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Now in their sixth year, the Awards celebrate the outstanding teams, people and initiatives from higher and further education institutions across the north of England.

The shortlisted submissions are:

Chester Students’ Union (CSU) – Students’ Union of the Year

CSU represents 19,000 students covering a range of activities from independent advice and representation through to student-led societies. During the past 12 months CSU’s societies have become free to join which has resulted in in a 25% increase in members across its 80 societies. This has been recognised as a case study of good practice by the NUS (National Union of Students). Recent successes for CSU have included achieving a Top 10 rating in the What Uni Awards Students’ Union category; running community clean-up events; campaigns including Hate Crime Week and SASS (Sexual Awareness and Staying Safe) week and organising a Brexit-debate and General Election hustings.

The Centre for Work Related Studies (CWRS), situated within Chester Business School, runs one of Europe’s largest frameworks for the accreditation of work-based learning. The framework is currently supporting a newer version of co-delivery arrangement that further benefits the region’s employers and employees, keeping veterinary surgeons’ talent in the North. Responding to an approach from CPD Solutions, a client based on the Wirral in the North West of England, CWRS identified opportunities to offer continuing professional development (CPD) for qualified veterinary surgeons in the form of postgraduate certificates in specialisms including Small Animal Surgery, Small Animal Emergency Practice, Small Animal Radiology and Small Animal Dentistry.

  • Both the Innovation Award and International Partnership (University sector) award – University of Chester and Chester Smart Composite Group – Use of multifunctional structure

The Chester Smart Composite Group (CSCG), based at the University’s Thornton Science Park, is led by Professor Yu Shi, and embodies highly active collaborations and partnerships with firms and universities abroad. CSCG is now working and collaborating with more than 30 home and international universities, and over 50 companies and four Catapults in the UK (Catapults are centres of excellence promoting collaboration and knowledge exchange between research organisations, businesses and government.) The 2019 aims of his group’s innovative research into the development of advanced composite materials included reducing the challenge of high maintenance costs for offshore wind energy, lowering the carbon emissions of road vehicles by autonomous monitoring, and developing lightweight and multifunctional composite structures for prosthetic limbs. Yu Shi has also helped the University to set up or strengthen collaborations with 13 Chinese universities and two Japanese ones, enabling co-funding, research publications, student programmes, and visiting by academics and postgraduates.

  • Community Engagement Award (University sector) – University of Chester and CHEW (Chester Healthy Eating Workshops)

Chester Healthy Eating Workshops (CHEW) is a 2019 project led by students from the University, working in collaboration with Chester Aid to the Homeless (CATH) and overseen by the University’s Volunteering and Mentoring Team. The project provides weekly cooking and nutrition workshops to service users within supported housing managed by CATH. It offers residents the opportunity to attend a session every six weeks, cooking a variety of recipes. The workshops aim to introduce healthy eating principles and re-introduce old cooking experiences in a friendly, non-judgmental manner. The project is co-ordinated by two Nutrition and Dietetics students, who are responsible for recruiting, training and co-ordinating the volunteers; liaising with CATH to organise the sessions; and keeping the Volunteering Team updated. The Volunteering Team ensures the project is fully supported and maintains contact with CATH to ensure successful delivery.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Chester, Professor Eunice Simmons, said: “I am extremely proud to see both our students and staff recognised in this way. From designing and delivering innovative projects through to volunteering in the community, it is very satisfying for the hard work and dedication of so many people here at the University to have made it to the finals. I wish them all the very best of luck!”

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