City life | By John Stevenson

Creating socially responsible professionals


City’s quest to create socially responsible professionals underpins its Vision and Strategy 2030 priorities and lies at the heart of the University’s development from its inception in 1894.


Social responsibility entails City’s total commitment, broadly speaking, to the social and economic wellbeing of staff and students. In turn, it also involves the responsibility of students and staff to our local, national and international communities.


For the School of Science and Technology (SST), social responsibility is also about the School’s commitment to embedding the core values of environmental, philanthropic, ethical and economic responsibility into student experience and employability programmes.

City’s roots in social responsibility


Social responsibility lies at the heart of City’s development from its inception as an education institution in 1894.


Indeed, the Northampton Institute, City’s predecessor, was founded over 125 years ago with the objective of promoting the ‘industrial skill, general knowledge, health and wellbeing of young men and women belonging to the poorer classes’.


City has been faithful to this objective ever since. A substantial percentage of SST’s student body comprises those who are the first in their families to attend university; City’s steady focus on being a facilitator of social mobility has been crucial.

Creating conversations for change


In January 2020, City embarked on its first National Symposium on Developing Socially Responsible Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Professionals – the brainchild of SST’s Executive Dean, Professor Rajkumar Roy. The event was sponsored by Bosch and Camden Council and demonstrated different applications and views of developing socially responsible professionals within STEM professions.


Since that first symposium, it has grown from strength to strength with successful editions held in 2021, 2022 and 2023. It continues to draw a wide range of keynote speakers, experts and participants from industry, academia, government and professional institutions. From its beginnings as a dialogue pioneered by Professor Roy – currently City’s lead on social responsibility – the symposium has evolved into a truly multi-disciplinary, wide-ranging spur for change and transformation, embraced across the University.


The next symposium will be held on 10 January 2024.


Professor Roy believes that over the past four years the symposia have “served to embed City’s involvement in leading the discourse around what a socially responsible professional should look like. From the inception of this dialogue in 2020 we are very grateful to our very thoughtful and inspiring invited speakers and chairs, and to our many sponsors including Camden Council, Bosch, ERA Foundation, Accenture and Engineers Without Borders UK, for their invaluable assistance”.

Students tackling global challenges


In 2021, City’s School of Science and Technology strengthened its strategic partnership with Engineers Without Borders UK (EWBUK). This organisation works to change how engineering is perceived, taught and practiced, aiming to bring people, ideas and engineering together to respond to the world’s most pressing problems such as climate change and limited resource availability.


Student Nour Ben Gaied
Student Ali Ahmed

While studying at City in 2022, Nour Ben Gaied (MSc Data Science) and Ali Ahmed (MSc Temporary Works and Construction Method Engineering) were top prize gold winners with team mates from the Independent University of Bangladesh (IUB) in the Grand Final of the Efficiency for Access Design Challenge. The competition was a collaboration between Efficiency for Access and EWBUK, funded by UK Aid and the IKEA Foundation.


The winning team, including Sadik Abdal and Tashfiah Tahsin from IUB, collaborated on a project to design a sustainable and high-performing appliance intended for communities with little to no reliable access to electrical grids. The team developed a transportable and affordable solar-powered container with refrigerator and freezer sections to enable the preservation of fish and perishable goods.


With social responsibility firmly embedded in the curriculum, City’s graduates are well set to make a positive contribution to the world.