Thank you for keeping Bristol brilliant

Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Hugh Brady, reflects on the remarkable generosity of alumni and friends in 2020/21 and introduces some of the individuals and programmes that have been supported this year.

Following a year of extraordinary adversity, it’s my pleasure to introduce the remarkable and far-reaching impact of your support on individuals and programmes across the University of Bristol.

Our community of alumni and friends has worked together to support students, facilitate critical research, and help us engage with some of the most pressing global challenges. You have enabled students facing considerable barriers to come to university and thrive, illustrated by Gbemisola’s experience of the Sanctuary Scholarship programme, and Steph’s story about the impact of her Futures Scholarship. Thanks to your support, 40 recipients of the new Black Bristol Scholarship programme started their studies this September. The Black Bristol Scholarship programme will support more than 130 Black students over the next four years in undergraduate and postgraduate courses at Bristol and we were delighted to welcome our first cohort this year.

By lending invaluable time and expertise, you are helping students with their career aspirations and ensuring they get the most out of their university experience. You have also championed projects which will help us better understand and support student mental health. Pro Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience, Professor Sarah Purdy, describes some of the incredible volunteering initiatives Bristol alumni have participated in and Hamish and Farhan share their experience of Bristol Mentors.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our lives and you will see throughout the Impact Report the ways you have helped us adapt our work and support our staff and students through a very challenging time. You have funded critical research into COVID-19 and enabled us to launch a brand-new Infectious Diseases Research Suite. This will dramatically improve our resources to understand and prepare for the emergence of similar dangerous pathogens in the future.

You have also supported PhD students whose lives and research have been impacted by the pandemic and you have enabled vital investigations into other health conditions, such as Amy Holt’s work which could potentially improve the way we treat people living with bowel cancer.

The climate emergency is at the forefront of our minds and a key focus for the University of Bristol as the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) takes place in Glasgow this month. You have helped us mobilise researchers such as Dr Eunice Lo, who are tackling the climate crisis. It is research like this, supported by you, that is critical to our understanding of the world’s most pressing issues.

As you may know, next summer I am stepping down from my role as Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Bristol to become the new President of Imperial College London. It has been a privilege to lead this great University and work with such inspiring people. I am profoundly grateful for the support of our global community of alumni and friends over the past year and, indeed throughout my time at Bristol. I look forward to seeing how you continue to shape the University and drive its ongoing success in the years ahead.

I hope you enjoy reading about the impact we have made together.

Professor Hugh Brady
Vice-Chancellor and President

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