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Leading organisations across a wide range of sectors have been recognised for their commitment to pioneering research and graduate employability at Ulster University’s second annual Impact Excellence Awards.

The Awards celebrate the transformational impact the university’s students, graduates and research are having on societies and economies across the globe.

The event, which took place at Titanic Belfast this evening, recognised the University’s collaborations with partners in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, both locally and globally.

On the night, Police Service of Northern Ireland, Boston Scientific and local Health & Social Care Trusts were among the placement employers who were acknowledged by Ulster University for their role in supporting the next generation of highly skilled, industry-ready graduates.

For the first time, a category for international partners showcased excellence that comes from global connections including Spain, United States and Australia where students have been working.

Ulster University also awarded their industry partners for research collaborations that have far-reaching impact beyond academia. These span across connected health; organisational change and strategy development and accessible creative technologies.

CF Pharma, a Kilkenny-based pharmaceutical company which specialises in the development of innovative food supplements, collected the coveted Impact Excellence Award for Knowledge Exchange. The business developed and commercialised two new environmentally friendly animal healthcare products after teaming up with Ulster University as part of a cross-border SME initiative.

Speaking at the Awards, Ulster University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paddy Nixon, said:

“Tonight’s ceremony is an opportunity for us to thank our partners and to recognise the importance of our connections in a wide range of areas, across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.

“This year our links have led to many innovative developments which address key challenges in society and will have a positive impact locally and globally.

“Ulster University plays a vital role in bridging the gap between academia and industry by providing our students with opportunities to learn from the most creative and ambitious organisations. Our graduates emerge from these experiences with a deeper understanding of their chosen field and of how world-leading research will play an important role in the future of our economy, culture and society.

“Together with our partners, we make a positive impact on our students, our communities and our economy, and I would like to thank all of the finalists for their important contribution.”

Winners of Ulster University’s Placement Employer Impact Excellence Award categories include:

Employer Self-nominations (Over 50 employees) category

Bryson Care West - Winner
Boston Scientific - Highly Commended
Brooklands Healthcare - Highly Commended

Employer Self-nominations (Up to 50 employees) category

Profile Tree - Winner
Conradh na Gaeilge - Highly Commended
Xsell-Team Limited - Highly Commended

Employer Self-nominations (Public Sector) category

Police Service of Northern Ireland - Winner
Northern Ireland Audit Office - Highly Commended
South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust, Biomedical Science (pathology) - Highly Commended

Employer Self-nominations (International Partner) category

Meddeas - Winner
Bendigo Day Surgery - Highly Commended
Project Children Intern Program - Highly Commended

Placement employer nominated by Ulster staff category

SITA - Winner
Cancer Centre, Belfast City Hospital - Highly Commended
Consumer Council for Northern Ireland - Highly Commended

Placement employer nominated by Ulster student category

Tourism Northern Ireland - Winner
Cellular and Molecular Pathology Department, Antrim Area Hospital Laboratories - Highly Commended
Loud Mouth Media - Highly Commended

Winners of the Ulster University’s Research Impact Excellence Award categories include:

Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences - Walled City Music Trust nominated by Professor Frank Lyons for Inclusive Creativity, a long-term project which showcases composition and performance by musicians with disabilities utilising accessible creative technologies.

Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment - The Lava Group nominated by Joseph Rafferty for the production of a novel Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) solution. This AAL solution incorporates advanced environmental sensing technology, computer vison, big data and machine learning to enhance the care provided to a multitude of at-risk individuals. These risks are related to: Alzheimer’s Disease, Autism, Parkinson’s Disease and Sedentary Lifestyles.

Faculty of Life & Health Sciences - Northern Ireland Veterans Support Committee & Reserve Forces and Cadets Association NI nominated by Professor Cherie Armour for the development of the NI Veterans’ Health and Wellbeing Study.

Ulster University Business School - Balcas Limited nominated by Professor Ronan McIvor for developing frameworks in the areas of strategy, finance, economics, organisational change and operations management, for application in manufacturing and service organisations.

Impact Excellence Awards for UCommunicate – Matthew Milliken

For the first time, an Impact Excellence Award was bestowed upon an Ulster researcher who participated in the UCommunicate programme. UCommunicate provides academics and PhD researchers with media training to equip them with the skills they need to appear on TV and radio as subject experts, and to explain their research clearly and concisely to the public.