University of Sheffield to sparkle with £81m Diamond

Sheffield University's new �81 million engineering blockThe Diamond will soon open on the former Jessop Hospital site.'Pictured from Leavygreave Road, with Broad Lane behind the building.
Sheffield University's new �81 million engineering blockThe Diamond will soon open on the former Jessop Hospital site.'Pictured from Leavygreave Road, with Broad Lane behind the building.
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The University of Sheffield has seen more than 25,000 students from 120 countries make the city their home in 2014, writes Yvette Tan.

From state-of-the-art developments and pioneering research, to cycling fever and turning the campus yellow, 2014 has certainly been memorable.

And it’s new £81 million engineering block - called The Diamond - is set to sparkle. It’s near completion on the former Jessop Hospital site.

The year kicked off with an excellent start as the university was named number one in the UK for student satisfaction in the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey.

More than 14,000 students from universities across the country took part in the study and put Sheffield in top spot ahead of the universities of Bath and East Anglia.

The university also scooped an award for Internationalising the Student Experience at the National Union of Students Awards with its #WeareInternational campaign.

Developed jointly with the students’ union, the campaign celebrates the value and contribution of international staff and students in universities around the UK.

In July, yellow fever took the city by storm as the world’s biggest annual sporting event – the Tour de France - arrived in Sheffield.

The campus, like the rest of Yorkshire, was turned into a field of gold to mark the event, with all 1,800 windows of the university’s iconic Arts Tower turned yellow to transform it into a giant yellow jersey

From cycling to science, the university hit the headlines with a ground-breaking project to help prevent the spread of rumours via the internet through the creation of a lie detector for social media.

The detector aims to automatically verify rumours as they spread, allowing users to track the authenticity of each source.

Another research highlight was the development of a so-called DNA satnav, to help people trace the homes of their ancestors. Academics from Sheffield and the University of Southern California made the unique discovery to help users find their way home by tracking the source of their DNA from over 1,000 years ago.

Reflecting on the last year, Professor Paul White, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sheffield, said: “I think 2014 has been a great year for the university.

“We’ve had very good recruitment, good coverage in national media, and teams and projects from the university that have put us on the international stage.”

Looking ahead to 2015, the university is preparing to open the doors on its pioneering £81 million new development, The Diamond, which will offer state-of-the-art engineering facilities, a range of lecture theatres, seminar rooms and open-plan learning spaces.

Plans to develop Factory 2050, a £43 million building which will combine technologies such as advanced robotics, flexible automation and 3D printing, are also in the works, and will advance over the next 12 months, positioning Sheffield at the forefront of manufacturing across the globe.

“The new developments we will have in the New Year, especially the opening of The Diamond, are very exciting, and really quite revolutionary,” added Professor White.

“All these projects will open different opportunities, in different areas of life.”

“Next year will also mark the coming of a new Chancellor into the university, and the beginning of new things.

“I hope in 2015 we will be able to continue what we’ve done so well this year in terms of achievements, recruitment and building our world-class reputation.”

NEW CHANCELLOR

The university will welcome a new Chancellor for 2015: The Right Honourable Lady Justice Rafferty, DBE
* Lady Rafferty read Law at the University of Sheffield, graduating with an LLB in 1971
* Lady Rafferty has served in a number of senior positions – including being a Lord Justice of Appeal since 2011 and the chairmanship of the Criminal Bar Association 
* She was nominated by university students, staff, alumni and friends for the role 
* She is married to His Honour Judge Barker QC, most senior judge at the Old Bailey, and has three daughters – one a graduate of the University of Sheffield.