Monthly Archives: January 2024

Colourful laptop screen closing

Kent CyberAnything competition (cash prizes available!)

Together with KMCC (Kent & Medway Cyber Cluster) and KMCS3 (Kent & Medway Cyber Security Student Society), iCSS, is co-organising a CyberAnything Competition.

We increasingly rely upon digital, networked and smart technologies such as mobile devices and the internet to live our lives. Or we can say that we are living in the Internet of Everything (IoE), a cyber-physical world where so many hardware devices, software systems, physical things, systems and people are now interconnected. However, the cyber elements of our lives and how security, privacy and safety of such elements affect our lives are not always visible or overlooked, and sometimes intentionally concealed. They are often so entrenched in our way of being that we overlook our reliance upon them until they stop functioning, e.g., when a power cut, server downtime or an empty battery hits us.

How to enter

This competition welcomes anything that is cyber-related in our daily lives. You can use your camera or other image-capturing device to capture a moment as a photo or a short video, or create a drawing, or prepare an infographic such as a flyer or a PowerPoint slide, or write an essay or even a poem, or make a 3-D printed object or a hand-crafted artefact, etc., which can tell a story about living, learning and connecting in the cyber or cyber-physical world in the past, at present, and/or in the future. You are also welcome to try generative AI for creating your submission, but in this case please describe which generative AI tool(s) were used and how you used it/them, e.g., prompt(s) you used to create the submission. Download competition flyer.

The deadline for submission is Friday 1 March 2024 23:59. We plan to announce the prize winners in late March 2024.

Who can enter

Submitted artefacts will be judged anonymously by a judging panel for the following prizes in the following four categories:

  • Current staff of the University of Kent
  • Current students of the University of Kent
  • Alumni of the University of Kent, and
  • Other UK residents who have never been affiliated with the University of Kent.

Cash prizes

  • 4 Best Overall Prizes (one per category, £80 Amazon e-voucher per prize),
  • 4 Most Creative Prizes (one per category, £80 Amazon e-voucher per prize), and
  • 8 Runner-Up Prizes (two per category; £20 Amazon e-voucher per prize).

Find out more and submit your entry.

Kent secures national funding to accelerate civic impact in the region

The University of Kent has been announced as one of just 12 UK HEI’s to secure funding from The National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) and Sheffield Hallam University’s (SHU) National Civic Impact Accelerator (NCIA) Action Learning Programme (ALP).

The ALP is designed to help transform the work of those involved, while also generating learning for others working across the country in place-based networks. Through the new initiative, Kent will benefit from a share of the £3.7 million of funding and will work with the other universities to address challenges in developing civic engagement and co-creating innovative solutions.

For Kent, the funding means a boost for its Right to Food initiative – a partnership with the Food Foundation that will promote food justice, tackle food poverty and transform the food system so that it operates to advance human health and an environmentally sustainable society.

Philip Pothen, Director of Engagement at the University of Kent says: ‘We’re delighted to be selected to be part of this important and prestigious programme. Our Right to Food initiative will be the centrepiece of our involvement and particularly its commitment to take our learning out to the wider sector to inform critical discussions about how we deliver a food system that is fair, affordable, healthy and sustainable for everyone. Through our involvement in this programme, we also want to learn from other universities about their approach to civic mission and to accelerate our development as a civic university so that we can better serve and support our local and regional communities.’

The partnerships will join a dynamic action learning programme over the next 18 months, working on a range of challenges, including: how to measure the impact of civic partnerships; how to develop equitable partnerships which realise mutual benefit; how to find meaningful ways to involve communities and citizens in decision making, and how to work with communities to address the climate agenda.

Together, the projects will help answer the question: how do universities need to change to be ‘truly civic’ in their work? As experienced change makers in the HE sector, the NCCPE bring a track record of supporting this kind of transformation, helping universities to embed engagement in organisational strategy, and providing tools and resources to accelerate institutional change.

Sophie Duncan, co-director of the NCCPE reflected: We are delighted to lead the Action Learning Programme as part of the NCIA project. There is significant expertise within civic university partnerships, but also a range of specific challenges impeding progress. An action learning approach will enable innovation and generate insight into how to tackle these challenges and put new ways of working into practice. The programme sits at the heart of the NCIA programme, ensuring we can draw on the evidence base, and share learning and insights with others.’

The 12 partnerships include:

  • Anglia Ruskin University
  • City University London
  • Edge Hill University
  • Lancaster University
  • Universities for Nottingham; University of Nottingham & Nottingham Trent University
  • Staffordshire University
  • University of the Arts London
  • University of Bath
  • University of Kent
  • Universities Partnership: Working together for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland; University of Leicester, De Montfort University & Loughborough University
  • University of York
  • Teesside University


World Food Day 2023: Becoming a Right to Food University

With World Food Day taking place on October 16, we take a look at the progress made by Kent’s Right to Food initiative over the last nine months – and look ahead to what we will be working on going forward.

World Food Day promotes awareness of hunger and action for the future of food, people, and the planet. This sits at the core of the Right to Food – our commitment to a world where no one goes hungry, where we develop sustainable food sources for all, and where nutrition is accessible to everyone, wherever they are and whatever their means.

Working with the Food Foundation, we have four missions which we believe will deliver a step change in our approach to delivering equality of access to healthy, affordable, and sustainable food.

Over the past nine months we have made some great strides in all areas, and have started laying the foundations for more exciting plans for the future.


We have secured a place on the National Civic Impact Accelerator (NCIA) Action Learning Programme (ALP) to help put the Right to Food on the world stage.  Through the new initiative, representatives Kent will attend action learning workshops alongside other universities – sharing the Right to Food and developing a blueprint for it for other institutions.

Kent will also benefit by learning from other institutions about their approach to civic mission and to accelerate our development as a civic university so that we can better serve and support our local and regional communities. Representatives from Kent recently attended an event in Birmingham where they, along with other institutions from the scheme, discussed what it means to be a civic university and how we can work with and share best practice with other institutions to help achieve this.

NCIA event in Birmingham

What next? Work on our blueprint for other universities is ongoing – which includes talking to a number of other institutions to get their valuable feedback on this. We continue to lobby for a visit from the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food and look forward to hosting the TUCO winter conference in December – putting the work of our catering team and the Right To Food initiative at the forefront of the sector.


The University has started to embed learning on food systems across the curriculum, with the launch of a Right to Food themed module in the M Arch. Food Futures sees students tackle the huge challenge of feeding the urban global population. Drawing on the University’s Right to Food Initiative, students will consider the impacts that food poverty has, and reflect on how good design can engender positive movement in food provision and culture.

Our researchers are working with local farmers to tackle food waste and improve the food system. From capitalising on the health benefits of cherries by creating new products from the waste to using black soldier flies to achieve a circular farming system and seeking to create a Net Zero Egg, our scientists are at the forefront of innovation.

We have also launched The Right to Food seminar series, inviting academics from a wide range of disciplines to address the question ‘What is a Right to Food University’.

Drs Jen Tullet and Marina Ezcura

What next? We are working with Dominic Watters and the ‘Food is care’ campaign to look at how the Right to Food can be embedded in other courses across social work and social policy. We have also launched The Right to Food seminar series, inviting academics from a wide range of disciplines to address the question ‘What is a Right to Food University’.  


To support our students and staff on campus, we launched the £3 meal deal on campus. This hot meal, served in our Rutherford Dining Hall, includes a choice of salad or vegetables and has proven to be extremely popular, and important. We have sold over 44,000 meals since November 2022.  This term, approximately 60% of the Cost of Living meal sales have been vegetarian or plant-based.

This £3 meal deal has been extended to our Grab and go sandwich meal deal offer – which is now available in more campus outlets.  In addition to this exciting meal deal expansion, the catering team have reduced hot food price on average by 20%. Through reducing food waste, collaborating closely with our primary food supplier, simplifying operations, and managing food expenses effectively, prices across campus have been significantly reduced.

These price cuts mean that in Mungo’s burgers haven’t been this low since 2012 and the average price of a hot meal at Gulbenkian Café has decreased from n 2011 was approx. £7.42; today, in 2023, it’s £3.95. The average salad price on menus is £1.38 cheaper this year compared to last academic year (Sept 2022, £6.13, Sep 2023 – £4.75). Smashed avacado on toast is also £1.50 cheaper at Gulbenkian Café (Sep 2022 – £5.50, Sep 2023 – £4.00).

What next? We’re benchmarking our menus and sales against The Sustainable Food Plan so that we can set future targets to improve food on campus and exploring how the kitchen and dining space at Origins could be used to provide a social space for students and external organisations to eat affordable food, whilst learning about the food system. We are also creating a River of Vegetation – the development of land dedicated to biodiversity and food across the campus connecting the Kent Oasis Garden and the Jubilee Orchard – which has already got it’s first donation.   


Kent has hosted a number of conferences on the Right to Food, including the Kent Food summit 2023– which saw over 100 key stakeholders come together to hear all about the newly established Kent Food Partnership, a cross-sector partnership between local government, education, public health, industry and community initiatives to help shape the future role of local, sustainable, healthy food in Kent.

This Friday, Kent will host and chair the Canterbury Society’s Annual Civic Lecture – Poverty, Policy and the Right to Food.

Earlier this year, Kent hosted the annual Eastern Arc conference. This year its conference was focussed on ‘food in a time of crisis’, building on the University of Kent’s Right to Food initiative and bringing together a range of stakeholders to tackle our increasingly dysfunctional food system.

Dr Philip Pothen, Director of Engagement at Kent, said: ‘The conference showed us that there is a wealth of expertise, as well as desire, to bring about change and tackle this current food crisis. While we are excited about becoming the first Right to Food university, it’s vital that we share this vision and support other institutions in their own journey to champion this mission. The conference gave us a chance to kick-start a collaborative approach with our Eastern Arc partners, which will pave the way for a number of partnerships to help realise the Right to Food nationally.’

Dr Rob Barker and Phil Ward at the Eastern Arc conference

The Kent Gleaning Collective has also gotten underway. A joint project between The University of Kent, Produced in Kent and Kent Union, the first volunteer students have started going to farms to collect left-over food from fields since September. This produce, which would have otherwise have gone to waste, will given to students and donated to charity.

What next? We look forward to taking our Gleaning project forward, working with the student union and wider community groups to extend the reach of our gleaned produce.

student presenting at i-teams

Apply now for i-teams

i-teams is an innovative programme that allows Kent students to work in interdisciplinary teams, solving real-world problems and gaining valuable experience in a variety of fields.

Whether your passion lies in sustainability, healthcare, or technology, i-teams has a project for you. Work alongside mentors from industry and academia to develop your skills and knowledge in your chosen area. Not only will you gain valuable experience, but you will also have the opportunity to make a difference in the world.

But don’t just take our word for it. Previous i-teams participants have gone on to launch their own successful startups, work for top companies, and even pursue further education in their chosen field. The skills and experience gained through i-teams have proven invaluable in their future careers.

So what are you waiting for? Join the i-teams programme and start making an impact today! Visit the our careers webpages to learn more and apply by 29 January 2024.

Kent research set to play pivotal role in bringing robot technology to UK orchards

Kent research is set to play a pivotal role in a groundbreaking new project which could revolutionise fruit production in the UK.

Professor of Agri-Environmental Economics, Iain Fraser, is joining a world-class consortium of partners to deliver the £4.5 million Precision Orchard Management for the Environment (POME) project. Led by agronomist Rob Saunders from H.L. Hutchinsons, the team will develop a commercially viable system which can precisely target orchard inputs to specific trees, or parts of a tree.

Funded by Innovate UK and DEFRA, the project will see Professor Iain Fraser collaborate with other academics, engineers, agri-tech startups, software developers, equipment suppliers, NIAB horticultural experts and farmers to implement technology which will improve the sustainability and efficiency of one of Kent’s leading industries.

Specifically, Iain will evaluate the difference between existing technology and new technology, which includes robots, drones and innovative chemical spraying systems. As well as calculating any improvements in efficiency, he will examine the likelihood that farmers will adopt the new technology and consider how the environmental benefits relate to UK environmental policy post EU-exit. By combining all three, he will be able to provide the project consortium with an informed assessment of whether the new spray technology is commercially viable.

Commenting on the impact the project will have on the farming community, Mr Saunders said, ‘The system we are building will cater for different sizes of farm business and with optional services depending on the farm’s need. The industry has changed a lot in recent years and will continue to do so as technology advances, and we believe systems like this will become commonplace.’

Iain has developed his understanding of orchard management, crop production and yields through his involvement in a series of projects, including the development of better crop yield forecasts to help farmers and supermarkets ensure there is sufficient produce available to meet demand. This project comes off the back of the Interreg-funded project Beespoke which examined the ‘pollinator deficit’ and how the support of wild pollinators by appropriate management can support both crop production and biodiversity.

Kent research to support seaweed project in Zanzibar

University researchers are helping county Kent-based seaweed technology business Nutri-San develop new techniques to transform seaweed extracts into a plant-based thickening agent for use in the food and pharmaceutical industries. As part of this project, Nutri-san is opening a new carrageenan factory on Pemba Island, Zanzibar.

During a signing ceremony of the Joint Venture Framework agreement between Zanzibar’s state-owned seaweed company, ZASCO, and Nutri-San on 22 November, Kent’s Dr Rob Barker gave a short presentation on carrageenan extraction techniques to an audience of over 100 Zanzibarian Ministers and Government officials, as well as media outlets.   

Nutri-San produces animal feed supplements from a blend of sustainable seaweeds and has been working with Alessia Buscaino, Professor of Fungal Biology at the University’s School of Biosciences, and the team at the Kent Biotech Hub for several years. An Algae UK/Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council-funded initiative enabled the team to conduct research on Nutri-San’s seaweed blends.  This initial research led to the team exploring alternative uses for by-products from Nutri-San’s production process, including the development of horticultural and agricultural bio-stimulants – something which Growing Kent & Medway have been keen to support.  They have since developed a highly productive relationship and are excited that their collaboration is being broadened to include Dr Barker and his team.  Together they will continue to work to drive innovation which impacts positively on people, animals and the planet. 

The new factory will be one of only a small number of facilities globally that is capable of producing high quality carrageenan from red seaweeds. Nutri-San has been supporting the seaweed harvesting community on Zanzibar for a number of years and the company’s diversification into carrageenan production will enable many more jobs to be created including key scientific and technical roles. 

Professor Buscaino said: ‘The partnership between the University and Nutri-San has been made possible by the Growing Kent & Medway consortium and it demonstrates how academia and business can work synergistically to great effect, for the immense benefit of both institutions. Our involvement with the commercial operation of Nutri-San in Zanzibar is exciting and we are also excited to announce that Dr Michelle Marin Chau, Nutri-San co-founder, has become an honorary member of staff at Kent. Her unique insights and experienced leadership will be an invaluable asset to us as we work together towards creating positive change.’ 

San Chau, Nutri-San-CEO, added: ‘We have been very fortunate to have developed a relationship with the University of Kent through our research collaborations with Professor Alessia Buscaino and her team, both in the School of Biosciences and at Growing Kent and Medway, which now spans several years.  Recently, this relationship has been extended to encompass more members of the Kent team.  Going forward together our partnership will have benefits for the community not only in Kent but also globally and we are hugely excited about this.’ 

Take the NSS today

In your final year? Here’s why you should fill in the NSS

The National Student Survey (NSS) is now open at Kent and final year undergraduate students are invited to complete it.

The NSS is your chance to have your say on what you liked or didn’t like about studying at Kent. Take the NSS now. 

The NSS: what you need to know

📣The University and Kent Union value your feedback and the NSS is one of the most powerful ways to have your say. See the Your Uni Your Say webpages for ways we have acted on your feedback.  

📧If you are eligible, Ipsos will email you on Thursday 25 January and will continue to email, text and call you until you complete it (so we recommend you do it early). 

🔒The survey is completely anonymous and confidential. It is run by Ipsos, an independent research agency.

🎓 NSS is mainly open to final year undergraduates.

🕕The survey takes about 10 minutes to complete. However, please take the time to consider your answers and reflect on your whole experience at Kent.

Students high-fiving at welcome fair

Events roundup: 22-28 January

Find out what’s on this week:

Monday 22 January: Career and application support

Thinking about finding a part-time job? Come along to this online session to find out what steps you can take to secure a part time role.

Making applications to graduate schemes, job roles, postgraduate study? Come to this session in Pilkington Building, Medway, to discover how to create and submit engaging and targeted applications.

Tuesday 23 January: The Big Fair and Income Office drop-in (Medway)

Discover sports, societies and volunteering opportunities at Kent Union’s Big Fair on Tuesday in the Main Hall, Sports Centre. You can also find out more about off-campus accommodation for next year and part-time jobs at Kent Union.

Are you having trouble paying your fees? On Tuesday there is a drop-in session for Medway students to meet with the Income Office on Medway campus and discuss any issue with payment of fees.

Wednesday 24 January: Medway Welcome Fair and January Global Hangout

Explore a diverse array of student societies, local services and campus resources at the Medway Welcome Fair on Wednesday. There will also be interactive booths and giveaways.

Join us for our January Global Hangout in Eliot Dining Hall (*location changed*) on Wednesday afternoon. Meet new friends from across the University and enjoy fun activities and free refreshments in a relaxed atmosphere.

Thursday 25 January: Multicultural Fashion Show (Medway)

Celebrating diversity, creativity, and the beauty of cultural expression, the Multicultural Fashion Show at the Hub showcases the rich tapestry of fashion from around the globe. Students are invited to take part by walking down the runway or being a spectator.

Friday 26 January: Welcome Back Chill Out Zone and Coping with Nerves and Anxiety for Presentations and Interviews

Join us in the Welcome Back Chill Out Zone in Darwin Conference Suite for some pizza, games and crafts to welcome back students from across Divisions. Open to all students.

Do you find presentations and interviews anxiety inducing? In this supportive and practical session, you will learn techniques based on mindfulness tools to conquer nerves and anxiety before and during presentations and interviews.

Saturday 27 January: Carbon Literacy Certification Training (Medway)

Develop your knowledge of climate change and addressing the worldwide climate crisis by taking accredited Carbon Literacy Training at Medway campus. The training is open and free to all students and on successful completion of the course you will receive official carbon literate certification from the carbon literacy Project.

See more student events.




Kent welcomes University of Sussex to Eastern Arc

The University of Sussex has joined the universities of Kent, East Anglia and Essex to become the fourth member of the Eastern Arc research consortium.

At a ceremony at the Royal Society in London on 11 January 2024, the vice-chancellors of the four universities signed a memorandum of understanding that will support joint working in research, education, innovation, knowledge exchange, training, and equipment-sharing.

Launched in 2013, Eastern Arc has grown to be a significant regional catalyst for collaboration and cooperation, resulting in over £10m of funding for partnerships between two or more of the member institutions since 2020.

The Consortium has increasingly advocated for and led on issues of particular importance to the greater southeast of England, including coastal deprivation, food, diet and nutrition, and heritage, culture and placemaking. A series of Eastern Arc events has brought together academics and stakeholders to explore these issues, leading to reports which are helping policymakers and directing our future collaborations.

Within the universities, it has supported the development of a positive research culture, opening up training across the consortium, launching an Imaging Platform Alliance, and establishing an innovative mentoring scheme that has matched over 230 academics, technicians and professional services staff for their professional development.

‘I am excited to welcome Sussex to the consortium,’ said Phil Ward, Director of Eastern Arc. ‘The University, with its open, interdisciplinary and creative outlook, is a natural fit with us. It shares a similar geographic location and complementary research strengths but, just as importantly, it has the same ethos, encouraging interdisciplinarity and being ‘disruptive by design’’.

Professor Sasha Roseneil, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex, said: ‘We are delighted to be joining the Eastern Arc research consortium. Membership of Eastern Arc means committing to advancing and energising our collaborations with three great campus-based, research-intensive universities that are both geographically close to Sussex, and that are engaged in solving some of society’s greatest challenges in order to make both our part of the UK and the wider world a better place.’

Professor Karen Cox, Kent’s Vice-Chancellor and President, commented: ‘I am delighted to welcome the University of Sussex to Eastern ARC as the consortium continues to build on its collaborative research strengths and provide new opportunities for our research staff. By working more closely together in areas of common interest we make a greater positive impact across our regions, which will be more important than ever in the years ahead.’

In 2024 the Consortium will develop its strategy for the next five years, supporting the creative, civic and impactful work of its members, and ensuring that the work of regional, dual-intensive universities plays a central role in addressing the key issues that face the country.


Laptop loan service

Laptop loans service expanded and enhanced

12 hour laptop loans now available to use on campus.

You can now borrow all Templeman Library laptops for up to 12 hours; and laptops from the self-service cabinet in the Library Café can be borrowed and used across the Canterbury campus. Chargers are available to borrow from the Welcome Desk, along with laptop bags if you’re using it outside the Library.

We’ve extended the loan period and expanded the places where the laptops can be used in response to student feedback, enhancing this popular service to better support your study needs #YourUniYourSay

Campus laptops: for use across campus

  • Laptops from the self-service cabinet in the Library Café can be borrowed and used across the Canterbury campus.

Library laptops: for Library use only

  • Laptops from the self-service cabinet on Floor 2, Block C, are restricted for use in the Templeman Library only.

Loan chargers and laptop bags

  • Chargers are available for loan from the Welcome Desk, along with laptop bags if you’re using it outside the Library.

How loan laptops work

  1. Borrow loan laptops:
    • For campus use: from laptop cabinet in the Café area (Ground floor, Block B)
    • For Library use only: from laptop cabinet on Floor 2, Block C.
  2. Use it: for up to 12 hours – the laptop works with wired and Bluetooth headphones.
    • Need a charger or laptop bag? Pick one up from the Welcome Desk.
  3. Save your files: to your University OneDrive so you can easily access them.
  4. Return it: take it back to the cabinet and plug it in. If you have borrowed a charger and / or laptop bag as well, please return them to the Welcome Desk.

Any problems? Please take the laptop to IT & Library Support in Nexus, Ground Floor, Block D, so we can sort it out.

What’s included

  • All Office 365 tools
  • Internet access and webcam
  • Accessibility apps
  • Citation tools

What’s not provided

  • Course-specific software
  • Laptop accessories (eg mouse)
  • Speakers (they’re disabled)

The small print

  • Laptops loaned from the Café self-service cabinet can be used across the Canterbury campus.
  • Laptops loaned from the cabinet on Floor 2 are still restricted for use in the Templeman Library only.
  • If you don’t return the laptop at the end of the 12 hour loan period, there won’t be a fine – but you won’t be able to borrow any other items until you do!
  • If you lose the laptop, we will charge you for the replacement costs.

Please follow our laptop loans conditions of use and Library and IT regulations when using them.

Find out more

See our Laptop loans guide.