Enter now

Please select the category you wish to enter below and click 'Enter now' to continue through to the entry process.

The Lord Dearing Lifetime Achievement Award

This award will be given to the individual who, in the opinion of Times Higher Education, deserves to be honoured for his or her contribution to higher education above and beyond their own professional role. Institutions and individuals are welcome to submit nominations for consideration.

This award will be given to the individual who, in the opinion of Times Higher Education, deserves to be honoured for his or her contribution to higher education above and beyond their own professional role. Institutions and individuals are welcome to submit nominations for consideration.

Outstanding Research Supervisor of the Year

This award will be given to the individual who has created the most supportive, stimulating and inspirational research environment for doctoral students. Entries will be accepted from institutions, supervisors themselves or their students or colleagues, but in all cases the institution must support the submission and student testimonies must be included in the supplementary documentation.

The qualities we will be looking for in nominees might include:

  • Evidence of outstanding results of their supervision over a number of years (Have students from a range of backgrounds been encouraged to pursue a doctorate? What have they gone on to achieve?) 
  • A pioneering approach to supervision: what has the nominee done above and beyond that which is expected of any good supervisor?
  • Demonstrable enthusiasm for the role and going the extra mile to help students navigate through difficulties, academic or otherwise.
  • Challenging students intellectually and helping them to make substantial contributions to their academic field.
  • Providing additional support and facilities to give greater scope to their research.
  • Providing supervision to an exceptional number of candidates over time.
  • Offering constructive employment and career advice post-graduation

Excellence and Innovation in the Arts

This award aims to recognise the pioneering work that is taking place in universities to promote the arts. It is open to teams and higher education institutions in the UK 

  • Describe the background to and context of your entry. Does the entry represent a new effort to establish a reputation in the arts, or does it further an already strong position in the field? 
  • Explain the nature of your excellence or innovation. Have you launched new initiatives? Set up new courses? 
  • Describe the impact of your work. Provide evidence of demonstrable progress or success.
  • Is there a collaborative or interdisciplinary element to your work? If so, please tell us about it. 

*Please note: this award focuses on projects and approaches to the promotion of the arts; there is a separate category covering outstanding research in this field. 

Most Innovative Contribution to Business-University Collaboration

This award will go to the business that can demonstrate the most imaginative and effective partnership with an institution or institutions. The collaboration should have been a game-changer, and led to significant long-term benefits to the business, the university and the economy. Companies of any size will be considered, and we will accept submissions from either universities or the companies themselves, but all entries must be endorsed by the partnering institutions.

  • Explain the background to the collaboration. What were its primary objectives? 
  • Describe the work involved. What challenges arose, and what were the breakthrough approaches? 
  • What did the results reveal and, if replicated elsewhere, what are the potential wider benefits to the economy of such a partnership? 
  • Has the collaboration led to other projects or new avenues of exploration? 

Judges will look for evidence of significant and novel results, highly creative methods, and significant benefits for both partners.


Research Project of the Year: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

This will be awarded to the individual or team at a UK HE institution for innovative arts, humanities or social sciences research that has a far-reaching impact and has caught, or has the potential to catch, the imagination of the public. Submissions should demonstrate the economic, social, cultural or other public benefit of the research, and judges will be looking for entries that have raised the profile of the field in question. 

  • Explain the background to your project. Why was the research necessary and what were its primary objectives? 
  • Describe how the research was funded, what the work involved and what challenges arose. 
  • What did the results reveal and what are the potential wider benefits to society? Has it led to other projects or new avenues of exploration? 

Judges will look for evidence of significant or novel results, creative collaborations and imaginative communication of research results. 

Research Project of the Year: STEM

This will be awarded to the individual or team at a UK HE institution for innovative research in STEM subjects that has a far-reaching impact and has caught, or has the potential to catch, the imagination of the public. Submissions should demonstrate the economic, social, cultural or other public benefit of the research, and judges will be looking for entries that have raised the profile of the field in question.

  • Explain the background to your project. Why was the research necessary and what were its primary objectives? 
  • Describe what the work involved and what challenges arose. 
  • What did the results reveal and what are the potential wider benefits to society? Has it led to other projects or new avenues of exploration? 

Judges will look for evidence of significant or novel results, creative collaborations and imaginative communication of research results.  


Outstanding Contribution to Leadership Development

This award seeks to recognise and reward imaginative schemes that foster leadership development at any level of management - from governors to departments. It is open to institutions, departments or teams in the UK.

  • Explain the development needs that your initiative sought to address. 
  • What form does the support take? Detail how your initiative or initiatives work, and explain why it is innovative and effective. 
  • Describe the impact of your work. Provide evidence of demonstrable progress or success. Include feedback from staff who have benefited from your support. 

Widening Participation or Outreach Initiative of the Year

This award will go to the most imaginative and innovative project that promotes diversity and encourages people from non-traditional backgrounds to enter higher education or extends the reach of the institution to new areas of activity. It is open to individuals, departments or institutions in the UK.

  • Describe the background to and context of your widening-participation or outreach initiative.
  • How was it rolled out?
  • What were the results? Provide evidence of demonstrable progress or success, including impact on student recruitment.
  • How does your initiative differ from standard practice in the sector? Is it transferable as an example of good practice? 

Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community

This award will be given to the individual, team or institution that has made the most imaginative attempt to aid the wider community socially, culturally or economically.

  • Describe the background to and context of your initiative. 
  • Explain the nature of the work and the challenges involved. 
  • Provide evidence of demonstrable progress or success. Show how the project has made a difference to the target community. 
  • Outline how staff and students contributed to the success of the project. 

Technological Innovation of the Year

This award recognises and promotes technological breakthroughs at institutions in either products or services that have the potential to significantly enhance the operations of the commercial or the public sector. It is open to institutions, teams or individuals in the UK.

  • What has your institution done that has had a major impact on innovation and technology? 
  • How it is innovative? 
  • Explain the nature of the work and the challenges involved. 
  • What were the results? Provide evidence of demonstrable progress or success. Detail the market potential as well as the impact and fulfilment of customer/user needs. 
  • What could be the impact if your initiative were adopted more widely? 

Judges will look for evidence of interdisciplinary science as well as collaboration between industry and academia. 

Outstanding Support for Students

This award will be given to the UK institution that helps students to gain the maximum benefit from their study.

  • Describe the background to and context of your approach or initiative.
  • Explain the nature of the support package. Detail how it works and explain why it is innovative and effective.
  • What were the results? Have you attracted more students? How were the measures received by student bodies? Provide evidence of demonstrable progress or success.
  • Outline your principal achievements during the 2015-16 academic year.
  • Summarise what you were trying to achieve, how you set about achieving it and how you plan to monitor the impact of the scheme. 

Most Innovative Teacher of the Year

This award will recognise the academic whose imagination and passion have transformed a course and inspired students. Entries will be accepted from institutions, teachers themselves or their colleagues, but in all cases the institution must support the submission and student testimonies must be included in the supplementary documentation. 

Judges will be looking for:

  • evidence of how the nominee evaluates and develops their professional progress with regard to teaching. 
  • exceptional engagement with students and how this has impacted positively in and beyond their academic role. If applicable, explain how this has had an effect beyond their institution. 
  • evidence of a sustained commitment to advancing and positively influencing the student experience. 

International Collaboration of the Year

This award will recognise exceptional projects carried out jointly between a UK institution and one or more international partners. It is open to individuals or teams in any discipline at a UK institution. Nominations must be endorsed by the applicants’ institution.

  • Explain the background to your project. Why was the research necessary and what were its primary objectives? What was the relevance to all the universities involved in the collaboration? 
  • Describe what challenges arose and how you worked with your international partner/s to overcome them. 
  • Has the collaboration led to other projects or a long-term relationship with your partner institution/s? 
  • Explain how your collaboration has enhanced your institution’s international profile. 
  • Judges will look for evidence of creative collaborations and imaginative communication of research results. 

*Please note that this category focuses on the collaboration rather than the research itself.


Business School of the Year

This award will go to the business school demonstrating the most outstanding overall performance during the 2015-16 academic year. It is open to all business schools in the UK, including those situated within universities and those in the private sector.

  • Provide evidence of exceptional performance against specific indicators such as innovation, teaching, research, student experience, alumni relations and development.
  • Discuss how the school has built partnerships with the business community, and outline the benefits this has brought to both sides. 
  • Describe why you stand out from the crowd in this most competitive of marketplaces.

Judges will be looking for bold and creative strategies and initiatives that have helped the school to improve and flourish in the year in question.

International Impact Award

This award will recognise an institution that has, through the efforts of its staff, students and graduates, had a significant, demonstrable impact on the world at large. This is not about overseas operations or the financial performance of the institution, but the way in which it has delivered programmes, projects and new initiatives outside of the UK across the core areas of research, teaching and knowledge transfer. The judges will also consider the way in which a university’s staff, students and graduates have had a clear positive impact around the world, and the way in which it has enhanced its global reputation. 

  • Explain how your institution has met societal needs internationally, delivered innovation in teaching, research or knowledge transfer, and caught the public eye.
  • How have you ensured that international student recruitment, and outward student mobility, have delivered more than just financial results?
  • How have you engaged international alumni, and how have graduates used their skills and experience to have an impact in countries outside the UK?
  • What else have you done that demonstrates the positive impact your institution, its staff, students and graduates, are having on the world at large?

If you believe your work has enhanced the reputation of UK higher education as a whole, please tell us why.

Outstanding University Entrepreneurship Award

This award recognises an institution that has developed and delivered an exceptional approach to embedding entrepreneurship within its culture and programmes, and which can demonstrate a significant impact at regional, national or international level.

In particular judges will be looking for an institution:

  • whose vision and strategy place enterprise, entrepreneurship and innovation at the heart of the organisation
  • where an environment has been created that encourages entrepreneurial mindsets and behaviours in staff and students, and ensures that ideas and innovation are nurtured and given the support they need to flourish
  • whose approach has affected the nature of entrepreneurial activity among staff, students and alumni and stimulated a strong entrepreneurial impact locally, nationally or internationally 
  • where the strategic approach to entrepreneurship has the potential to influence and improve other institutions’ work in this area, whether directly or because it is transferable in the sector more widely.

If your entry is based on a particular initiative or initiatives, explain how the university as a whole has benefited.  

University of the Year

This will be awarded to an institution that demonstrated exceptional performance during the 2015-16 academic year. It is open to all higher education institutions in the UK.

  • Although research, teaching, access and business performance will be taken into account, the main criterion will be evidence of particular bold, imaginative and innovative initiatives that have advanced the institution's reputation during the 2015-16 academic year. 
  • Judges may request further information, including a visit to each shortlisted institution.