Celebrating the role of universities in the nation’s health By Professor Dame Janet Beer, Universities UK's President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool Published: 15 May 2019 Research partnerships between members of the AMRC and universities across the UK are making a difference to people’s lives. These partnerships are responsible for some of the most exciting discoveries and pioneering changes of the last century. From turning penicillin into a drug to treat bacterial infections, discovering the rotavirus vaccine, through to the development of the first full body MRI scanner, such partnerships are world leading and transformational. Our polling of the British public suggests, though, that many people believe that all universities do is teach. The public has lost sight of the impact of university research and its importance to their lives, their families and the communities around them. At a time of economic and political uncertainty for us all, universities are offering solutions to global challenges and it is in everybody’s shared interest to ensure that this work is understood by the widest possible audience. The MadeAtUni campaign aims to do just that. The next phase of campaign activity goes live on Thursday 16 May when we celebrate the Nation’s Lifesavers - those individuals and groups making a significant contribution to people’s health and wellbeing. We know that health and wellbeing is one of the top priorities for most people, and we hope the stories of discovery and wonderment in this campaign will resonate with them. Universities across the UK were invited to nominate an individual or groups to be recognised for their achievements in creating healthier lives. The campaign features more than 100 stories, ranging from cures for blindness, designing drones to fight malaria, to developing synthetic tissues to train dentists and surgeons. Many of the causes and work you are involved in feature. These include advancements in cancer detection, treatment for coronary heart disease, and improving the lives of dementia patients. It’s also fitting that there are many strong stories on the impact of research on mental health and wellbeing during Mental Health Awareness Week. We’ve had an excellent response to the MadeAtUni campaign, which we launched last year with the UK’s Best Breakthroughs: the 100+ ways that universities have improved everyday lives. So far, the campaign has reached 22 million unique social media users and trended twice on Twitter, with 18 million people seeing its media coverage. It’s important that this campaign isn’t just about universities saying how great we are. We hope that your organisation will add its voice to the growing list of organisations from across the health, voluntary, business, arts, and sport sectors to have shown their support for the campaign. Several well-known people are helping us to reach new audiences. Award-winning actors Stephen Fry and James Nesbitt, and double-Olympic-gold medallist Rebecca Adlington are among the celebrities to support the campaign. We are proud of the vast and varied difference that collaboration between universities and medical charities makes to people’s lives. We hope you are too, and that you will support the campaign on social media from Thursday 16 May. Please follow @MadeAtUni on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and create and share content using the hashtag #MadeAtUni. Thank you for your support, and I look forward to celebrating further medical advancements made possible by strong collaboration between AMRC members and universities.