2023 in review

From hosting a princess to helping out pop royalty, celebrating both Hallward's half century and 50 years of MRI at Nottingham - there was plenty to get excited about at the university in 2023.

Within the alumni community we caught up with Sir John Sawers for advice on transitioning your career in later life, welcomed no less than Sir Paul Smith CBE as an honorary graduate and sought your expertise as part of a new podcast series with the School of Economics.

That's without even getting to our second successful Giving Day, our award-winning volunteers and the continuing development of our new Castle Meadow Campus.

Read on for a recap of 2023 news highlights.

Trent Building and lake.

January: Lewis Capaldi tests prototype Tourette's device

One of the UK's most adored pop stars, Lewis Capaldi, dropped by campus in January ahead of performing in Nottingham.

The reason? He had recently revealed he has Tourette's syndrome and was visiting the university's Neupulse team to try out its world-leading, revolutionary, wearable device aimed at reducing tics in those with Tourette's syndrome.

Lewis was so taken with the device the team let him take one on tour - he continues to keep in touch with us as the device is developed.

More on Lewis's visit >


February: ChatGPT - all talk and no action?

One of our most popular articles this year was an in-depth look at what a ChatGPT-filled future might look like.

We tracked down an actual human to provide some insight on the bot and its like, to explain their origins, highlight the flaws and speculate as to whether we're all actually going to be replaced by machines.

Remind yourself what the future might hold for ChatGPT, the AI bot that has been the talk of the office this year as Dr. Jeremie Clos, machine learning researcher, gives us the lowdown.

Message ChatGPT... >

March: flying high for recruitment

We were delighted to hear that Nottingham was ranked second among universities most targeted by the UK’s leading graduate employers, in The Graduate Market in 2023 survey, conducted by High Fliers Research.

Our Careers and Employability Service shared just a few of the reasons why the university has such excellent national recognition for the work it does with employers, students and connecting students with recruiters.

Find out why we're flying high >

April: John Sawers - Life after 'C'

Over his 36-year career, Sir John Sawers (Physics and Philosophy, 1976) held many of the most senior positions in foreign affairs, diplomatic relations and national security, culminating in five years as the Chief of MI6.

But what comes next in life after “C”? For John, it includes establishing his own company, Newbridge Advisory, board roles, pro-bono work and visiting professorships. We caught up with him in April to hear how he has taken his career in new directions and how he uses his long-held expertise in new fields.

Learn from Sir John >

John Sawers 1200

May: a trip to the British Ambassador's office in Laos

In our My Office series, we explore the working spaces of alumni around the world to give you the inside view into what careers are really like – and hopefully provide some inspiration along the way.

In May we took a trip to the exotic climes of Laos to visit the office of John Pearson (Geography, 1990).

As a member of staff at the Foreign Office, John has represented Britain’s interests across the world for over 30 years before settling in his current position as British Ambassador to the country.

Take a trip to Laos >


June: Nottingham features in QS World University Rankings Top 100

It was revealed that the University of Nottingham was ranked =100th in the QS World University Rankings 2024.

The 2023 QS World University Rankings is the largest ever, with 1,500 universities across 104 locations, up from 1,418 in 2022.

The results account for the distribution and performance of 17.5 million academic papers published between 2017 and 2021 and the 141.6 million citations received by those papers; they also account for the expert opinions of over 144,000 academic faculty and over 98,000 employers around the world. 

July: heading to the Econverse!

July saw the first episode of Econverse drop on Spotify - a student-led initiative supported by the School of Economics here at the University of Nottingham.

The students invited a host of inspirational alumni on to provide valuable insights into their life after graduation.

Guests included Formula 1 broadcaster Ariana Bravo, EY Partner Myles Corson, philosopher and filmmaker George Thompson and many more!

Take a trip to the Econverse >


August: celebrating 50 years of Hallward Library

2023 marked 50 years since the university's library was moved from the Trent Building to new premises - and in August the team from University of Nottingham Libraries began its celebratory recollection of the history of our favourite library.

If you're in the mood for some quality archive photography, their series of four blogs is going to be right up your street! 

Turn the page on Hallward Library >

September: sport does the double!

September saw Nottingham crowned the best university in the UK for sports by The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024, published during the month – the third time the university has been awarded the accolade by the publication since 2018.

It came just days after also being named Sports University of the Year by the Daily Mail University Guide – in the first year that the national newspaper has produced its own UK university rankings and awards.

Read more about our 'double' >

Sport annual roundup 2023

October: A royal visitor

There was huge excitement as the Princess of Wales visited Nottingham in October as part of a series of engagements across the country to mark World Mental Health Day.

The Princess of Wales paid a visit to Nottingham Trent University to hear how the university, alongside the University of Nottingham, are both ensuring students have the right mental health support around them as they began the new university year.

Read more about our royal visit >



November: the biggest duck you will ever see! 

The 2023/24 academic year sees us celebrate 25 years of Nottingham University Business School (NUBS), with events across the globe, as we look ahead to the next 25 years of business.

You may have joined us already in India or China, and if not maybe we'll see you in Nigeria, Malaysia, the USA or right here in the UK.

In the meantime, take a look at the UNNC's giant duck mascot!

Find out more about our NUBS 25 global event series >

December: designer mortar boards as Sir Paul Smith CBE receives his honorary degree

The traditional graduation mortar board was given a designer label makeover as we recognised Nottingham’s home-grown fashion designer Sir Paul Smith with an honorary degree.

Sir Paul became an honorary Doctor of Letters, in recognition of his contribution to the fashion industry through the international brand he has built since opening his first store in Nottingham in 1970, and the partnership which his company has forged with the university to support the city’s business growth, investment, and global profile.