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Loss inspires student nurse

A mum and Sunderland student has been inspired into a career caring for others following the death of her precious son.

Kieran Anderson should have been turning 21 in just a few months’ time.

Instead, his family are organising a special event in his memory after he lost his fight with childhood cancer, neuroblastoma.

Kieran died on March 20, 2007. He was just eight-years-old.

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Since then, his family have arranged a series of fundraising events to keep his memory alive, and raise awareness of the devastating condition.

Inspired by the bravery and courage her little boy showed, mum Vici Peebles, 41, is currently in the second year of a Nursing degree at the University of Sunderland.

The Roker mum is hoping to go on and work in palliative care where she can show the support and compassion similar to that which her son received from the medics who treated him.

Vici said: “When you see the work both the doctors and nurses do, it’s amazing.

“I had already done a Health and Social Care degree at Sunderland and wanted to go on and study Nursing.

“It has been quite hard balancing family life with studying and working at the same time but in September I will start my final year.”

Every year since Kieran’s death, his family would visit hospitals across the North East to deliver selection boxes to children facing Christmas away from home.

This year, as Kieran would have been preparing for his 21st birthday, the family have decided to host a football tournament and fun day at Ashbrooke Sports Club in Sunderland from 1pm on Sunday, September 15.

Kieran’s brothers and sisters - 23-year-old Natasha, 22-year-old Darren; Stephanie, 12; Errin, 11 and eight-year-old Jimmy will all be supporting their mum during the event.

Vici said: “Kieran was a typical little boy. He loved football and never missed a Sunderland AFC match.

“When he was unwell, he was able to go into the VIP box to watch the games and he even was a mascot for the team.

“He also loved Peter Pan and had his own Disney Peter Pan outfit which we still have.”

Kieran was first diagnosed with neuroblastoma in September 2003. He bravely lived with Stage 4 of the condition, which meant his chances of survival were severely limited.

Vic added: “I do often wonder what he would be doing now. Some of his brothers and sisters are now leading their own lives, which is what he should have been doing.”

Members of the public are invited to attend the football tournament and fun day from 1pm on September 15. A donation can be made on the door.

World first for paramedics

Pioneering technology is playing a critical role in helping University of Sunderland trainee paramedics save more lives.

Students at the University have become the first in the world to train with a new Resuscitation Quality Improvement (RQI) machine.

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The RQI Program uses realistic Simulation patient cases – using adult and child dummies - and a mobile simulation station to help trainee paramedics improve life-saving CPR skills. It aims to provide the most efficient and effective guidance on applying CPR to both adults and children.

It means students on the University’s paramedic programmes will be equipped with the latest and most advanced resuscitation guidance as they prepare for life on the front line.

Mark Willis, Programme Leader for Paramedic Science and Out of Hospital Care at the University, said: “Ultimately, this will assist, improve and maintain the resuscitation skills of our students.

Mark Willis

“The technology not only trains in the correct procedures but puts emphasis on the quality elements of CPR. This technology means that standards won’t only be maintained, but improved.

“RQI gives us a much more holistic view of resuscitation procedures so that when our paramedics go into the workplace they are as well equipped with lifesaving skills as they can be.”

Many healthcare providers do not perform CPR as a normal part of their daily practice, and some may rarely perform CPR after their bi-annual training.

As CPR compression and ventilation skills degrade from lack of use and practice, so does the overall effectiveness of CPR. As the quality of CPR degrades, this can literally become a matter of life and death for patients.

Mark Willis believes the RQI technology will help prevent this degrading and ensure students are as trained as they can be.

He added: “This technology is now forming a vital part of training for our paramedics.”

Student paramedic Stephen Roberts

2019/20 Academic Timetable

Please read all instructions before attempting to access your timetable

A draft version of your 2019/20 timetable for the University of Sunderland has been prepared and is available from the following link from Monday 29 July 2019.

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Once you have accessed the link you will be presented with the following pop up. 


Please enter your username and password in the relevant boxes:

User name:         (9 or 10 digit registration number located on your student card)

Password:           timetable       (all in lower case)

Once you have gained access, you will be presented with your timetable for the whole academic year.  There is an “Understanding your timetable” guideline located on the left hand menu which will explain how to filter your timetables to weekly or monthly views.

If your timetable appears to be incomplete it could be due to the following:

  • Assessment work is still outstanding
  • Referred/Deferred work or exams are pending
  • Non submission of your module choice form


  • Please check your timetables regularly as sessions are subject to change up to the start of term
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are enrolled onto the correct course and modules
  • Requests for seminar group changes will only be considered if there are exceptional extenuating circumstances.  Unfortunately, personal preferences cannot be accommodated
  • Module changes must be approved in the first instance by your programme leader.  Please complete the form, which is available from the Gateway at City Campus or St Peter’s Campus

If you are unable to access your timetable please contact the Timetabling Team using the following email address, please include your registration number and name in the subject box of the email :-

Please note:  EPortal will be unavailable each day at midday (12:00 noon) for approx 15 minutes whilst important updates are made to timetabling data.  We recommend you avoid accessing timetables during this time and apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.  

Accessing your timetables via mobile devices - University of Sunderland App

When you return in September you will be able to access your academic timetable through your mobile device using the University of Sunderland app.  The app allows you to view your academic teaching events up to 42 days in advance.    You can download the app here

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Join CitySpace Fitness now to take advantage of their great summer offer.

Memberships are available from just £10 a month and the gym is open to students, staff and members of the public.

Get in contact at or 0191 515 2009

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The Robson Art & Design Masters Awards are open to students undertaking Masters level studies in either:

  • MA Glass & Ceramics
  • MA Design
  • MA Photography
  • MA Fine Art

With scholarships from each discipline of £1,000 per student.

Apply by 27 September

DOSH (Development Office Scholarships) are free money, which is non-means tested, and you never have to repay.  Find out more here:

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Iris Churcher, MA Glass & Ceramics, 2018

The Robson Visual Arts Master Award played a significant role in MA Glass and Ceramics student Iris Churcher achieving a distinction.

The scholarship allowed Iris to buy books that would assist in the research for her final presentation, and also to buy materials to experiment with different clays and technics. The 71-year-old was also able to travel to museums and galleries to see ceramics collections and to meet with curators.

Iris, whose narrative illustration is now finding new expression in the form of ceramic teapots, said: “The research for the final MA academic presentation led to a broader knowledge of teapots and the history of porcelain and stoneware.

“In particular the Victoria & Albert Museum visit and a closer study of the Rodin teapot influenced my narrative thinking about birds interacting with teapots and studying the work of Richard Notkin and Adrian Saxe.”

Iris was born is Essex, studied BA Graphic Design in London, and worked as a layout designer on Punch and Design magazines. She married a Canadian and moved to Montreal in 1978, where she worked as a freelance illustrator before becoming a full-time teacher of illustration and Design at Vancouver Island University.

She retired in 2008 and returned to freelance illustration, and pursued her passion for the environment – but frustration with working in two dimensions got Iris thinking about working in ceramics – and returning to the UK after 40 years away.

“The National Glass Centre’s position by the River Wear and the North Sea attracted my attention, and the program looked interesting,” said Iris.

Her work uses beautiful hand-made teapots to depict, birds, Sunderland and nature.

“I imagined birds visiting teapots, and so they are stories of imagined events, but relate to my personal experience. I leave the actual story up to the viewer. And so you might say that my ceramic work translates my illustrative interest into three dimensions.

“Pottery, functional or otherwise, is usually made for people living at a particular time and place. Contemporary techniques, materials, lifestyles and current social attitudes are reflected in the forms, colours, decorations and functions of pottery. It fascinated me that in the long running TV program Time Team, the pottery experts were always called in to date the finds, because the clay used, the process of firing and glazing, and the purpose of the pottery found, told the archaeologists so much about the culture and people who made it.” 

She concluded: “The Robson Visual Arts Master Award made all the travel and material purchases much easier and helped me greatly in my final research. Thank you.”

Summer Multi Sport Camps

Team Sunderland are hosting a series of Summer Multi Sport Camps throughout July and August.

The camps are for children aged between six & 12 years old and run from 10am till 3pm.

The dates of the camp are as follows:

Week 1: 30 July – 1 August

Week 2: 6 August – 8 August

Week 3: 13 August – 15 August

Week 4: 20 August – 22 August

The camps will offer a wide range of sports on a daily basis including football, netball, cricket, basketball, dodgeball, athletics and many more.

Team Sunderland Sports Development Officer Brooke Cochrane said: “Our kid’s camps are a great way for your child to meet new friends, develop their sporting skills and be active during the school holidays in a fun, inclusive and supportive environment.

“As well as using our great facilities at CitySpace the children will also get the chance to visit our MUGA at St Peter’s Campus as well as our climbing wall.”

The camp costs £10 per day or £25 for 3 days and there’s a sibling discount of £8 per day or £20 for the three days for an extra sibling.

For more information or to book on contact or call 0191 515 3696.

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Dr Abigail Moriarty will join the University in August as the new Pro Vice-Chancellor of Learning and Teaching.

She will lead a wide-ranging strategic enhancement programme that promotes student success. This will include a leading role in TEF assessment preparations and delivery of our Access and Participation Plan. The key areas will include student engagement and partnership, achievement and progression, digital and distance learning, problem and simulation-based learning and employability. The role also includes oversight of the University’s Centre for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT) to support academic staff development and drive pedagogical innovation.

Professor Michael Young, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), commented: “We are delighted to welcome Dr Moriarty to the University at such a key time, as we take forward an ambitious programme for enhancing learning and improving student outcomes."

In commenting on her appointment, Dr Moriarty said: “'I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the University of Sunderland as the PVC for Learning and Teaching. This is a great opportunity for me to work with current students, colleagues and alumni from across the University to further develop the excellent student experience."

Dr Moriarty is currently interim PVC Teaching and Learning at De Montfort University where she is responsible for strategic project management, TEF Gold and major pedagogical enhancements.

Dr Moriarty’s previous roles include Associate Director of Learning and Teaching, Principal Lecturer and Director of Nursing Developments, along with holding the post of Senior Staff Nurse, Senior Sister in Gynaecology at the Northern General Hospital Trust. 

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As the latest series of Love Island comes to a close, a university expert on reality TV is putting the show under the microscope.

Angela Smith, a Professor of Language and Culture at the University of Sunderland, has played a key role in scrutinising the popular ITV show, along with other shows including Top Gear and the Jeremy Kyle Show.

Now, as ITV announce plans to add a winter series of the programme onto their schedule, Professor Smith looks back at the latest series and asks whether the makers of the show have fulfilled their promise to look after the mental wellbeing of contestants.

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For anyone who does not know, Love Island follows a group of singletons living in isolation in a Mallorca villa, constantly under video surveillance. To survive in the villa the contestants must be coupled up, with the overall aim of winning £50,000.

Professor Smith said: “Love Island arrived on our screens in the wake of the cancellation of the Jeremy Kyle Show, and producers went to great lengths to assure the audience that this series would be paying very careful attention to the mental health and wellbeing of the participants. 

“This appeared to have been borne out by the testimony of Amy Hart, whose departure in week four of the series came about after she and Curtis Pitchard had been coupled up from the start and had proved so popular that they had been seen as probable winners from that time. 

“Curtis’s change of heart during Amy’s time in Casa Amour came as a huge shock to her, and she left the show on her own accord, testifying that it was for the sake of her mental wellbeing, and at the off-screen producers had been on hand to help her make this decision. 

“Viewers took to twitter to condemn Curtis but mostly to hail Amy as a hero who had reduced them to tears for her eloquent departure speech on the theme of unrequited love." 

“But how surprised should we be that Amy and Curtis didn’t stay the course?  Careful viewing could show that Curtis had not been quite the perfect gentleman he had largely been framed as embodying. 

“The editing of the show requires very careful consideration to be made as to just what is broadcast: there is often 48 hours of recorded data to edit down to around 50 minutes of broadcast time. 

“Some episodes have so little screen time devoted to certain couples that it is often unclear that they are still in the villa. 

“The widespread public dissatisfaction with this is problematised in certain “challenges”, when the tweets or newspaper headlines are read out to the participants, often casting doubt on the relationships that are in evidence in the villa. 

“For some couples, this is explicitly shown to strengthen a relationship, as with Curtis and his second girlfriend, Maura, who used this as the basis of a long-running joke that is shown to play out on screen. 

“However, for others, where there is a lack of self-confidence in relationships (Amy being a case in point), the effect of seeing their name linked to a headline or tweet that belittles that relationship can be very damaging.  Seeds of doubt are sown, and in the pressure-cooker confines of the villa, this often boils over into confrontation and argument. 

“In this way, the production of the show appears to be careful to manage the mental health of participants off-screen, but this is often in response to the deliberate provocation of disharmony on screen. 

“Thus we see the surviving couples head out of the villa, with Tommy and Molly-Mae favourites to win, although Curtis and Maura now a close second (Maura herself has been the victim of negative framing, through her arrival showing her as predatory and sexually assertive, whilst in the course of the next few weeks she was shown to be very self-effacing, funny and loyal to her friends). 

“The necessary editing of the show still leaves us with a blinkered view of the participants, whilst the challenges provoke argument and insecurities that reflect the views of these blinkered viewers. 

“Love Island may indeed have a more robust psychology team in attendance, but that the format of the show is deliberately provoking mental ill health is still not being addressed.”

Gas work diversions will mean Railway Row and the top of Hylton Road are closed to traffic from 29 July for up to six weeks.

Access to City Campus car park will be via Silksworth Row, which runs alongside the Premier Inn. With the junction section of Station Row closed it will not be possble to enter straight off the Livingston Road roundabout.

Diversions will be in place to direct traffic approaching campus from Trimdon Street (off the Northern Spire and Queen Alexandra Bridge) and Livingston Road (off Wearmouth Bridge).

These diversions will take traffic along St Michael's Way (A1231) to the Burn Park Road (A690) roundabout that leads off to Thornhill and Park Lane bus station.

Access to campus via Chester Road will be unaffected.

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This work relates to preparations for Phase 3 of the Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor (SSTC) - a continuous dual carriageway link between the A19 and the Port of Sunderland.

SSTC 3 is the 2km link between the Northern Spire and the city centre, due for completion in 2021.

The benefits brought to the city by the scheme include:

  • Improved connectivity to the city from Nissan, the Low Carbon Enterprise Zone and International Advanced Manufacturing Park
  • Improved connectivity to the city centre, Port of Sunderland and areas for regeneration
  • Opening up high quality access to sites of former usage for regeneration
  • Improvement of trip times and journey time reliability for all road user




The flush of victory may well be short-lived for new Prime Minster Boris Johnson, experts from the University of Sunderland have warned.

Mr Johnson today won his long-running bid to become Prime Minister after he received 92,153 votes from members of the Conservative Party, seeing off rival Jeremy Hunt.

Mr Johnson will officially become PM on Wednesday.

But despite the victory, two political experts from the University of Sunderland have warned a rocky road lies ahead.

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Mr Johnson, a former mayor of London, has already faced a backlash with a number of senior figures saying they will not serve under him.

Kevin Yuill is an Associate Professor at the University of Sunderland and a Brexiteer.

He believes the new PM now has a number of options available to him, however, his appointment could ultimately mean the British public are heading back to the polls ahead of October 31.

He said: “The real issue will be - what does Boris do when in office? He has promised that the UK will leave the EU, fulfilling the wishes of the majority of the UK and an even larger majority of those from the North East.

“But his working majority, after the defection of two of his cabinet, is in trouble. More might decant if no deal - which is looking increasingly likely - comes up.”

So what are the available of options for Prime Minster Johnson?

“He could call a general election to strengthen his majority against a very weak Corbyn, but that is a big gamble that the Conservative Party can fend off a combination of a resurgent Liberal-Democrat Party and the remnants of Labour,” adds Dr Yuill.

“He can make an electoral pact with the Brexit Party but that means destroying and demoralising local Tory parties in Labour areas.

“My guess is that he does call a general election before October 31 but not before preparations for a no-deal Brexit are sorted. Probably early October. Then, armed with a majority, he will wield more authority with Europe.

“However, there is a good possibility that Brexit will be pushed even further back, if Boris thinks that he can consolidate power by doing so.

“All in all, confusing times for pundits."

Current PM Theresa May will officially tender her resignation to the Queen on Wednesday afternoon after taking part in her final Prime Minister's Questions.

Mr Johnson will take office shortly afterwards, following an audience at Buckingham Palace.

But the road to October 31 may be a rocky one.


Dr Peter Hayes, a Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Sunderland, believes the new PM struck a chord with a disillusioned public – but fears that may not be enough to see him through the unprecedented turbulent political climate.

He said: “Mr Johnson has become Prime Minister by promising—and embodying—optimism. Johnson’s optimism connotes a practical, can-do attitude, and this has struck a responsive chord with a public that feels constrained by excessive regulation and an increasingly powerful bureaucracy. 

“Our new Prime Minister’s optimism, however, has a fantastical quality to it.  He has made no attempt to marry his optimism with realism: and in particular the power relationships that he will now have to grapple with. 

“When optimism and realism collide on Brexit, the best Johnson can realistically hope for is that the existing Withdrawal Agreement will squeak through the House of Commons with some face-saving changes made to the (non-binding) Political Declaration. 

“If he succeeds in this, he will then have to start with detailed realistic negotiations with the EU—for the Withdrawal Agreement is only the start.  He will also have to negotiate the UK’s relationship with the USA and with China. Mr Johnson’s optimism will not make one iota of difference in these negotiations, which will be conducted entirely on the basis of power.”

Royal recognition

Sunderland graduate Robert Banerjee has been named as a winner in ‘The Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Awards 2019’ after seeing significant growth in his IT recruitment service.

The success of Korp Talent Ltd, launched less than a year ago by Robert, has been recognised as one of 18 businesses to receive the award from His Royal Highness, organised annually and presented at the University of Huddersfield.

The scheme recognises students and graduates who have shown “remarkable entrepreneurship” while at university. Launched in 2013, the awards are given to students or recent graduates selected by universities across the North of England.

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Robert, 25, from Luton Town, said: “I am delighted to have been nominated for such an award, let alone to actually win! Since starting Korp Talent there has been a lot of eyes on me from local competitors and previous employers to whether a young man age 25 would be able to build a company based in Sunderland that is focused on the Swedish market. For me, this is just a little bit of validation that we are in fact on the right path and I am looking forward to see what the next 12 months have in store.”

After graduating from Criminology in 2016 from the University of Sunderland, Robert began working for a high profile, tech recruitment firm servicing the Swedish IT sector. Robert soon realised he had an ambition to launch his own business and found an investor whose portfolio included other businesses requiring IT recruitment services.

He turned to Sunderland’s Enterprise Place for support, setting up an office there after a friend told him about the hot-desking facilities on offer.

Following a successful launch in 2018, Korp Talent has seen turnover grow significantly during its first year. Having recently secured an exclusive preferred supplier contract with Swedish company Scandinavia’s biggest telecoms providers worth £250,000, Robert is now looking to expand and open a second office in the UK. They have one new consultant starting in August, another in September and plans to recruit four more before the end of the year.

The 24-year-old said: “Because my work is based in Sweden, I was able to work from home to begin with, but after hearing about what the Enterprise Place can offer graduates, it seemed like the right opportunity.

“It gave me a chance to get out of the house and work in an office environment surrounded by other like-minded young entrepreneurs.

“It also provided the opportunity to access some of the support services they offered, like the workshops and training they held in areas like marketing and branding. This type of help has been invaluable.”

He added: “I think what has separated us from other recruitment agencies attempting oversees operations is our commitment to building client and candidate relationships. Every other month, one of our employees travels with me to Sweden for a week in order to ensure we keep a high level of face to face contact with both clients and candidates. We’ve now gone from strength to strength and connecting the best candidates with the most interesting clients based in Sweden and are looking to expand further. The Enterprise Place has been a great place for us to get started, now we are looking forward to moving into our bigger office space next month and seeing what we can achieve in year two.”

Based at the University’s Hope Street Xchange Building, the Enterprise Place has already helped scores of students and graduates get that vital first step on the career ladder to building their own business.

Laura Foster, Internships and Enterprise Manager at the University of Sunderland, said: "It's fantastic to be able to help students and graduates like Robert realise their start up ambitions. To see the company do so well in their first year is amazing.  Being able to retain graduate talent in Sunderland is so important and I’m delighted that Robert has chosen the University’s Hope Street Xchange, in the heart of the city, as his next step office.”

The Internships and Enterprise project is receiving up to £2,207,656 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.

Established by the European Union, European Regional Development Fund funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit

The Enterprise Place offers students and graduates the opportunity of up to 12-months free membership and access to:

-      Professional, co-working office space in Hope Street Xchange

-      Expert one-to-one business advice

-      A place on our Start-Up-Skills course

-      Workshops, events and networking

-      Commercial editing software

-      Dedicated business development support team

-      The opportunity to join a community of entrepreneurs

For more information about the Enterprise Place, go to:

Hope Street Xchange

Launched in 2017, Hope Street Xchange was developed by the University with £4.9m investment support from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP’s) Local Growth Fund and £2.23 million from the European Regional Development Fund.

Based on the City Campus it links the University to the region’s small business community by supporting fledgling start-ups and offering space for existing businesses to develop and grow. From here businesses can access students and graduates with the skills they need - through a range of options including placements, internships and knowledge transfer partnerships – as well as connecting them with the University’s world-leading research base, sector expertise and specialised hi-tech equipment.

The centre was initiated by Sunderland Business Group, which aims to support entrepreneurship and increase the number of business start-ups with support from the North East LEP.

North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is a public, private, and education sector partnership that covers Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland local authority areas.

Its aim is to create 100,000 more jobs for the North East economy and to ensure that 70% of these jobs are better jobs.

A better job is defined as being in the top three Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) categories, which are: managers and directors; professional occupations; and associate professional and technical occupations. Measuring this means LEP can demonstrate higher skilled and more productive roles in our economy.

LEP develop and lead the delivery of the Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) which details how they will achieve this plan for growth for the North East.

For more information go to:


Food safety on the menu

With so many illnesses and deaths linked to food safety it’s critical manufacturers are at the forefront of research and information helping to drive up standards across the industry.

Global experts from academia and industry will gather for the first International Food Safety Culture Conference, providing organisations, from the sole trader to multi-national businesses, with in-depth knowledge, theories, values and beliefs that impact on food safety culture within an organisation.

Taking place on September 4, at the University of Sunderland, which is leading academic research in this area, the one-day conference will include case studies from academics, accreditation organisations, retailers and manufacturers that have researched, supported and implemented food safety culture programmes covering the hurdles they faced as well as the benefits.

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Guest speakers includes representatives from Greggs, Asda, Northumbrian Water and the British Retail Consortium. The keynote speech will be delivered by Dr Chris Griffiths who has been involved in food safety research and training for over 40 years. He has been awarded numerous international awards including the International Food Safety Leadership award.

The conference has been organised as a joint collaboration between totrain, a North East based training business specialising in food safety, and the University of Sunderland’s Dr Derek Watson.

Dr Watson has been investigating how food industry manufacturers can develop a positive food safety culture by adopting his globally recognised food safety business model ‘Enlighten’; which puts their own business practices under the microscope and lays the foundations to run more effectively and efficiently.

The senior lecturer in the University of Sunderland’s Faculty of Business, Law and Tourism said: “We will be debating the importance of food safety culture and the impact on manufacturers, the supply chain and the end users, from the sole traders to the multi-national companies.  We will offer commercial insights and live impact research in this first conference to take place at Sunderland, which has gained the attention of truly global international players.”

Dr Watson added: “There are many illnesses and deaths linked to food safety, therefore it’s critical from a moral standpoint that organisations ensure, as far as is reasonably practical, that they develop a positive food safety culture, so there is compliance. And while there are tight legislative regulations currently in place, they are the bare minimum required, if you fail to achieve that, you are in line for judicial action or prosecution. What our model does is to look at clear information and data that demonstrates an organisation has buy-in from its own workforce and how effective are those systems running in the organisation in order to achieve continuous improvement.”

Totrain CEO John Husband commented: ''With new and emerging threats to our food chain and the supply of manufactured ingredients becoming global our approach to Food Safety Culture is more important than ever. We are used to the more tangible elements of food safety, process control, hazard analysis, food safety standards but a manufactures approach to food safety, the behavioural aspects and creating a culture of responsibility is now an important aspect of any food manufactures responsibilities.''

The International Food Safety Culture Conference takes place Prospect Building at the Sir Tom Cowie Campus, at St Peter’s. There will be a question-and-answer session where attendees will be able to query speakers on points of interest.

To book your place and find out more click here

Dr Derek Watson (right) with John Husband and Helen Hood from ToTrain 

Inspiring a new generation


A graduate has been inspired to teach the next generation of scientists, after battling dyslexia and despite being estranged from her family from a young age.

Keiran Cull, 22, graduated with her degree in BSc Physiological Sciences at the University, and this September will begin training as a science teacher. Keiran has pursued her studies despite a difficult childhood and a life spent independent from her family.

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She says: “My dad died when I was fourteen, and my mum’s mental health declined and she became an alcoholic. She decided she didn’t want a relationship with me or the rest of the family.

“At college I had to support myself financially, and worked full time at a care home, often doing 12 hour shifts on a weekend to pay my rent.”

With the support of her sister Keiran came to a University open day, and she immediately decided Sunderland was right for her.

“I knew the University had a good science department, so choosing Sunderland was easy for me.   Though my time here has been a rollercoaster of emotions, the support I have received has been amazing.”

While studying Keiran received support with her dyslexia, but struggled financially in her first year, unaware that help was available, but a phone call to the University’s dedicated Estranged Student Support Team changed everything. Keiran received the University’s We Care Scholarship, which, from September, offers £2,000 a year, as well as one-to-one support, for care experienced young people.

“Having the financial support is very important, but the thing that really matters to me is having someone there offering me support,” says Keiran. “Having someone to talk to is so important to me. Knowing that there’s someone there when I feel down, or I’m doubting myself, or I’m struggling with work, it means everything to me."

Now Keiran is planning the return to Sunderland in September to train as a teacher on the PGCE Science and Biology course.

Keiran adds: “I chose to come to university because I always thought I could do more. I was always told I couldn’t, but I want to prove I’m intelligent, though people have told me all my life that I’m not. I’m here, and I’m still going.

“I believe I can do it, and I’m going to prove that I can.”

Adam’s on the ball

It takes balls to play table tennis like Adam Gittings.

Still only 22, Adam has achieved a huge amount in the three years he has been at the University of Sunderland.

Now, just days after graduating, he looks back on a life-changing time which has got him ready for working life.

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Adam became the first president of the University’s table tennis club after he brought his nationally acclaimed skills to the city three years ago.

What makes this even more remarkable is that Adam lives his day-to-day life with Asperger syndrome, and is intent on helping others with the condition.

Adam arrived with an already well established reputation as one of the UK’s best young players.

By the time he was 17, Adam was ranked the GB Under-18s Number 1 player on the Paralympic circuit, and he would later go on to be named Number 2 in the Men’s field.

During his time at the University he not only helped establish the popular club, but last season led them to finishing 3rd in the university league table.

Now, Adam, who studied Exercise, Health and Fitness, at the University, has graduated in front of family and friends at the Stadium of Light.

He said: “It’s been an amazing three years, and I’ve decided to stay in Sunderland for another year to start my career.”

So where did it all start for Adam?

He said: “When I was 15 I went along to a sports event in South Yorkshire, mainly to play football.

“But we were encouraged to try other things and one of them was table tennis. I gave it a go and one of the coaches came over to me and said I seemed to have a natural talent.”

It was that natural talent which led to Adam signing up for the Albert Premier Table Tennis Club in Sheffield.

“It was quite addictive,” says Adam. “And it was something different to playing football so I started really enjoying it.”

Over the next couple of years Adam played more and more, convincing his parents to turn their conservatory into his training room.

Diagnosed with Asperger’s aged four, Adam has never let the condition hold him back from doing what he loves most.

He arrived in Sunderland after being impressed by what the University’s Exercise, Health and Fitness programme offered.

Finding time to indulge his table tennis passion, he first joined a club based at Sandhill View Academy before going on to become President of the University’s first official Table Tennis Club.

Now, as he graduates, Adam is hoping to go on establish a personal training business, after gaining his PT qualification as part of his course. He is aiming to start working in a gym and building up clients from there.

An engineering student has been recognised for their hard work by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

Connor Watson, 23, from Houghton le Spring, won the IET Manufacturing Prize as well as the Ede & Ravenscroft Prize. The IET award prizes annually to outstanding students who are completing a course of study which has been accredited by the IET. Prize winners are nominated by their university based on having shown distinction in their course leading to the award of a first degree.

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Connor, who graduated B.Eng (Hons) Manufacturing Engineering this summer, received a certificate and two years free membership of the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

Connor says: “I chose Sunderland to study after going to various university open days. Sunderland was the best fit for me. I enjoyed mixing with people of all ages, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds, building friendships through group work across the course.

“I was overwhelmed to receive the award and I do now believe that you achieve success from the amount of effort you put in. “

Mike Carr, IET President, said: “Our IET Prizes are a way for talented engineering students to be recognised for their outstanding ability in the early stages of their engineering journey. I wish them all the best for a very fulfilling and successful career.

“The IET is passionate about promoting engineering excellence and our awards and prizes showcase some of the very best engineering talent. All of the winners should be incredibly proud of their achievements.”

To find out more information about the range of prizes and awards available to young and aspiring engineers through the IET, please visit: