work environments, with the ultimate aim of securing permanent employment at the end of the programme. Since its inception, hundreds of Project SEARCH sites have been setup across the United States and Canada, and now a number are starting up in the UK and Europe.

As a result, the programme met its commitment to find employment for at least 60% of its graduates, for the first time, at the end of the 2014-15 cycle. This came as a direct consequence of the investment made by the University.

The University's involvement in the project demonstrates our ongoing commitment to equality and diversity on a regional, national, and international stage, with the team receiving recognition at the European Project SEARCH conference in Bath in June 2016. It also demonstrates excellence in the recruitment of people with learning difficulties, by maximizing their opportunities and breaking down barriers to employment. The team is now making preparations to host the conference in 2017 which will see hundreds of delegates attend from across Europe and further afield.

Ultimately the key aim of Project SEARCH is to support people with learning difficulties to secure full time, paid work in a competitive employment market. The commitment that the team have made to Project SEARCH Bradford demonstrates a wholehearted contribution to the University's Excellence, Sustainability, Equality and Diversity objectives, as well as it's wider Corporate Social Responsibilities in general. This contribution will be sustained through the team's involvement in the operational working group of Project SEARCH Bradford, as well as a seat on the strategic steering board. By its very nature, the programme is excellent in everything it stands for, making a genuine difference to the lives of individuals with learning difficulties and their families, by maximizing opportunities and breaking down barriers to employment. Unlike other employers in the Bradford area, the team at the University have not only engaged with the programme but have made a genuine difference to the results that it has achieved, demonstrating excellence through the time and effort they have invested.

Many of the parents involved in the programme often make the comment that their son/daughter is "like a different person" following completion of the Project SEARCH programme, and particularly as they make their journey into onward employment.

Quote from Musserat Ul Haq, parent of Subla Ul Haq, Project SEARCH Graduate and University employee:

Having a job has given Subla a sense of meaning and purpose. She feels like she is living a normal, valued life. She is more responsible, confident and happy. She is proud of herself – as are all her family. Project SEARCH gave her the chance to show what she could do. They helped find her strengths and then develop them. They showed her that work was achievable for her; they have changed her life for the better.

Joanne Marshall
Director of Human Resources & Organisational Development

Diversity Festival Team

Organising the University’s first Diversity Festival


This team of fabulous people planned the 1st ever University of Bradford Diversity Festival, celebrating diversity at the university with a week full of events and activities.

The team sought to celebrate, raise awareness of, and educate about diversity and the protected characteristics of the equality act 2010 (Age, Disability, Gender reassignment, Marriage and civil partnership, Pregnancy and maternity, Race, Religion and belief, Sex, Sexual orientation) and did this in an inclusive way, drawing on experience and skills from across the university and beyond. Academic staff, support staff, students and community members were all enabled to participate. Events included lectures, training, activities and exhibitions, ranging from a wheelchair push from the campus at Emm Lane to the university's city campus; a 24hr handbike challenge; a book launch; speakers and workshops, including a local MP, a holocaust survivor and a variety of guests sharing about refugees/asylum seekers and the university on its journey to becoming a University of Sanctuary; an inclusive comedy night; international student traditional costume parade; and a faith day involving our interfaith chaplaincy and a range of student faith societies holding stalls and activities in the atrium.

The planning of the Diversity Festival Week was a huge time commitment, which the team undertook on top of their own regular work commitments. The endeavour was planned and implemented as a gift to the university and wider community and part of the 50th anniversary celebrations. It succeeded in bringing many people together and played its part in helping to build community in the university. How do we measure the contribution to acceptance and understanding and social cohesion? Certainly the students from the faith societies who participated enjoyed the opportunity to work together across faith traditions to bring the atrium alive with colour and fun, involving the Sikh society tying colourful turbans on people, the Catholic Society offering selfies with a life-sized cardboard pope, amongst other things that enabled great conversations and continued friendship development.

A graduate from 1991 attending an event said, "It's great to see the University moving forward and actively supporting diversity events in this way". And so it is. It was a hugely successful week that was uplifting, encouraging and informative for all those taking part. It was a great celebration of our diversity, just one of the many things that makes this a brilliant university!

The comedy night was a perfect finish to a thought provoking, educational and ground-breaking week. The feedback has been phenomenal and attendees are calling for the Diversity Festival to be an annual event. The atmosphere created on campus was one of celebration and positivity and defined the University of Bradford as a leader in confronting inequality and celebrating diversity.

Rev. Suzanne Vernon-Yorke
Co-ordinating Chaplain & Anglican Chaplain

The Diversity Festival team were over the moon when we found out we had won the VC’s Outstanding Achievement Award. It was a testament to all of our hard work and dedication in delivering the University’s first ever Diversity Festival.

It was great to hear from Suzanne (Vernon-Yorke) how the festival made an impact on the staff and student community and how they were brought together under a common theme of acceptance and difference.

We feel that the success of the Diversity Festival demonstrates how different teams working together from across the University can achieve a fantastic result. We hope to have the opportunity to run this event again in 2018.

Gill Cockburn (on behalf of the Diversity Festival team)

Centre for Skin Sciences Team

International symposium and their external activities and research


The Centre for Skin Sciences team (Vladimir & Natalia Botchkarev, Mike Fessing, Andrei Mardaryev, Krzysztof Poterlowicz, Su Shergill, Julie Thornton, Desmond Tobin and Gillian Westgate) is awarded for organization of Second International Symposium “Epigenetic Regulation of Skin Regeneration and Ageing” in March 2016. The goal of the Symposium was to bring two research communities – skin and chromatin biologists – together and promote research in the rapidly developing area of skin epigenetics. The symposium has attracted attention of over 120 participants from Europe, United States, China, Japan and Singapore. The Symposium programme included 9 Keynote and 21 invited speakers, the recognized experts in different aspects of chromatin biology, epigenetic and dermatological research. The John Wood Memorial Lectureship was awarded to Prof. Elaine Fuchs, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and member of US National Academy of Sciences (Rockefeller University, New York), who delivered a lecture “Epigenetic Control of Skin Stem Cells”.

The Symposium has placed University of Bradford as one of the leading hubs in skin epigenetic research and provided a platform for interactions between different groups of researchers to bridge the gap between our current knowledge of basic epigenetic mechanisms and understanding how their alterations contribute to the development of pathological skin conditions, such as psoriasis and cancer. Hopefully, this Symposium will help in further development of skin epigenetics as a novel area of basic and applied cutaneous research and will promote the research towards generation of novel cohorts of epigenetic drugs for the treatment of skin disorders.

In addition, VC Award was given in acknowledgement of the CSS fundraising activities associated with 30th Anniversary of the Bradford Football Club fire. This tragic event in 1986 has lead to the establishment of the Plastic Surgery and Burns Unit at the University of Bradford lead by Prof. David Sharpe and his current successor plastic surgeon Aji Mahajan. Plastic Surgery and Burns Unit was serving as a platform for training of many plastic surgeons in dermatological research. CSS team leaded by Prof. Des Tobin including Su Shergill and Aji Mahajan has generated over GBP300K of the public donations for further support training activities and PhD studentships at the Plastic Surgery and Burns Unit.

Vladimir Botchkarev
Professor of Cutaneous Biology



As researchers we can become overly-focused on persuading colleagues in other universities and around the globe of our research and knowledge transfer credentials. What is often missing is an enthusiastic and robust sharing of our RKT passions, expertise and achievements with our 'home' colleagues here in UoB. I feel that the annual Vice-Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Achievement is a terrific vehicle to redress this imbalance. It means a great deal to those of us who strive, in partnership with a supportive Faculty and University, to make our knowledge work in the wider world.  I am delighted and very proud of the entire Centre for Skin Sciences team on a great year of delivery in 2015/2016.  

Des J Tobin

Our team organizing the International Symposium on Skin Epigenetics in Bradford (Vladimir Botchkarev, Natalia Botchkareva, Michael Fessing, Andrei Mardaryev, Krzysztof Poterlowicz, Julie Thornton, Desmond Tobin, Gillian Westgate) considers the Vice-Chancellor’s award for Outstanding Achievement as a tremendous honour and privilege. It was really great to feel recognised for the work we did and to know that the University appreciated it.

Vladimir Botchkarev

On behalf of the Centre for Skin Sciences team

Outside Broadcast Team

Development of a new partnership with the BBC


Over the past year, the team, led by Chris Hazell, has developed a new partnership with the British Broadcasting Corporation to create a placement scheme with BBC Yorkshire on the back of producing televised events with the university’s Outside Broadcasting truck. These have given our undergraduate students first-hand experience in the production of live prime-time BBC One television and BBC Local radio programmes. During these, our students were not just shadowing BBC crew, but were actively performing key roles for the transmission, including rigging, camera, sound, and prompting and floor management.

Let me cite just two examples:

In November 2015, the team provided coverage for BBC Yorkshire’s Children in Need regional on BBC One from Bradford City Hall which involved some 40 students. This complex setup involved rigging, filming and mixing sound live on air for three different venues in the building, including a choir on the main stairwell, Bhangra dancing in the banqueting suite and pop artists performing in a meeting room.

In June 2016, the team provided the coverage for BBC Yorkshire’s EU Referendum Debate, broadcast nationally on BBC One England HD as well as BBC One Yorkshire.

Since the Election broadcast, a total of 16 MDT students have been on direct  placement with the BBC, with a similar number expected in the forthcoming academic year. As a result of these collaborative projects and the on-going placement scheme, a number of students have all gained contracts within the BBC ahead of their actual graduation.

Getting the appropriate exposure to industry and being able to demonstrate their ability during their time at the University of Bradford has given them a big advantage in the fiercely competitive television job market. Two of our students are now working within ITV Drama contractors on prime-time drama and feature films as a result of the scheme. Our standing within industry has never been higher as we continue to produce graduates with an excellent work-place knowledge that we can be proud of.

This reputation has led to the development of the OB Engineering Higher Level Apprenticeship programme, a first of its kind, where Outside Broadcast companies place their graduate trainees on a nationally approved course operated by the University of Bradford.

Ali Rashid
Head of Media, Design and Technology

School of Dementia Studies Team

Developing the Bradford Dementia Care mapping tool


The School of Dementia Studies, previously known as Bradford Dementia Group has played a long-standing role in 'improving the quality of care for people with dementia’, and thereby helped countless individuals to 'live well with dementia'.   The current team have nurtured the legacy of the late Professor Tom Kitwood to build and progress the concept of 'person-centred care'.  The Bradford Dementia Care Mapping (DCMTM) tool was developed around person-centred care, allowing practitioners to evaluate care from the perspective of the person with dementia.  They have since developed a shortened version of this tool called the Short Observational Framework for Inspection or ‘SOFI’.  SOFI is used by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) during inspection visits and therefore underpins judgements made on the quality of care providing a direct route by which the work of the dementia team at Bradford impacts upon the lives of those living with dementia.

Evidence of their contribution towards sustainability includes research to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions.  Internationalisation is evident in their network with collaborators and users of Dementia Care Mapping in Europe, America, Australia and Japan.  For equality and diversity they work actively with local NHS Trusts to improve care pathways for South Asian families, 40% of whom drop out of services.  Excellence is demonstrated by all of the above and was this year recognised by the award of a Queens Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.  Bradford School of Dementia Studies actively enhances lives; that is real impact!

Pam Bagley                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Dean of the Faculty of Health Studies


"We are thrilled to have our work recognised with this award.  It's a tremendous boost to all of us to be feted in this way for our contribution to making knowledge work for people affected by dementia. It gives us encouragement to continue to build our work to go on making a difference to the lives of those with dementia.”

Murna Downs (on behalf of the School of Dementia Studies team)

Chevening Scholars Team

Supporting the Chevening Scholarship international award 


The value of Dr PB Anand and Sarah Verbickas is shown by the fact they received two independent nominations - by myself and by one of this year’s Chevening scholars, Isaac Otabor.

Chevening is the UK Government’s flagship scholarship programme, awarded to international students for taught Masters study at UK universities. The 44,000 Chevening alumni include some 110 nationalities. Chevening alumni are powerful ambassadors not just for the UK but also for the University of Bradford

Over the years Bradford has attracted around 2-4 scholars annually. However in 2015-16 Bradford welcomed 26 Chevening scholars, well above the sector average.

The increase in 2015-2016 has been due to an increased emphasis on managing the relationship with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and providing an excellent student experience for the scholars at Bradford. This has been led by Dr PB Anand with support from Sarah Verbickas (Scholarships team) and the International Office. A personal contact with each of the scholars is maintained. A programme of talks is organised on wider aspects of the university operation (e.g. estates, entrepreneurship, internationalisation). Scholars are included in a range of activities such as the Lord Mayor’s welcome and a photo session with the Vice-Chancellor.

The relationship with the FCO is being developed further with a partnership agreement being signed to offer 3 Chevening/University of Bradford scholarships.

The team have contributed to three of the university’s strategic objectives.

  • Internationalisation – through increasing global engagement and profile within UK government and overseas organisations and by increasing the number of sponsored students.
  • Excellence – through recruiting high quality students.
  • Equality and Diversity – through allowing students to be represented in the Bradford student body who would otherwise not be here. Not only 2 scholars from Cuba, but the furthest   travelled international student this year, all the way from Tuvalu, Polynesia (almost 15,000 km away).

Impact is always about the individual. So the final word goes to one of the Chevening scholars who says that in his time at Bradford he has been inspired to look beyond his degree programme. The hard work of the Chevening scholars team has built long-standing relationships for the UK and for the University.

Billy Mitchell



"We are absolutely thrilled to have been nominated and to have won this award. At Bradford, we have an excellent track record of facilitating Chevening scholars and this award reflects our commitment to excellence in our effort to making sure Chevening scholars have an outstanding experience while they study here and become global and lifetime ambassadors of the University after they graduate from here."

PB Anand (on behalf of the Chevening Scholars team)

Theoretical Archaeology Group Conference team

Organisation of the Theoretical Archaeological group conference


We nominated the Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) conference committee for their promotion of Diversity within the most important archaeological conference in the UK. TAG is the major annual event for academic archaeologists in the UK and was last hosted at Bradford 21 years ago in 1994. It is a major organisational feat hosting one of the largest archaeology conferences, and was accomplished through the hard work and dedication of a team of students and staff. The team comprised of undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and staff, who worked together in the year leading up to the conference.

Not every TAG has a theme, but our group decided to have the theme of ‘Diversity’ for Bradford’s conference, as Diversity is at the heart of our identity. The theme encompassed diversity in the following three key areas: our discipline & demographics; in our research, including the study of diversity in the past, including gender and identity; and in the diversity of archaeological practice, spanning community, professional and academic archaeology, as well as science, theory, the lab, and fieldwork. The theme maps on to Bradford’s excellence agenda, highlighting equality and diversity, crucial for the sustainability of the discipline. The theme followed on from the ‘Is gender still relevant?’ conference, held at Bradford in Sept 2014, and ties in closely with GENOVATE work.

The theme was reflected throughout the conference, with around 140 papers within 22 sessions, encompassing a range of topics, including: ‘Mental health in archaeology’; ‘Diversity of ages. Mind the gap – where are the young people in archaeology?’; and ‘Social differentiation, personhood and inequality in prehistoric societies’.

The TAG committee showcased our excellent facilities and really confirmed archaeology at Bradford as leading in its field. They demonstrated the university’s commitment to Diversity.

Chris Gaffney
Head of Archaeological Sciences