A list of the most important discoveries by British academics for the benefit of society has been published.
The list is part of a campaign to celebrate the transformational impact of UK universities, which includes the development of penicillin, tackling plastic pollution in our oceans, ultrasound scans, the first test tube baby, and the establishment of the Living Wage.
The campaign, called MadeAtUni, has been launched against a backdrop of negative publicity surrounding higher education over the past 12 months. It also comes off the back of a recent poll which found that most of the public did not know that British academics were behind some of the world’s most important discoveries.
The campaign aims to show that universities do more than just teach students, and actually make a difference to the lives of millions of people – not just in the UK but around the world too.
The list of 100 top discoveries also celebrates the global impact of British universities, including responding to global disease outbreaks, helping farmers in India and Negal, tackling climate change, and helping to make the internet available around the world.
The campaign is supported by Rebecca Adlington, two-times Olympic swimming champion, who benefited from the training facilities at Nottingham University, despite not actually going to university herself. Adlington said:
Even though I didn’t go to university myself, my life wouldn’t have been the same without the amazing things that happen at UK universities.
For many people, universities are just places where people study, but I want to shine a light on the transformational impact they have on people’s lives.