Stories from 2022 that make us proud to be Loughborough.

As we come towards the end of the year, most will be looking ahead to the next, setting new goals and ambitions. The end of the year should also be a time of reflection on what has been achieved in the last 12 months. We’re proud of everything the Loughborough University community has achieved during 2022. From students to staff, graduands to alumni, here, we share a selection of stories that show why we are proud to be Loughborough.

Students wearing graduation gowns and caps


This year, just like any other, our students have worked very hard, both within their studies and outside of them,  achieving some incredible things in connection to their degree and within extracurricular activities. The following stories are a small selection of what our amazing students have been up to this year.

Students crossing the campus Progress Pride flag crossing, eating ice cream and smiling

Towards the end of January, Lewis Naughton, an Architectural Engineering student, had his railway carriage renovation project featured on Channel 4’s “George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces”.

Lewis worked on this project over the course of 2021, converting the carriage into a luxury gym and sauna. The railway carriage was abandoned at a farm that he worked on growing up, and had always sparked his interest.

“I have been fascinated by design and construction from a young age, which led me to study Architectural Engineering at Loughborough University. The knowledge gained from my lecturers Professor Mohamed Osmani and Dr Kirti Ruikar has been invaluable as it allowed me to design and complete the project.

“The whole process was fantastic to be involved in and a real experience to see how documentaries are made.”

Lewis's story is shown in ‘Season 10 Episode 4: Railway Carriage and a Victorian Loo’, which aired on Friday 28 January on Channel 4.

Lewis Naughton, some of his family members, and George Clarke posing in front of the refurbished railway carriage
Refurbished railway carriage, with a gym space inside
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Refurbished railway carriage, with a gym space inside

In May, Lulu Ao, a PhD student in the School of Design and Creative Arts, had her work featured at the “Beyond Language” exhibition in Tübingen, Germany.

The exhibition featured artists from China, Germany, and Sweden. All the artwork in the exhibition used language as a starting point and created dialogues from this. Lulu used interactive text to explore the relationship between the language and the Mosuo’s matriarchal society.

She began this process when she was invited to exhibit her work by Professor Gao Xiang, the leader of the Lugu Lake Artists Residency Project in Yunnan, China in November 2019. She met the other artists in the exhibition and stayed for a month to experience and investigate the local matriarchal culture whilst also making art. 

When she interviewed Mosuo people she learned that their language only exists in their daily conversations. In recent decades, the younger generations have begun to speak Han Chinese in school, and it is also used by those working in the tourism industry. As a result, the Mosuo is being used less and less.

Lulu’s work portrayed the importance and potential dilemma of Mosuo language. The work was made interactive by displaying the International Phonetic Alphabet allowing viewers to pronounce the sentence correctly, and therefore connect with the Mosuo language.

Lulu Ao, poitining at one of the exhibits, representing white 3D letters on a white wall
“I was really happy to see that it was more popular than we thought and that it has created a lot of discussion around the subject of languages.”
Lulu Ao, a School of Design and Creative Arts PhD student
Lulu Ao and some of her family members and friends, posing in front of a colorful wall

In June, Loughborough Students’ Union (LSU) Action received the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee award in recognition of its outstanding volunteering contributions.

LSU Action provides volunteering opportunities for university students and staff to work across projects ranging from social support, education, and outreach initiatives to sustainability work.

The initiative – which has been running for 25 years – regularly exceeds 10,000 hours’ worth of volunteering each academic year, and during the 2021/22 academic year there were over 750 active student volunteers. Recent projects include:

  • ‘Covid Community Champions’: This project provided vital support to students who had to self-isolate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Volunteers delivered parcels, printing, textbooks, and prescriptions to students. In total LSU Action helped 2,000 self-isolating students.
  • The Ukraine Hardship Appealwhere over a tonne of non-perishable foods, bedding, clothes and sanitary products were donated by staff and students to families in Ukraine displaced by the ongoing conflict. 

Find out more about the initiatives of LSU Action through their dedicated webpage.

The LSU Action committee, about to be handed the Queen's Platinum Jubilee award
“I would like to congratulate all the award winners and nominees. In recent times, we have experienced unprecedented and extraordinarily difficult times and yet throughout, it has been wonderful to see schools, businesses, volunteer and community groups across the city and county have remained unwavering in their commitment to making a big difference in their local communities.”
Mike Kapur, the Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire
Mike Kapur, the Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire, in his uniform. In the background are some of the LSU Action committee members.

In September, a Loughborough student was recognised as one of the UK’s most outstanding African-Caribbean students by Future Leaders.

Philip Ilono, who is currently undertaking a master’s in Data Science, was named alongside 149 inspiring students and recent graduates from across the country.  

The list was published in Future Leaders, an annual publication which aims to guide and inspire future Black talent across schools and colleges who may be considering higher education.  

Philip was recognised for various activities he has been involved in outside of his degree. For example, when he took part in JP Morgan’s Hackathon called Code for Good. Philip and his teammates were tasked with developing an idea to help a non-government organisation which was struggling to receive donations to support refugees. His team’s idea, which was to develop an app that allowed individuals willing to help to understand whether their belongings were eligible to be donated, has now been taken forward by the organisation.   

Of the achievement, he commented:

“I feel proud to have achieved such an award and the experience really showed me what I have achieved during my university career. It showed me that I have done numerous academic and non-academic projects at a high level to be recognised nationally. The opportunity to also network with people at the top of their field was priceless.”  
Philip Ilono, Loughborough University student, recognised as one of the UK’s most outstanding African-Caribbean students by Future Leaders
Screenshot of a computer program titled "Remote Solar lab", measuring temperature, voltage, and irradiance

More student stories...

Joe Fuggle, in front of a running track

In July, current Loughborough Student Joe Fuggle created a ground-breaking support hub for young athletes and their parents with wellbeing. As a former GB Junior 400m hurdler, Joe founded theathleteplace following his own struggles in sport.

The project was launched via The Loughborough University Enterprise Network, as a robust space which provides vital advice and guidance for those involved in athletics.

Alongside support for those competing, Joe, with his Mum, Caroline, have focused on providing resources for parents and guardians of young athletes by launching The Parent Hub, the UK’s first and only platform dedicated to parents in athletics.


This year, our staff have hit some amazing milestones while working towards the development of our university and its community.

A female teacher writing equations on a whiteboard

In May, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nick Jennings, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.

The life-long honour is bestowed upon the most eminent scientists, engineers and technologists from across the UK and the Commonwealth, acknowledging their excellence in the field of science.

Professor Jennings was nominated in recognition of his national security science leadership and his pioneering contributions to the field of artificial intelligence (AI).

He transformed the use of science for national security purposes by developing disruptive new capabilities and overseeing their widespread deployment in investigations and the protection of critical national infrastructure. His personal research devised novel multi-agent models for efficient interactions and applied them to save lives in the aftermath of disasters, monitor the natural environment and win Olympic medals.

Vice-Chancellor Nick Jennings in front of a grey background

“It is an honour to be a made a Fellow of the Royal Society. I am a strong believer in team science, and I would like to thank the hundreds of PhD students, Research Fellows and co-authors who I’ve had the pleasure of working with in my career. This recognition would not have happened without their inspiration and collaboration.”
Professor Nick Jennings, Vice-Chancellor, Loughborough University
Vice-Chancellor Nick Jennings smiling in front of the Hazlerigg Building

In September, Loughborough psychologist Dr David Fletcher, won a British national title at the GB Masters Open Water Swimming Championships.

Dr Fletcher, who is based in the School of Sport, Exercise, and Health Sciences, is a regular recreational swimmer during his lunch break at the University’s swimming pool. 

During the COVID-19 lockdowns, Dr Fletcher went to local lakes to continue practising because of pool closures. Like many others, he found that he developed an unexpected love for swimming outdoors as a result.

“After a lifetime of indoor pools, I found outdoor swimming a really invigorating experience. There’s something about being in nature and the cool water that is very liberating. I had no intention of racing but a friend mentioned the championships and I thought I’d give it a go.”
Dr David Fletcher, Senior Lecturer in Performance Psychology and Management, Director of Postgraduate Taught Studies and Director of Research Degree Programmes (Sport Performance)

In 2019, a group of staff swimmers including Dr Fletcher formed a relay team that broke the GB Masters British record in the men’s 4 x 200m freestyle relay.

An empty indoor swimming pool, prepared for a competition

In September, the winners of the first Vice-Chancellor’s Awards were announced. The ceremony, which was held on campus, welcomed all shortlisted nominees to celebrate their achievements. Nominations were received from all Schools and Professional Services.

The awards were created to recognise the ways our staff, both in teams and as individuals, demonstrate their commitment to the University's aims and values.  

The winners were:

Education: For significant impact on student education – Academic Language Support Service

Innovation in education: For significant innovation in education provision – Christopher Kay and Jenny Ardley

Enhancing the student experience: For significant enhancement of the student experience – Hospitality assistants and Sophie Hyde

EDI achievement: For activities that have made the University significantly more equitable, diverse and inclusive – Making Loughborough Great

Campus improvement: For enhancing student life and sustainability – London Carers Group

Health and wellbeing: For enhancing the health and wellbeing of the University’s staff and students – Sarah Van Zoelen

Unsung Heroes: For an individual or team who does vital work for the University and is deserving of broader recognition – Graduation Support Team

For outstanding international engagement that has enhanced the University’s profile – Sustainable Transitions: Energy, Environment and Resilience (STEER)

Loughborough sports personality of the year: For outstanding achievement in sport – Jamie Clapham

Sports achievement: For significant impact on sport policy and practice – Mark King

For activities that had had significant local, regional, national or international impact – ICAROS

Research leadership: For developing a high-performing research environment and culture – Camilla Gilmore

Research team: For achieving excellent research and innovation outcomes through collaborative partnership – Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre in Combustion System Aerothermal Processes

Impactful research and innovation: For research and innovation that has delivered significant and sustained impact on society – Sport Performance Strand of the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport

Vice Chancellor’s Special Award – Loughborough University London Major Response colleagues

More staff stories

Dr Pooja Goddard sitting at a desk, arranging a miniature structure that resembles atoms

In October, Dr Pooja Goddard, Loughborough Senior Lecturer in Chemistry, was among a cohort of just 16 UK academics to be awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering Industrial Fellowship in 2022.

The prestigious Fellowship will support her ongoing work with Echion Technologies to advance lithium-ion battery technologies.

Specifically, the project will use a materials modelling approach to improve the performance of the batteries, particularly focusing on improving power density.

Dr Goddard’s partnership with Echion began when the company approached her after reading her research team’s publications.

“It’s a fabulous opportunity for me to see how industry works and what the challenges are for developing and commercialising the next generation of materials for energy storage.”
Dr Pooja Goddard, Loughborough Senior Lecturer in Chemistry
An empty lecture hall

In January, three Loughborough academics were appointed to the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) advisory groups. Their mission was to review the 2022 Subject Benchmark Statements and ensure that they are up to date, utilizing their wide and diverse spectrum of intelligence, opinion, and experience within their specific subject areas.

“The commitment and dedication of our experienced advisory groups helps to ensure that Subject Benchmark Statements continue to be valued by disciplinary communities. We are grateful to all of those who have volunteered their time to support this vital activity.”
Professor Rachel Thomson, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Teaching


Our alumni will always be part of the Loughborough family. We love to hear about their achievements and are proud to have been part of their learning and development journey.

A group of students wearing graduation robes and gowns, with their back to the "camera"

In January, three Loughborough alumni secured Young Innovator Awards for their start-ups. 

Industrial Design and Technology graduate Anthony Camu is on a mission to reinvent mobility for visually impaired people, supported by LU Inc. The graduate’s business, Theia Guidance Systems, aims to replace traditional white canes with an intelligent device the size of a TV remote.

Fellow Industrial Design and Technology graduate Thomas Constant has recently graduated from LU Inc., having raised investment to scale his sustainable insect protein business, Beobia.

Growing up in the countryside, Thomas had always been fascinated by nature and sustainability. When he came to Loughborough, he was able to marry those passions with his design skills.

Jess Strain, who graduated from Loughborough in 2020 with a degree in Textile Design, began to research the social and environmental impact of textile materials, during her final year. She often struggled to find information on where a fibre had been grown, spun, woven, and processed, and had the same issue when shopping, with stores offering no details on the supply chain behind their products.

A collage of all three students. From left to right: Anthony Camu, Thomas Constant, and Jess Strain

Jess now creates products, including summer hats, tote bags, and soft furnishings, which offer buyers complete transparency. She plans to use waste fabric, dyed with locally-foraged plant matter.

They were each granted £5,000, one-on-one business coaching and an allowance to cover living costs.

Find out more about this years’ Young Innovators.

This year, inspiring graduand Ross Webb demonstrated the power of not giving up, when he graduated from Loughborough following a tough few years.

In the summer between finishing college and starting university, Ross experienced a mental health crisis that resulted in exacerbated mental health symptoms on an almost daily basis. He continued to experience these symptoms throughout his first year at Loughborough. Aware of his situation, Ross engaged with Karen Watts, the Mental Wellbeing Manager in the Mental Health Support Team at the University and together they managed his symptoms. However, the combined impact along with his new advanced studies resulted in failing his first year.

Together, Karen and Ross looked at his skill set and his growing interest in politics, empowering him to switch his degree from Physics, Astrophysics, and Cosmology to Politics and International Relations. This was a turning point. Ross had finally found something that complemented his skill set and that he was passionate about.

The Mental Health Support Team helped Ross access additional support such as extra time on exams, deadline extensions and free re-sits to alleviate some of the pressure when he was struggling with his mental health. Karen met with him every week during his time at Loughborough and Ross describes her as a ‘major influence on his subsequent success'.

“You can think you failed at something but really, you have learned a little more about yourself. I didn’t ‘fail’ all those times I was unsuccessful, I just learnt more about how I work best. Don’t see your challenges as failed tests, see them as experiences that you’ve learnt from.”
Ross Webb, Loughborough University graduand

Ross graduated in July with a 2:1 classification and has secured a position at Siemens as a Revenue Assurance Data Analyst. He is a true testament to the importance of reaching out for help and the power of never giving up. 

Ross Webb wearing hiking gear, standing at the top of a hill

In August, a graduate’s prosthetic led Team England athlete to win Commonwealth Gold.

While studying at Loughborough, recent graduate Neve Deal (Sports Technology 2022) worked with Commonwealth sprinter Emmanuel Oyinbo-Coker to create an innovative prosthetic starting device. The device was recently worn by Oyinbo-Coker at the Commonwealth Games when he won gold in the T45-47 100m.

The prosthetic device was designed as part of a second-year Sports Technology module. Neve and her group were assigned a brief to design ‘a sports product/device for athletes with a disability training or competing at Loughborough university’. She took the lead role in the project and contacted Emmanuel Oyinbo-Coker, a student at Loughborough College who trains at the University. 

The group worked with Emmanuel to develop a sprint start support device for his upper arm to rest on at the beginning of a race. 

Commonwealth sprinter Emmanuel Oyinbo-Coker on a running track, wearing an arm prostethic, preparing for the start of the race
“Emmanuel loved the idea and gave great feedback at each stage of the design process and has now been training with the device for a year. He used the exact device we made him in both the heats and final of the T45-47 100m at the Commonwealth Games which he then went on to win and break a Games Record. We began this project with just a rough sketch of our idea and to see it evolve into a device used by a Commonwealth Games gold medallist has been incredibly rewarding!” 
Neve Deal, Loughborough University Class of 2022

In July, Loughborough University alumnus and ACT Medical founder Joseph Bentley won an 1851 Enterprise Fellowship at the Royal Academy of Engineering as he continues to develop his award-winning system for reducing the number of deaths from knife wounds.

Joseph Bentley, Loughborough graduate and ACT Medical Founder

Joseph Bentley, Loughborough graduate and ACT Medical Founder

Joseph Bentley, Loughborough graduate and ACT Medical Founder

His Rapid Emergency Actuating Tamponade system is a portable handheld device that inserts an expanding tamponade into knife and gunshot wounds to reduce catastrophic blood loss. Joseph’s vision is that it will be used by first responders - including paramedics and police officers - to help save lives around the world.

Joseph was accepted for the RAEng 1851 Royal Commission Enterprise Fellowship after a rigorous application and selection process. Admission comes with £50,000 of equity-free funding, which Joseph will use to continue the development and testing of the system.

“It is a great honour to be selected for this prestigious programme of training and mentorship by the Royal Academy. This Enterprise Fellowship will accelerate our plans for product development and testing, allowing us to get our device into the hands of first responders as soon as possible.”
Joseph Bentley, Loughborough graduate and ACT Medical Founder
Components of REACT system

More alumni stories...

The Commonwealth Queen's baton

For this year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, three alumni and a current student were involved in the process of developing and designing the Queen’s Baton.

The Baton was designed to encompass art, technology, and science. Features included environmental sensors and a 360 camera. There was also a platinum strand to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Copper, aluminium, and brass were cast in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter to represent the bronze, silver and gold medals. 

Alumnus Alex Baker (Industrial Design and Technology 2009), Principal Industrial Designer at Raymont-Osman, fellow alumnus Lewis Webber (Industrial Design and Technology 2018), and current student Reuben Parry, worked on the design. 

The Baton passed through the Loughborough University campus on 11 July as it made its journey to Birmingham.

Women playing football in a field

In July, Loughborough University alumna Mary Earps made history as England Women won a thrilling Euro 2022 in extra time at a sold-out Wembley stadium.

Goalkeeper Earps, who graduated with a degree in Information Management and Business Studies in 2016, produced a commanding display in front of over 87,000 passionate supporters in the capital.

The Manchester United number one conceded just two goals in the tournament as England Women secured the top prize in international European football, making it the first time England senior players have brought home silverware since 1966.

England Women lift the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 final at Wembley Stadium.

England Women lift the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 final at Wembley Stadium. Image provided by PA/Alamy.

England Women lift the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 final at Wembley Stadium. Image provided by PA/Alamy.

What made you proud in 2022?

It is often easier to acknowledge and celebrate others’ positive achievements, while we ourselves may struggle to openly celebrate our own.

You should be proud of your achievements, your successes, your steps forward, and your learnings. These moments help build your self-esteem and empower you to do even more next time.

Additionally, sometimes it is the littlest things that can make us feel proud. As small as they may seem, they still contribute to who you are as a person and the special place that Loughborough University is.

The last few years have been tough on everyone, but we all have reasons to feel proud of ourselves for what has happened throughout this trying time.

We are proud of the entire Loughborough University community and look forward to seeing what will be achieved during 2023.

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