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Durham University

We’re celebrating being shortlisted in two categories in this year’s Times Higher Education Awards.

Research that tackles global challenges

The N8 Research Partnership, a collaboration between ourselves and seven other research-intensive universities in Northern England, is shortlisted for the International Collaboration of the Year award.

This is for its ongoing work with the African Research University Alliance (ARUA), which was initiated and driven by the International Research Managers Network. 

The N8 was established in 2006 and has worked with ARUA over the last four years to develop local research excellence, including better understanding African food systems and helping tackle global challenges of disease, poverty, climate change and food insecurity.

Four Durham researchers were part of a joint N8-ARUA workshop held in Ghana in 2019 and since then we’ve co-led one workshop focusing on water, and participated in a second.

Many research collaborations have come out of the N8-ARUA partnership. For example, Professor Mike Crang, from our Geography Department, will be supporting Prof Timothy Nubi, from the ARUA Centre of Excellence for Urbanization and Habitable Cities, in a newly funded research study looking at adaptation strategies for residents of multi-tenanted housing in Lagos, Nigeria, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

N8 Research

Using technology to improve services

Meanwhile, we’ve been shortlisted for the Technological or Digital Innovation of the Year award for Holly AI, our Artificial Intelligence recruitment and admissions assistant.

Holly was launched in December 2020 – one of the first of its kind anywhere in the world. It’s multilingual and available 24 hours a day – crucial as nearly half of our admissions enquiries come outside UK office hours.

Holly is embedded within our website and answers 98 per cent of enquiries correctly. It also recognises various emotions and engages effectively, referring prospective students to specialists if urgent help is needed.

About the THE Awards

The annual Times Higher Education Awards showcase the talent, dedication and innovation of individuals and teams across UK and Irish universities, attracting hundreds of entries every year.

The winners will be revealed during an exclusive ceremony taking place in London on Thursday 25 November. Wish us luck!

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