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Ziggurat - The e-Newsletter of the UEA Alumni Association December 2016 View in browser
Ziggurat Christmas banner

With Christmas fast approaching, we can take a pause and reflect on the past year – and what a year it has been!

The University has again been ranked in the top 5 for student satisfaction, as well as in the UK top 15 by The Times and Sunday Times, and the world top 1% by the Times Higher Education rankings. We are very proud to balance the excellence of our student experience with continuing to strive for teaching and research excellence. The Aurora research network was launched (with UEA a founding member) putting this research excellence to use in society and to solve global issues. The Difference Campaign reached its target of raising £50m in philanthropic income to support University projects and improve the student experience. On campus a fantastic graduation week saw over 4,000 students become alumni over five gloriously sunny days. Our new Chancellor brings a new direction for the future, and a new cohort of students this September bring, as always, exciting possibilities.

There is also plenty of room for some nostalgia within our forward-looking vision. Our archive photo galleries are always immensely popular, as are the #throwbackthursday posts on social media. We’d love to be able to include any photos you want to share with us.

Over the next year the University will be celebrating the School of Environmental Science’s 50th anniversary; the School of Medicine's 10th anniversary of their first graduating cohort; and Concrete will be turning 25. Besides these academic landmarks, our recently launched UEA gigs archive project will be sharing photos, footage and memories all looking at the cultural and musical impact that UEA has had in Norwich. There are plenty of ways to celebrate 53 years of UEA history as we head into 2017.

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season and we will see you in the new year.

Featured Stories
Christmas LCR

The Christmas LCR is here!

This Saturday will be the Alumni Christmas LCR, so why not get your friends together and come back to campus for a festive celebration? 

London Lecture Jan 2017

London Lecture series 2017

The 2017 London Lecture series kicks off on Thursday 26 January with Dr Tom Licence from the School of History.

In his lecture, Tom will use items excavated from rubbish dumps to show how our throwaway habits developed. He will explore Victorian ideas about re-use and re-cycling, and link emerging patterns of waste-creation to the growth of western consumerism.

The lecture will take place in the Regent Street Cinema and will be followed by an informal drinks reception, giving you the chance to chat to Tom, your fellow alumni and other guests.

Read more and book  
Gig archive

UEA Gigs legacy project

Open to the public, some of the biggest names in music have played UEA and the Nick Rayns’ LCR, making UEA gigs a part of the fabric of life in our region for decades. 

For thousands of people those gigs hold great memories - but there are also the not-so-great memories, and even gigs that can barely be remembered. We’ve been delving through our archives to look at some key gigs and their impact. 

From now across the whole of 2017 we’ll be posting up special memory blogs and re-posting stories and pictures. Take a look at the site, download the gig list and sit down to reminisce with a mince pie over the Christmas period. If you’re feeling brave, why not share your memories with us?

You can enjoy a special preview of the new blogs for January, David Powles, editor of the Norwich Evening News, and alumna and novelist Lilie Ferrari.


If you’re enjoying these trips down memory lane, why not take a look at the photo galleries on the Alumni Association Facebook page. This photo was taken at a Christmas Dance in 1963!

If you have any old photos you’d like to share, send them to

News in Brief
Biologists unlock 51.7 million-year-old genetic secret to landmark Darwin theory

Scientists have identified the cluster of genes responsible for reproductive traits in the Primula flower, first noted as important by Charles Darwin more than 150 years ago.

Scientists propose ten policies to protect vital pollinators

Pesticide regulation, diversified farming systems and long-term monitoring are all ways governments can secure the future of pollinators such as bees, flies and wasps, according to scientists.

DNA influences selection of partners for educational achievement

A study co-led by the University has found that people with genes for high educational achievement tend to marry, and have children with, people with similar DNA.

More Stories
Campaign reception

The Difference Campaign extends its target to £100m

Following the incredible success of The Difference Campaign reaching its £50 million target, UEA is pleased to announce that it is broadening its scope and raising its sights to a new target of raising £100 million by 2021. 

This is an ambitious target, but with UEA’s growing network of supportive philanthropists, alumni, businesses, trusts and foundations, the University is confident it can be achieved.

One UEA alumnus explained his reasons for supporting the campaign: “I am of the generation that didn’t pay a penny for the opportunities that UEA gave me. The next generation will graduate into debt and uncertainty. It is for their sakes that I support The Difference Campaign.”

One important area of focus is Prostate Cancer Research. Prostate Cancer is the most common male cancer in the UK, with 11,000 men every year losing their battle with the disease. The Difference Campaign aims to change this by funding UEA’s world-leading researchers, who are currently developing a non-invasive test to determine the difference between aggressive and non-aggressive forms of the disease.

Encouraging entrepreneurship is another strong focus, and the new funding will help expand the support offered to students and recent graduates with business ideas through the innovative UEA Enterprise Fund, which will enable them to make their ideas a reality through a combination of grants, investment and expert mentoring.

Radio 1 DJ and UEA alumnus, Greg James, explains more about what the campaign hopes to achieve in this video on the campaign webpages.

Read More  

Alumna wins Editor of the Year award

Alumna Rachael Jolley won Editor of the Year at the The British Society of Magazine Editors awards 2016.

Rachel is editor of Index on Censorship magazine, which supports free expression, publishing distinguished writers from around the world, exposing suppressed stories, initiating debate, and providing an international record of censorship. The quarterly editions of the magazine usually focus on a country or region or a recurring theme in the global free expression debate.

Read More  

DevelopHER awards celebrate the best female talent in East Anglia’s tech sector

Two UEA alumni were among the winners at an awards ceremony which celebrates and promotes the role of women in East Anglia’s tech sector.

Alice Middleton of Inertia Game Studios won best newcomer and Esperanza Suarez of Axon Vibe won emerging talent. The awards were inspired by the team at Norwich based SyncDevelopHER, which hosts female role models to speak about their experiences in tech and encourage more women to join their growing community.

Social work awards

Top awards for Social Work professor and alumni

Emeritus Prof June Thoburn from the School of Social Work has received the award for outstanding contribution to social work at the Social Worker of the Year Awards 2016.

June is internationally renowned for her research on children’s social care, which has covered family support and child protection services for children and families in the community, as well as services for children placed away from home.

Three social work graduates also picked up awards at the ceremony. Emily Tiplady-Ead was awarded children’s social worker of the year; Bianca Lang received overall social worker of the year; and Francesca Rye won a silver award for children and families newly qualified social worker of the year.

Read more about the awards  
Concrete founding members

Concrete25: Save the date

Concrete will be celebrating its 25th birthday next year and want you to be a part of the celebration. 

Whether you were a writer, photographer, or wore the editor's crown you are all invited to Concrete25, a canapé reception at UEA's Sainsbury Centre on Friday 28 April 2017, 7pm-9.30pm. More details will follow in the new year, but make sure to save the date. 

If you are in touch with anyone who used worked at Concrete, please pass this on as the team want to contact as many people as possible.

If you  have memories to share and want to be featured in the 25th anniversary issue get in touch with Megan Baynes, current Editor-in-Chief, by emailing

Children's christmas lecture

Watch the Christmas Lectures for Children online

UEA’s annual Christmas Lectures for Children went off with a bang last weekend with ‘Volcanic ash and Victorian trash’ and the recording is now available to watch online

Dr Tom Licence from the School of History rooted through Victorian rubbish to find out all about our ancestors – which toys their children played with, what animals they kept, the illnesses they suffered and even how they celebrated Christmas.

Prof Jenni Barclay and Dr Richard Herd from the School of Environmental Sciences took families on a journey deep below the earth’s surface to discover different types of magma, experiment with giant flubber flows, and learn how volcanic eruptions are monitored.

Call campaign

A big thank you

The University would like to say a huge thank you to all the alumni who supported this year's Call Campaign.

Donations large and small came together to raise an impressive £79,290 for The Difference Campaign - an amount that will make a real impact. 

This year's campaign supported three areas: scholarships to help talented students from low-income backgrounds come to UEA; world-leading research into the treatment and prevention of prostate cancer; and, of course, The Alumni Fund, which supports student-focused projects across campus. 

If you didn’t receive a call, the students will be calling again in the spring and they look forward to talking to you then.


First female President of the World Organisation of Family Doctors

Prof Amanda Howe from the School of Medicine has been appointed the first female president of the World Organisation of Family Doctors (Wonca) at its global conference in Rio de Janeiro.

Wonca is a not-for-profit organisation that includes more than 550,000 family doctors covering around 90% of the world’s population.

UEA scholarships thank you

Merry Christmas from UEA scholars

More than 70 students are coming to the end of their first semester as UEA’s newest cohort of scholarship recipients supported by donations to The Difference Campaign. Amongst the deadlines and festive celebrations, the scholars have taken the time to say thank you to the alumni who have made their first experiences at UEA possible. 

Donor-funded scholarships enable talented undergraduate students from low income backgrounds come to UEA, whilst supporting the brightest minds in their studies at postgraduate level. 

Maisie Chadwick is a first year Geography and International Development student and a recipient of The Difference Undergraduate Scholarship: “I could go on all day about how much fun I’m having and how lucky I am to be here, but of course, I couldn’t have done it without your kindness and generosity. You have given me the opportunity to learn, meet new people, face new challenges, and ultimately, become a better person. I hope that one day I can help someone as much as you have helped me.” You can read more stories like Maisie’s on The Difference Campaign website, where all the scholarship recipients’ thank you letters are available.


Brexit discussions continue

The phrase “Brexit means Brexit” has been said a lot recently, but what does that mean? A series of three events involving practitioners and specialists took place on campus over the autumn semester to examine this question, generating lively debate and offering valuable insights as the UK government prepares to trigger Article 50. 

The series will continue in the spring semester with an event on Thursday 19 January examining the future of the UK as a union of nations in light of Brexit. With a majority of Scottish MPs committed to remaining within the EU and given the Scottish government’s recent publication of a draft bill for a second independence referendum, this event will examine the question of whether the UK can remain united in the face of Brexit. 

Speakers at the event will include Prof John Curtice (University of Strathclyde), Prof Michael Keating (University of Aberdeen), Dr Jo Hunt (University of Cardiff) and UEA’s Dr Nikos Skoutaris (LAW).

Study Abroad

Study Abroad

If you choose to study abroad as part of your degree the experience often turns out to be highly formative. We are keen to hear from our alumni, to find out how you feel about your experience and any impact it may have had on you. Whether you studied at UEA as a visiting student, or came from UEA to a partner institution, please complete this short survey

The answers we receive will help us encourage, prepare and support current and future students to take part in study abroad programmes and take advantage of the fantastic opportunities available to them.

You will need to fill in your ID number.

Take the survey  
Social storm

Students whipping up a social storm 

Three current students have harnessed the power of technology to solve one of the world’s biggest challenges.

Muqaddam Malik, James Page and Joshua Loftus, with a virtual team of other students from Edinburgh and Aston universities, won this year’s global Social Storm competition.

The objective of the 24 hour competition was to work together to find solutions for the United Nations Global Goals. The team focussed on the goal to develop sustainable housing and beat teams from 20 universities in eight countries with their idea for a sustainable housing scheme in Kenya using hemp and other natural materials like bamboo instead of traditional mud. 

Watch the film about their winning idea here.


UEA launches new kind of investment fund

The Adapt Low Carbon Group at the University has announced a new kind of investment fund that will enable emerging UK enterprises with sustainable products and services to expand into Asia.

Established in partnership with the Chinese start-up investor Cocoon Networks, Adapt Cocoon Equity has announced the Mulberry Green Fund, a £20 million venture capital fund that is looking to invest in early stage enterprises in the green-tech sector to nurture and develop them for expansion into the Asian, and particularly Chinese, markets.

“Our mission is to demonstrate the role that technology has to play in reducing pressure on the planet’s finite resources by improving the efficiency of buildings and transport, reducing the amount of resources used in manufacturing, increasing recycling and helping farmers to grow more with less” said Adapt CEO Prof John French. “Cocoon Networks approached us to be their partner because of our global reputation for climate change research and sustainability.”

Literary festival 2017

Spring Literary Festival

The line-up for the Spring Literary Festival has been announced.

Lionel Shriver, Ed Balls and Ali Smith are among the big names speaking on campus, with each writer sharing their own way of looking at the world, their experience and looking at the role of writer, politician and actor in these tumultuous times.

UEA Choir at Christmas

UEA Choir perform a feast of festive favourites

UEA Choir will perform their ever-popular Christmas Carol concert on Wednesday 14 December, at 7.30pm, at St John the Baptist Roman Catholic Cathedral, Norwich.

Under the direction of UEA Choirmaster, Tom Primrose, the 170-strong choir will perform music by Vaughan Williams, Rutter and Willcocks, as well as a host of well-loved Christmas carols for the audience to join in.


Postgraduate scholarships

UEA has a range of Postgraduate scholarships available for entry in September 2017 across all subject areas.

A Masters’ or research degree could provide you with an enhanced professional skillset, and experience to help you stand out in a highly competitive job market. Added to UEA’s reputation for world-leading research and dedicated teaching that challenges you to reach your full potential, supportive funding like the alumni tuition fee-reduction scholarships mean there are some excellent opportunities to take your learning further.

Campaign update

3,424 donors - and counting!

With the help of UEA alumni, The Difference Campaign is achieving great things. The names of all donors are now online - so do take a look for yours and any others that may be familiar! 

To keep up to date with the latest news and stories from The Difference Campaign, sign up to receive bi-monthly campaign news here.

EDU open day

Could you inspire the next generation?

UEA will be holding two open events in February for anyone considering training to teach, at either primary or secondary level.

Both sessions will start with a general information talk, and be followed by the opportunity to speak directly to subject tutors, current students and newly qualified teachers. Members of the admissions team will also be available to offer advice on all admissions related questions.

Find out more  

Award winning year for entrepreneurial hub on campus

The Enterprise Centre (TEC) has enjoyed a multi-award winning year. Designed as one of the UK’s most sustainable buildings, it is the gateway building to UEA’s campus. 

If you’re a small business, a start-up, or simply looking for an innovative and creative space for offices or for an event, why not get in touch? A range of stunning spaces are available, as well as flexible desk and office rental options. Contact the team to find out how your business or community group could be part of this green business hub.


Student project survey

Current Environmental Sciences student Scarlet Prentice is looking for alumni to take part in a short survey (which should take about five minutes) as part of her final year project. 

The project aims to look at individuals’ travel practices, the impact of location and age, changes in preferred mode of transport over time, and what causes or influences these changing attitudes. 

Please note that the survey closes on Sunday 18 December. All responses are greatly appreciated.



Please note the University will be closed for the Christmas holidays on Friday 23 December 2016 until Tuesday 3 January 2017.

The alumni team wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!

What's On

Inaugural Lectures

Tuesdays (throughout the spring term), 6.30pm
Julian Study Centre lecture theatre

UEA’s inaugural lectures series offers a chance to hear about a huge range of cutting-edge research from UEA’s newest professors. The whole series will also be live-streamed online, so if you’re unable to get to campus, you can still enjoy the lectures. 

Starting the series on Tuesday 17 January 2017 is Prof Jennifer Whitty from the Norwich Medical School who will be exploring what the public values in health care services and considering how this information might help with future challenges and decisions regarding health care interventions. On Tuesday 31 January Prof Chris Bowler will introduce Tara Oceans, a multidisciplinary research consortium furthering our understanding of life in the ocean and beyond; Prof Tiffany Atkinson will explore the ways in which poetry can provoke embarrassment; and Prof Gerard Parr will weigh up the potential possibilities and harm of internet technologies. 

Dragon Hall Debates

Dragon Hall, Norwich

UEA and Writers’ Centre Norwich will continue this exciting new series of lectures in the new year.

On Monday 16 January, in Migration: what does humanity demand? the Red Cross’ Gervais Kouloungou Mambs will talk about the experiences of migrants living here in Norwich, and discuss the wider geopolitics of the current migrant crisis with UEA’s Alexandria Innes and journalist Daniel Trilling. 

Later in the year, Mary Beard, Cambridge University Professor of Classics will discuss her experience of Twitter trolls, and UEA experts will cast light on just how far we have to go to achieve gender equality.

Events are free to attend, but booking is essential.


In the past month the University has sadly been informed of the death of following alumni:

Gillian Moore, née Hotchkiss (DEV73)

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