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Building a Better World – Sussex shows the way

L-R: Dr Alice Eldridge, Mayor Alex Phillips, Dr Kate Shaw, Professor Robin Banerjee

On Thursday June 6, the University of Sussex hosted A Better World, a gala evening to celebrate all the Sussex students, staff, alumni and supporters who make the world a better place to live, work and play in.

Nearly 150 guests attended the event including the Mayor of Brighton & Hove - Councillor Alex Phillips, MP Tim Loughton, business and community leaders, and alumni.

The Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts (ACCA) was transformed to showcase exciting new projects by current students, researchers and academics. As guests arrived they were first met by a wind powered car, The Sussex Power Storm, created by a team of Engineering Masters students.

There were more demonstrations of student projects inside the venue. The Technology Enhanced Learning team treated guests to a dog’s eye view of the world using VR headsets, filmed using GoPro cameras worn by dogs as they explored Stanmer Park with the University’s award-winning dog-walking student society. The Wild Brighton team of MA students explained their work to encourage 15-25 year olds to become more engaged with the natural world and wild-life around Brighton.

Opening the event, Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell spoke of the many people and projects that have made a positive impact on the world over the past year. From students’ pro-bono law clinics and spontaneous vigils in response to attacks in New Zealand and Sri Lanka, to world-leading quantum computing research and life-saving baby monitors.

He said: “As well as nurturing brilliant young minds, Sussex is a place where talents can flower and people can express every side of their identity.

“As the world increasingly turns to technology for solutions it is universities like Sussex that are pushing the boundaries. We actively seek opportunities to be of value to the wider world and show our worth to our communities.”

Councillor Alex Phillips, Mayor of Brighton and Hove said: “I’ve been to many events in Brighton but never have I gone away feeling such a real buzz and excitement.

“Sussex is at the forefront of so many disciplines. The content of the presentations really blew my mind, it’s incredible that we’ve got that calibre of talent here in the city at the University of Sussex.”

The main event was a series of short, interactive presentations by three of Sussex’s most inspiring researchers.

Dr Kate Shaw talked about her work on the Large Hadron Collider and Physics Without Frontiers, a project she started to train a new generation of scientists in developing countries.

Dr Alice Eldridge explained how soundscape can be a stethoscope to assess the health, or imbalance of natural environments because it connects animals, plants, humans and machines; with examples of her collaborations with ecologists, sound engineers and local communities to monitor and map biodiversity.

Professor Robin Banerjee shared his vision of a world where kindness is a core value in our schools, public institutions, workplaces and communities to create a culture that nurtures positive mental health for all.

Guests also got an exclusive first-look at innovative projects developed by University of Sussex product design students. They were able to handle Maranitex, an alternative to plastic made using fish skins developed by Lucy Hughes. Nikita Simone showcased her Wastenot project packs that transform coffee pods and other non-recyclable plastic into beautiful tiles and coasters. And Jimmy McNamar demonstrated Sound Sleep, which combines an App, pillow motion sensors and a Smart lamp and speaker to improve sleep quality.

Jimmy shared the experience of all the product design students when he said: “I’m honoured to be asked to do this, it’s great exposure for my product and I’m very happy to be here.”

Summing up the evening, Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell said: “It’s been joyful. All my team feel excited and honoured to be among such talented people.”

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Posted on behalf of: University of Sussex
Last updated: Monday, 10 June 2019

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