Made Together anniversary

We've ambitious plans for 2023. Head of Regional Engagement Yasmin Knight reflects on the one year anniversary of the Made Together programme developed by Dr Sarah Want and Professor Vanessa Toulmin.

Together in the Square performer
Together in the Square, part of the Summer in the Outdoor City programme of events

It’s one year on since we launched the Made Together programme - a dedicated commitment to work with partners to make our region healthier, greener, more vibrant and innovative for all. We realised that the hundreds of projects we deliver in our region could have a greater impact. We found that by enhancing collaboration, we could truly impact South Yorkshire, and we’ve done this through talking with our partners from the public sector, businesses, and our communities about the possibilities and problems we all face. We’ve even more ambitious plans for 2023, so let's celebrate the significant progress we’ve already made. 

Working with the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, the four South Yorkshire Local Authorities, Sheffield Hallam University, and a number of private and voluntary sector organisations, we’ve launched the South Yorkshire Sustainability Centre to help the region meet its net zero targets. Many of our academics carry out world-leading research that can help businesses and organisations develop and implement plans to reduce their emissions, the centre will bring them together - helping to create new jobs and economic growth. We’ve also completed building work on our Sustainable Aviation Fuels Centre - the first of its kind in the UK - which will help to decarbonise air travel, and we’ve collaborated with Doncaster Council on its successful Community Renewal Fund project to retrofit homes and make them more energy efficient.

Doncaster retrofit

At our University of Sheffield Innovation District, we've built a new Gene Therapy Innovation and Manufacturing Centre, which will advance scientific discoveries into promising treatment options for millions of patients with rare, life-threatening diseases.  The economic benefits and job opportunities for the region could be considerable, given the potential to catalyse creation of new start-up companies - similar to the explosion of activity seen around the ‘golden triangle’ of London, Cambridge and Oxford. This will build on the impact of our Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), which has been driving innovation-led regeneration on the Sheffield/Rotherham border for more than 20 years, and has attracted inward investment to the region through our partner companies, like Boeing and McLaren Automotive, building new factories and facilities. We want to nurture the conditions for more breakthroughs, supporting partners to develop more nationally significant clusters of innovation-led industries across South Yorkshire.

Yasmin Knight
Yasmin Knight, Assistant Director Partnerships & Regional Engagement & Head of Regional Engagement.

Of course, in addition to our research and innovation, our 30,000 students and 8,000 staff are deeply committed to our city and region. In the past 12 months, our students have spent 33,443 hours volunteering at food banks and community allotments and have worked with refugees, adults with learning disabilities, school children and the elderly, and have raised more than £85,000 for local charities. 

Student volunteering graphic

Our students and staff work closely with clinicians, NHS professionals and patients to drive continuous improvements in the region’s health and care systems. Figures released ahead of this year’s National Apprenticeships Week showed our nursing associate apprentices each completed 3,000 hours of learning and more than 2,000 hours of work placements in local hospitals, GP surgeries, hospices and with community healthcare providers across South Yorkshire over their two year programme. We’re also helping to improve outcomes in our region through the work of our Healthy Lifespan Institute.

We also take seriously our responsibility to bringing cultural vibrancy to our towns and cities led by Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City and Culture. We supported Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council to secure £3 million from the Cultural Development Fund project to transform areas of the town and we are working with Sheffield City Council on delivering its Future High Street Fund. As well as supporting the successful bid, our Architecture and Urban planning students created 3D modelled visuals of the proposals for Fargate and Event Central - a new cultural community hub - and we coordinated and hosted a series of consultation events for cultural stakeholders.  

Professor Vanessa Toulmin quote

These are just a few examples of how the University of Sheffield can make a significant and positive difference in our region - and we always want to do more. By working with partners to respond to the challenges and opportunities we face, we can be greater than the sum of our parts and drive prosperity and growth that benefits all of us. We’ve ambitious plans and they’ll be made together. 

If you are an academic engaging in the city region or an external organisation looking to engage with the University get in touch with us via