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Ziggurat - The e-Newsletter of the UEA Alumni Association October 2018 View in browser
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Featured Stories
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UEA ranked top 15 nationally for third year running

UEA has been ranked a top 15 university in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019 for the third year running. The Good University Guide provides the definitive rankings for UK universities and the most comprehensive overview of higher education in Britain.

Vice-Chancellor, Prof David Richardson, expressed his delight, in particular, at UEA’s status as the most inclusive university amongst the top 15 universities, according to the guide’s new social inclusion rankings. “All these achievements reflect the continued hard work and dedication of our staff and students in maintaining our status as a diverse, inclusive and successful university,” he said.

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019 was published on 23 September and provides students and their parents with an invaluable first reference point on the path to finding a university place.

UEA has also been ranked in the world top 200 of the prestigious Times Higher Education World Universities Rankings and is in the Top 50 for research citations.

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Global celebrations

Hundreds of alumni have gathered to celebrate UEA’s 55th anniversary at events all over the world.

Arshia Aziz, who graduated from the School of International Development in 2011 and now works as a Marketing Director for the British Council, organised one of the gatherings. She said: “Our gathering in Dhaka, Bangladesh catered as an exciting opportunity for friends and fellow alumni to come together and cherish fond memories of our days spent well in UEA. It was evident that even after so many years, UEA has a very special place in our hearts and will continue to hold that place – always.”

“What I love about UEA is its global perspective, whether it’s student participation or diverse opinions. The reunion gave me an opportunity to experience that again by reconnecting with fellow alumni.” said Echo Lee, who graduated from the School of Development Studies in 2003 and hosted an event in Berkeley, California, USA.

It is not too late to join several events still scheduled to take place in the coming weeks. You can check locations and register below.

Not seeing your area represented? If you are interested in hosting your own gathering, our Global Alumni Officer, Rose Kemmy, will be delighted to help you organise your own event. Email her on

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Norwich Science Festival

There’s something for everyone at this year’s Norwich Science Festival, which will take place across nine activity-packed days from Friday 19 to Saturday 27 October.

The theme of this year’s Festival is ‘our future world’ with events focusing on water, nature, physics, astronomy, engineering, technology, chemistry and health. Find out why a drop of water is like a neighbourhood and meet our marine microbes, with PhD students from the School of Biological Sciences. Put on a seagull hat and start your migratory journey in "Fly: the bird migration game". And discover the physics of shaking, rattling and rolling – with the help of a little flubber – with the natural hazards team from the School of Environmental Sciences.

There will also be plenty of opportunities to hear about the latest research in a series of talks from UEA staff and students throughout the week. All our talks are free of charge and cover a range of disciplines and topics, from gravitational waves to concussion in sport, via engineering failures and DNA.

The final day of the Festival focuses on the science taking place across the Norwich Research Park, and will feature talks on what goes on behind the doors of the John Innes Centre, the Earlham Institute and the Quadram Institute. There will also be plenty of hands-on activities provided by UEA and the Norwich Research Park institutes, including a giant walk-through gut in the middle of The Forum.

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UEA partnership with NMS

A new partnership between the University and Norfolk Museums Service (NMS) was announced on Friday 21 September at a celebration in Norwich Castle.

The partnership formalises the existing, long-standing collaboration between the two organisations, which has seen joint projects bring history and cultural heritage to life via exhibitions, activities and events across the county. It was announced during a welcome event for 200 international students held in the Keep. “We felt it was a fitting occasion to announce this partnership, as welcoming visitors from overseas is also part of Norfolk’s history,” said Prof Sarah Barrow, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Arts and Humanities at UEA.

The partnership offers a series of benefits for UEA, including free entry to all 10 Norfolk Museums Service sites for students on presentation of their student card, free entry for staff with student groups or as part of preparation for research or teaching projects, more opportunities for work placements and internships, co-supervised PhDs and support for the PGCE and Early Years teaching programmes.

“We’re excited about the opportunities that lie ahead as a result of our partnership, which also includes links to the British Museum. Our future projects will, we hope, encourage new and wider audiences to enjoy the rich and diverse cultural heritage that our academics, students and Norfolk Museums Service’s experts will bring alive and which, in turn, will support our regional economy,” said Prof Barrow.

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News in Brief
Women who eat a Mediterranean diet face a 22% lower risk of stroke

Following a Mediterranean-style diet may reduce stroke risk in women over 40 but not in men – according to new research led by Prof Ailsa Welch of UEA's Norwich Medical School.

Greenhouse gas removal could make UK carbon neutral by 2050

UEA researchers have helped devise an ambitious plan to make the UK carbon neutral by 2050 – with the help of greenhouse gas removal (GGR) technologies. Prof Corinne Le Quéré, director of UEA’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, quoted.

Once Majestic Atlantic Forest ‘empty’ after 500 years of over exploitation

Five centuries of over-exploitation has halved mammal populations in South America’s Atlantic Forest – according to new research co-authored by Prof Carlos Peres of UEA's School of Environmental Sciences..

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ENV graduates return to campus

Early next month graduates from UEA’s first Environmental Sciences cohort will return to campus to mark 50 years since they began their studies.

The reunion includes a talk and tour of the current ENV building and campus and an evening meal at the Sainsbury Centre. In best ENV tradition, it will also include a short river walk at Bayfield Hall (near Holt) plus lunch and a talk. It will be a great opportunity to catch up with old friends as well as former UEA staff.

If you, or anyone you know, are from the cohort and haven’t yet booked a place,it’s not too late: get in touch via

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Politics podcast

You can keep up to date on topical issues by listening to the recently launched “Politics at the Edge” podcast.

Hosted by Clare Precey, broadcast journalist and Politics and Journalism lecturer, and Alan Finlayson, Prof of Politics, University experts will discuss politics, culture and society. The podcast will feature contributions from guest speakers including former Home Secretary Charles Clarke, political blogger, broadcaster and alumnus Iain Dale, and the former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger.

“With so much going on in politics right now it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, blow-by-blow of who said what to whom,” said Prof Finlayson. “We think it’s important to take a step back and think about the wider context – the cultural, historical and technological background to what is happening in society and politics.”
Clare Precey added: “These programmes are a great way to look at the bigger issues outside the ‘Westminster Bubble’ and some of our journalism students have been part of the production team, recording interviews with contributors.”

The first episode, released on 24 September, looks at how politicians communicate with voters and how that has changed with the digital revolution. The second looks at Britain’s global role and asks if we can find our place as a “great global nation” after Brexit, while the third examines the news media and how it’s struggling to find a way out of a financial crisis while fighting to retain audience trust.

You can find the podcast on iTunes by searching for “Politics at the Edge” and on Eastminster, the UEA Politics website.

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Student-designed wellbeing app first-of-its-kind at UK university

Students from UEA's Schools of Computer Sciences, Psychology and Norwich Business School have launched a first-of-its-kind wellbeing app to help their peers understand their emotions, develop coping strategies, and access the support they need, in time for the new University term.

The app called “OpenUpUEA” features a mood tracker to help students understand their fluctuating emotions, by noting them through nine emojis, with relevant services highlighted according to their response. It’s thought to be the first app launched by a UK university which combines both a mood tracker and details of the services on offer. The team are interested in working with other Universities, with scope for it to also be adapted for high schools and colleges too.

The students worked with psychology experts Dr Laura Biggart and Dr Kamena Henshaw to develop and test the app and have been funded by UEA’s Research and Innovation app development competition which allows students to develop their own or their academic’s app ideas.

The app is an additional tool to the mental health support Student Support Services already provide, which includes wellbeing advice sessions, an exercise referral scheme, resilience and wellbeing workshops and talking therapies.

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Royal Institution Family Fun Day: Everything changes

UEA’s Prof Jenni Barclay will delight crowds of young people and their families later this month, when she delivers an interactive lecture at the Royal Institution Family Fun Day in London on Saturday 27 October.

Jenni’s lecture, entitled "Volcanoes, everything changes in a minute", will take place alongside hands-on science experiments, demonstrations and talks exploring the intriguing and sometimes puzzling science that takes place when things change.

Through a number of sometimes messy experiments, Jenni will demonstrate the weird and wonderful processes that cause volcanoes to erupt, explore how and why different types of volcanoes erupt so differently, and look at the ways in which they can rapidly change the landscape around them. Perhaps the UK is more shaped by volcanoes than you might think!

BOOK Tickets  
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Study UK Alumni Awards

Do you know someone who studied at UEA and has gone on to great success?

The Study UK Alumni Awards recognise and honour the outstanding achievements made by international alumni of a UK higher education. Award recipients are leaders in their respective fields: entrepreneurs, professionals or social change makers. All of them will have used their UK education to bring positive change to their communities, industries and countries. All winners have the opportunity to extend their professional network, raise their profile and gain international recognition.

The Study UK Alumni Awards are open to alumni living outside the UK who, in the last 15 years, have studied at a UK university, at degree level or higher, for at least one term or semester.

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Tipping the scales

The BBC are to offer editorial staff new training on how to report climate issues after the issue was highlighted in an open letter organised by Rupert Read from UEA’s School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies.

In early August, Dr Read was invited by BBC Radio Cambridgeshire to debate with a climate change denier. He turned it down and instead wrote a piece for The Guardian about why in 2018 it is not acceptable to give climate change deniers a full platform in the name of “balance”. The subsequent letter, also published in The Guardian, had 60 signatories, including Jonathon Porritt, Caroline Lucas and Clive Lewis. The BBC has since issued a briefing note saying it “gets coverage of climate change wrong too often” and are offering training on how best to report global warming.

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New Norwich-based charity

MaNGOma (mutual assistance of NGOs for mutual advantage) is a unique new charity based in Norwich, supported by local people including UEA graduates and current students.

Its mission is to fundraise for community development projects which support sustainable change in the Global South. These projects have been created by small grassroots NGOs embedded in those communities, rather than for them. It is currently working with NGOs in Kenya, Ghana, Cambodia and Cameroon on projects concerned with education, social welfare, health, and vocational training for women and young people, environment and enterprise.

In addition, sharing of solutions features high on its agenda. MaNGOma believes that many of the challenges faced by small NGOs are similar the world over, even though the context in each country is different. So its mission also includes creating a network to encourage the sharing of experience and innovation, particularly in the above project fields.

MaNGOma's Board and volunteers have wide-ranging experience in the fields of community project management, international development, charity business development, communication, monitoring and evaluation. Its overheads are low as it has minimal office costs. It exercises due diligence in selecting partner NGOs with whom to work. Some of its volunteers have been able to visit our overseas partners; for example, volunteer representatives have visited three of the NGOs in order to build relationships, gather information and help it shape and explain projects to meet funders’ criteria. In partnership with the School of International Development at the University of East Anglia, it regularly recruits undergraduate and postgraduate volunteers to help it deliver its service.

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Do Something Different Festival

The Do Something Different Festival is an opportunity for students to really go beyond their degree, discover new skills, try new activities and have fun - all without the normal constraints of lectures and seminars. Over a single week, UEA|SU bring together unique and exciting activities from across campus, all to help students get more from their time at UEA.

Where only a few UK universities run a similar week of extracurricular activities, UEA’s Do Something Different Festival is by far the largest. It brings together every different group on campus in a single unique programme. From clubs and societies to the Sportspark and SCVA, the variety is as large as possible.

If you would like to get involved or suggest a Do Something Different activity please contact Dale Thomas.

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"I don't think crime writing is about murder at all."

Val McDermid delivered the annual lecture at the 2018 Noirwich Crime Writing Festival, on the subject of “What we really talk about when we talk about crime fiction”, where crime fiction sits in the wider literature scene and how it relates to society and the real world.

The Noirwich Lecture is presented by The Times and Sunday Times Crime Club.

Listen NOW  
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Environmental Justice MOOC starting 15 October

This free five-week online course is open to everyone.

Understand how climate change, biodiversity loss and deforestation affect people, exploring justice in environment management.

Learn with the University of East Anglia’s Global Environmental Justice Group - an interdisciplinary mix of scholars interested in social justice and environmental change. Hear from activists around the world, and share your own experiences with other learners from many different backgrounds.

For the first time the teaching is available in Spanish as well as English.

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Thinking about a Master's or PhD?

A Master’s or PhD degree can provide you with an enhanced professional skillset and experience to help you stand out in a highly competitive job market.

If you’re considering further study, come along to our Postgraduate Zone at UEA’s next open day on Saturday 20 October. You’ll have the opportunity to learn more about Master’s and PhD study options, how to apply, and available funding. Register today.

Have a question? UEA’s Admissions Team are here to help by email or phone on 01603 591515.

Register to ATTEND  
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Upcoming inaugural lectures

This year’s autumn inaugural lecture series explores everything from apricot trees to counter-terrorism, and from leaf-cutter ants to the sensational human hand. Join us to hear the impact of innovative research from UEA’s newest professors.

From the diverse cichlids of the Great Lakes of East Africa to the humble bunny rabbit, we can use comparative and functional genomics to find out what sets different organisms apart from one another. Join Prof Federica Di Palma from Norwich Medical School, UEA’s School of Biological Sciences and the Earlham Institute on Tuesday 23 October – as part of the Norwich Science Festival – as she sheds light on genes, pathways and the molecular mechanisms involved in the evolution of complex traits.

The following week, on Tuesday 30 October, Prof Christina Jerosch-Herold from UEA’s School of Health Sciences will explore how the human hand, with its complex arrangements of 27 bones, multiple ligaments, muscles and more receptors in the skin than the human eye, truly is a ‘sensational’ organ.

Inaugural lectures recognise and celebrate the promotion of UEA academics to the position of professor, while giving audiences the chance to hear about their research and its impact on society. These lectures are free and there's no need to book; simply turn up on the night, or watch live on our website.

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Research participants needed

Volunteers are being sought to help collect movement data for everyday activities. The data will be used to help UEA researchers understand the effect of medical conditions on these activities.

The testing involves a visit to the Human Movement Lab at the University, and should take around 90 minutes.

If you would like to participate, or want more information, please email

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We've got your Christmas plans sorted

It's getting closer to that time of year again and we're already starting to get into the festive spirit.

Why not get your friends together and come back to campus to celebrate on Saturday 15 December at the Christmas LCR?

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Escalator talent development scheme

Escalator is the National Centre for Writing’s annual talent development scheme open to all fiction writers (novel or short story) living in the Eastern Region (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk). It has been running for over a decade and has supported over 100 writers in their creative projects, with many going on to sign with agents, publish, and receive awards for their writing.

Ten successful applicants are selected for this free scheme, all of whom commit to a period of mentoring, a series of development opportunities, talks and workshops as part of a residential retreat, and take part in a final showcase.

At its heart is the mentoring; a one to one exchange between writer and mentor, who interact regularly to review work, discuss challenges and set goals.

Applications for Escalator are now open. The deadline is 5pm on Monday 29 October 2018.

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What's On

Dragon Hall Debate: Should we let nature take its course?

Monday 22 October, 7-9pm
National Centre for Writing, Dragon Hall, NR1 1QE

With sea levels on the rise and tidal erosion escalating, the fragility of being an island nation has never been more apparent, particularly to Norfolk’s vulnerable coasts and the people who call them home. Happisburgh coastal campaigner Malcolm Kerby, Dr Sue Brooks from Birkbeck, University of London, and Patrick Barkham – author of Coastlines: The Story of our Shore – join our Dragon Hall Debates panel to discuss and debate. Should we take action, or let nature take its course?

Children's Christmas Lectures: Mudlarks and monarchs

Saturday 15 December, 10am-12pm
Lecture Theatre 1, UEA
Dr Brian Reid and Prof Matthew Woodcock

Tickets for our popular Children’s Christmas Lectures will be available for booking on the UEA website from 9am on Monday 5 November. This fun, festive event is suitable for children aged seven and above and their families.

This year, we’re mucking about in the mud and putting on a pageant, with Dr Brian Read from UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences and Prof Matthew Woodcock from UEA’s School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing.


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

Michael Belsham (CHE70)

Beryl Graveling

Raymond Griffin (SOC91)

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