In another record year for entries, we offer our congratulations to all those shortlisted in this year's THE Awards.
If you appear on the list below, please download a pack of assets to help promote your success.
This year's winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on Thursday 7 December 2023, concluding day two of THE Campus Live UK&IE during which we will celebrate the very best in higher education.
Aston Business School
Centre for Growth
Through the Centre for Growth, Aston Business School aims to transform the regional economy by working intensively with high-potential entrepreneurs and SMEs, strengthening leadership and management skills and boosting productivity. Evaluations of the Centre’s programmes have found participants in the Aston Programme for Small Business Growth had, on average, a 38% increase in turnover one year after completing the programme, and 56% reported introducing new or significantly improved products or services.
Aston’s leadership in this area has been influential in the development and delivery of the government’s Help to Grow Management programme, benefiting thousands of small business leaders across the UK. The Centre for Growth works alongside the Centre for Research into Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CREME) to promote genuine inclusive growth. A major report by CREME and NatWest informs our ambitious and practical agenda to realise the potential of UK’s ethnic minority businesses.
University of Huddersfield
Huddersfield Business School (HBS) has societal impact woven into its mission and vision. Located in the economically deprived West Yorkshire region, local communities face unique challenges. Working closely with partners, and drawing on academic excellence demonstrated in REF 2021, HBS’s efforts have created jobs, fostered business and charity growth, and established sustainable community support structures. HBS’s impact was particularly significant in 2021/22 as communities sought to recover from the pandemic.
HBS has developed innovative and targeted interventions. Exploiting European funding, HBS supported over 200 local manufacturing companies to identify new market opportunities and improve efficiency, creating more than 240 jobs. HBS used Help to Grow to support 14 SMEs this year, while an AI boot camp created new opportunities for 72 disadvantaged learners. A new project, 'Empowering Communities in Wakefield District' - built on a student consultancy project with a local charity - obtained UK Community Renewal Funding and created 82 jobs.
King's Business School, King's College London
In only our fourth year as a major new entrant, King’s Business School continued to advance the cause of responsible and sustainable business. This focus was integral to our key achievements during 2021-22, including three pivotal accreditations (AACSB, EQUIS and the CABS Small Business Charter), our top 10 score in the UK Research Excellence Framework and the awarding of competitive funding to establish a multi-disciplinary Centre for Sustainable Business.
During the year, we added new initiatives and expanded existing ones to widen access to the Business School, support our diverse student body and provide hands-on learning through assessments, placements and other opportunities. We developed new postgraduate and executive education programmes focused on issues of sustainable and responsible business, while our research had impact in areas as diverse as addressing modern slavery and the policies underpinning stable financial systems.
Lancaster University Management School
The Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) Entrepreneurs in Residence (EiR) programme is among the oldest and largest EiR networks globally, producing thousands of student interactions and hundreds of annual classroom contact hours. A LUMS Entrepreneur in Residence is an entrepreneur experienced in building, leading and growing ventures, who contributes to our work.
Launched in 2008 with one EiR, we now have over 90 members. The EiR programme audience is three-fold: business owner-managers wanting to maintain strong links with LUMS; students of entrepreneurship and related subjects; and faculty, who enliven teaching with practitioner input and who need research access.
This network has proven longevity, diversity and resilience, which impacts positively on the Lancaster student experience, strengthens our business network, and enhances our national and international reputation. Our model has been shared nationally and internationally, supported policy engagement and is a clear manifestation of our culture as an engaged business school.
Manchester Metropolitan University Business School
Manchester Met Business School has pioneered a place-based approach to teaching, research and knowledge exchange in order to create real impact. Our Institute of Place Management has been pivotal in developing UK high streets and supporting place-makers to recover from the effects of the pandemic through a commission from the government. Our nationally leading small-firm delivery is supporting economic development through creating opportunities for SMEs to grasp the opportunities of digital innovation, as well as upskilling communities, in a major new strategic project.
Oxford Brookes Business School
Oxford Brookes Business School (OBBS) has reinvented itself as a School with a strong sense of purpose as reflected in the epithet #BrookesMeansBusiness. Rebranded and under new leadership, OBBS has experienced a step-change, beginning with the co-creation of a new mission to ‘inspire minds’ and adoption of the vision of ‘transforming futures together’. This proposition acts as the central tenet for a range of positive developments in our core portfolios of education, research and knowledge exchange, and external engagement, that have transformed the School.
At the heart of our renewal, and what makes OBBS stand out, is our people. Our success is premised on a deliberate strategy of empowering colleagues to make a difference and ensure that OBBS becomes a partner of choice for those wishing to deliver change by working together.
University of Birmingham
The University of Birmingham successfully provided the Commonwealth Games' official hockey and squash venues, the official athletics and swimming training venues, and the largest Athletes’ Village, alongside being the official catering partner for the games, serving 195,000 athlete meals. Accommodation hosted over 3,500 athletes, officials, technical officials, sponsors' workforces and facilitated the host broadcast compound and workforce catering. The Commonwealth Games will now adopt this sustainable delivery model for future games. 48 sessions of hockey and squash over 11 competition days attracted 12-15,000 spectators per day on to campus.
The University rose to the challenge, all while maintaining business-as-usual operations including academic research, degree congregations, open days, deliveries, conferences and events, summer camps and construction projects. The University of Birmingham collaborated with over 25 strategic partners around the Queen’s Baton Relay in support of academic collaboration, student recruitment and mobility, and alumni relations.
University of Essex
The mission of international research collaboration RIPE (Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency) is simple – to end hunger worldwide. Researchers are engineering plants to improve photosynthesis - the complex natural process all plants use to convert sunlight into energy - to increase the yields of staple food crops for smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South-east Asia. By equipping farmers around the world with higher-yielding crops, they hope to ensure everyone has access to enough food to lead a healthy, productive life.
With an international reputation for innovation in photosynthetic research for over 30 years, the University of Essex was a key player in RIPE’s inception. So far, RIPE has demonstrated through laboratory, greenhouse and replicated field trial experiments that three of its objectives can significantly increase the productivity of model crops, and it is translating these successes to crops for evaluation. The results will inform crop-specific models to improve crop function.
Street homelessness is an extreme manifestation of social injustice, and our international collaboration set out to address it globally. We played the lead research role in the creation of the Institute of Global Homelessness (IGH), we contributed to the UN’s Resolution calling for the first common measurement of homelessness across member states and informed IGH’s Memorandum of Understanding with UN-Habitat to improve global homelessness data. We integrated research teams across six continents when evaluating IGH’s ‘A Place to Call Home’ initiative in 13 ‘Vanguard Cities’.
This is, we believe, the first global collaboration to gather rigorously comparative qualitative homelessness data. Our transformative findings provided crucial evidence to local and national governments and demonstrated for the first time that comparisons spanning diverse contexts in the Global North and Global South are methodologically possible and invaluable. Our recommendations have influenced new homelessness projects in Uruguay and inspired Greater Manchester to pivot services.
University of Liverpool in collaboration with Arup and the United Nations Development Programme
University of Liverpool: Dr Catherine Queen. Arup: Kim Power; Dr Sara Candiracci; Jess Jones; Spencer Robinson; Rhiannon Williams; Emily Clements. UNDP: Renata Rubian; Ider Batbayar; Rishi Chakraborty
The shocking murder of Sarah Everard in 2021 undermined women’s confidence in our cities but it has also been a powerful catalyst for action. ‘Designing cities that work for women’ is a collaboration between Arup, the University of Liverpool and the United Nations Development Programme. The publication found that designing cities that are responsive to the needs of women creates safer, healthier, fairer and more enriching places for all. It also provides practical, actionable guidance for urban practitioners, city leaders and decision-makers on how to create more gender-equitable cities.
Combining the knowledge and skills from the three diverse partners, and supported by students from the University of Liverpool, research encompassed 50 global locations, 20 countries and six continents. The publication, launched by the UNDP on World Habitat Day 2022, has sparked a truly international conversation reaching audiences in excess of 1 million through conferences and social media.
Sheffield Hallam University in collaboration with the United Nations’ International Organisation for Migration (IOM)
Security Communications and Analysis Network (SCAAN) is a world-leading security platform, used by more than 21,000 staff across four United Nations (UN) agencies working in over 175 countries, to enhance staff security in some of the world’s most volatile environments, including the current conflict in Ukraine.
Developed in partnership by Sheffield Hallam University’s Centre of Excellence in Terrorism, Resilience, Intelligence and Organised Crime (CENTRIC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM – The UN Migration Agency), SCAAN provides safety and security globally and serves as a proven instrument for enhanced and targeted international collaboration between security professionals, developers and the research community.
SCAAN has been used around the world in various critical environments, including: during the World Health Organization’s response to Ebola (2017-18); to support convoy movements in Ukraine (2022); and, more recently, supporting humanitarian interventions following the Turkey-Syria earthquake and staff evacuations during the Sudan crisis (2023).
University of Strathclyde
In South Africa, the University of Strathclyde-led One Ocean Hub – an international programme of research for sustainable development, working to promote fair and inclusive decision-making for a healthy ocean – used theatre-based research to identify ocean-related injustices and increase participation in ocean governance.
A play developed with communities along the KwaZulu-Natal coast, ‘Lalela uLwandle’ (Listen to the Sea), offered decision-makers and stakeholders a facilitated discussion on the basis of the stories of peoples who are usually left behind. Some of these testimonies were used by civil society partners in judicial proceedings against oil and gas companies planning to use seismic surveys that would have affected marine life, as well as local livelihoods and culture. Three court decisions provided unprecedented protection for cultural and participation rights and the marine environment. The play was also performed twice at the United Nations in relation to climate change and small-scale fishers’ human rights.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
Cardiff Metropolitan University’s ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre (FIC) fosters innovation in the food and drink industry, primarily in Wales but also across the UK. Project HELIX (2016-23) is a collaborative project between FIC, the Food Technology Centre in Anglesey and the Food Centre Wales, Ceredigion. In 2021-22, the FIC, via Project HELIX: delivered financial impact of £30m; developed and/or supported development of 176 new products; supported 6 new business start-ups; created 76 new jobs; and facilitated access to 44 new business markets.
Participating companies included market leaders Puffin Produce Ltd - Wales’ largest produce supplier - and Just Love Food. Project HELIX delivers knowledge transfer to micro companies and SMEs at an affordable cost. Businesses are supported to address industry challenges including food safety, waste reduction and nutritional profiling of food. To support innovation, FIC facilities include 4 pilot food factories, 2 consumer science kitchens and a perceptual experience laboratory.
Of the 50 million tonnes of electronic waste generated globally each year, 15% to 20% is formally recycled, with e-waste being routinely shipped overseas for disposal. Network 2 Supplies (N2S) partnered with Coventry University to develop an innovative solution to recover the precious metals within populated printed circuit boards (PCBs) through bioleaching techniques.
The knowledge exchange validated bioleaching as a bio-recovery method of the metals from PCBs into solution and the application of electrochemical methods to fully recover the metals selectively from the solution. To transfer and embed the knowledge to N2S, a microbiology laboratory was developed at its premises.
This is the first industrial application of bioleaching to the bio-recovery of metals from e-waste, transforming the commercial capacity of N2S. The exchange has led to the development of a newly formed company, Bioscope Technologies, to accelerate the commercialisation of the approach and increase the scale of materials being processed.
Dublin City University
The DCU STEM Teaching Internship (STInt) programme has flourished with 2021/22 being the most successful year to date. The programme was started when DCU identified a learning gap for teachers. Prospective teachers of STEM subjects expressed a need for industry experience to allow them to add value to their in-class teaching, while industry displayed an interest in collaborating with prospective future educators.
The programme allows future and existing STEM teachers the opportunity to undertake 12-week paid summer internships with over 40 partner companies across various STEM industries. A total of 61 interns participated in summer 2021/22. To date, the programme has facilitated 177 internships. It is expected that over 80 interns will participate in 2023, with an additional six Irish universities signing on to the initiative alongside pioneers DCU. Skillnet Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland committed an additional €1m in funding for the programme from 2023.
University of Dundee
The University of Dundee team has designed, developed and delivered a world-leading approach to the use of Virtual Reality in forensic science practice. Through collaboration with the Danish and Scottish police and forensic practitioners, new approaches to training and education, and the potential for VR to revolutionise operational practice, have been explored and prototyped.
This has facilitated new opportunities for providing realistic ‘on-scene’ training as well as providing reassurance to practitioners on how advances in technology can be safely implemented in practice. The collaboration has also led to new partnerships and engagement with legal practitioners and the public, exploring how technology can be harnessed to develop accessible and fit-for-purpose tools that improve justice outcomes across society.
Lancaster University has played a lead role in building innovative research and knowledge exchange capacity for the co-creation of circular waste-to-energy systems in 14 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
As co-created community solutions, anaerobic digestors (AD) can deliver integrated solutions for waste management, power, food and soil security, and improve health in informal communities. Community initiatives piloted in educational facilities in Ghana and Nigeria since June 2021 - combined with innovative use of drama to inform and engage young people - have resulted in sustainable behavioural change. An AD demonstration ‘Show Lab’ constructed in the Ghanaian school opened in September 2021 and provides a practical educational facility for the next generation of change-agents.
Ghanaian Government ministries and the African Scientific, Research and Innovation Council are highlighting the initiative as a credible option for management of waste, bioenergy and soil/food security to ensure Ghana becomes a beacon of good practice in Africa.
Northern Accelerator (the universities of Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland, Teesside and York)
Northern Accelerator is a collaboration between Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland, Teesside and York universities. Funded through Research England’s CCF and ERDF, Northern Accelerator was designed to address gaps in the regional innovation ecosystem. It has transformed commercialisation of research in the North-east, making a significant economic contribution and creating businesses with considerable potential for social impact.
Northern Accelerator has created 47 businesses and over 650 people are employed in partners’ spin-offs. In the 21/22 academic year, we created six spin-offs (ahead of schedule against a 2-year programme target of 10). We have continued to expand and innovate and in the last academic year have introduced new elements to help ensure the ongoing success of spin-offs. We introduced scale-up grant funding for established spin-offs (helping them secure growth in jobs and/or turnover) and, recognising the different needs of those businesses less advanced in their development, bespoke consultancy support for early-stage spin-offs.
Cheryl Allsop, University of South Wales
Dr Cheryl Allsop is a University of South Wales academic specialising in criminology and criminal justice, and a HEA Fellow. Her current research is on missing people, no-body murders and unidentified found human remains and her published work includes ‘Cold Case Reviews: DNA, Detective Work and Unsolved Major Crimes’ (Oxford University Press).
She brought her research expertise into the classroom to support student development and positive outcomes with the establishment of the Cold Case Unit. The unit was developed as a practical way for students from different disciplines, community volunteers and investigative experts to work together on cold case investigations to help families and victims who, otherwise, may not get the focused investigative help they need.
This innovative, immersive approach to learning and teaching aligns with the USW 2030 curriculum design principles of embedding problem- and challenge-based learning in all our programmes to develop key graduate attributes.
Bill Buchanan, Edinburgh Napier University
Bill Buchanan is a professor at Edinburgh Napier University and a Principal Fellow of the HEA. In teaching, Bill has won six awards for Best Lecturer in his School, including in 2019, 2020 and 2023. His main teaching focuses on cybersecurity and cryptography and, for this, he is the sole author of one of the most extensive cryptography sites in the world, which is used by his own students and many other students around the world.
Overall, Bill tries to explain complex areas of cryptography in an engaging and practical way, while covering core academic principles. He also uses many methods to engage students, including video presentations and fun challenges and was the co-creator of the Christmas Schools Cyber lecture in Scotland, which he still leads every year.
Esyin Chew, Cardiff Metropolitan University
Esyin Chew thoughtfully blends AI-robots and personalised response technology in education and mentorship for underprivileged groups. She uses her healthcare-educational robotics research to inform innovative teaching, preparing students constructively for the holistic social-technical and ethical skillset they need for the fourth industrial revolution.
Esyin facilitates students to design social robots for social media analytics teaching, maths and languages including English, Welsh, Malay and Chinese, and makes serious topics such as programming, social media harvesting and propaganda, engaging. She leads students at all levels to step out from traditional teaching labs to learn about real-life industrial problems and practices, other universities’ robotics work and the public impact, challenges and ethical principles of AI.
Esyin enabled many students from diverse backgrounds at Cardiff Met to go beyond the university’s traditional classroom learning for widening accessibility, delivered over 100 AI robotics workshops, and inspired over 4,000 girls in both primary and high schools.
Emilie Edwards, Middlesex University
An autistic senior Midwifery lecturer, Emilie Edwards is a strong advocate and role model for neurodivergent students at Middlesex University. With the expansion of blended learning, Emilie has led on creating an accessible, cohesive and interactive virtual learning environment across the Midwifery programme, while supporting colleagues to design creative and engaging teaching materials. Emilie has taken imaginative approaches to deliver accessible teaching, and successfully tackled barriers to learning by introducing the use of serious gaming, among other tools, in teaching clinical communication skills.
96 students played the game during a 2021/22 Autumn term compulsory module. 37 students completed the feedback survey: 89% said the game would help them in clinical practice and 84% would like to use this technology more. Crucially, the students reported that the game allowed them to develop decision-making in complex scenarios, from a safe and non-judgmental environment. Emilie’s work has won Awards nationally and within Middlesex.
Paul Giladi, Manchester Metropolitan University
I lead through practice, inviting collaboration and have, in a very short space of time, built a strong and robust reputation at Manchester Met for uplifting the practices of colleagues and positively impacting on the student journey. I have created novel and exciting spaces that enable rich ways of enhancing the student experience and fostering strategic collaborations across the university in the civic space.
I have forged an already strong international reputation as not only an acclaimed philosophy researcher, but also as an academic practitioner who uses research expertise in critical social epistemology (specifically the intersection of Frankfurt School recognition theory with theories of epistemic injustice and epistemic oppression) to make significant and progressive changes to the education and pedagogical provision of both the subject area of philosophy and the Department of History, Politics and Philosophy.
Louise Taylor, The Open University
Senior lecturer Louise Taylor has transformed the introductory module of The Open University’s LLB degree resulting in increased overall attainment, retention and progression with students reporting better engagement and overall satisfaction.
Louise’s role in championing new and improved methods was driven by her dedication to improve the student experience. Louise’s innovative approach focused on three key strands: teaching core criminal law concepts through real-life case studies; developing a new sensitivity guidance package; and working as part of a team to pilot a peer-mentoring scheme. Several of these initiatives have been the catalyst for change across the rest of the course, wider OU projects and have influenced plans at other institutions.
Louise has also had a positive influence beyond the institution through her contribution to several blogs and journals that share the benefits of peer mentoring and development of an exciting new animation for OpenLearn.
Rebecca Warren, University of Essex
According to her students, Dr Rebecca Warren is “an extraordinary teacher who possesses a spark” and her “out-of-the-box” teaching, which introduces them to the real world, has a "life changing impact”. No stranger to how a transformative education can change someone’s life – Rebecca thanks her first-hand experience of this for changing the trajectory of her own life – she is driven by a desire to offer the same opportunity to today’s students. She is dedicated to challenging traditional perceptions of what the role of an academic should be, as well as providing a transformative education.
She has developed a unique course for university students, which allows them to develop real-life campaigns in the community – an experience for which her students are grateful. She isn’t afraid to push the boundaries of education and research. She is passionate about making change, and empowering others to do the same.
Edinburgh Napier University
The Edinburgh Napier University Lab Plastics Recycling Project is a pioneering recycling method for previously contaminated lab plastics. To date, over 3,200kg of plastic has been re-routed from general waste to dry mixed recycling. To our knowledge, the scope and extent of this project represents a unique environmental leadership initiative that has led to a paradigm shift across the higher education sector and beyond.
Sharing their experiences and motivating others is a key aspect of Lisa and Jo’s work, and interest in their plastics recycling method has grown to include laboratories at King’s College London, the Institute for Cancer Research and the National Oceanography Centre, in addition to numerous other organisations across the UK. Lisa and Jo are determined to influence the development of the necessary markets, infrastructure and global health and safety policies to stop the broad-scale incineration of lab plastics and safely introduce them to a circular economy.
University of Exeter
The University of Exeter is a global leader on environment and climate research with over 1,500 people now leading green solutions. In 2021, the Reuters Hot List placed 5 Exeter climate scientists in the top 21 most influential in the world, and in 2021-22, Exeter made a significant step change in the way it deployed this expertise to partner with organisations on solutions and influence action through the ‘Green Futures’ initiative.
Green Futures united Exeter’s wide-ranging expertise to connect with global leaders, policymakers and businesses at events like the G7 in Cornwall, COP26 in Glasgow, the World Economic Forum and Glastonbury Festival. Between June 2021 and June 2022, the Green Futures social media campaign was seen over 40 million times, Exeter achieved over 15,000 international media articles and the work led to new business partnerships on solutions making a practical difference to company operations, policies and leadership.
Loughborough University’s Dr Madeleine Orr’s dedication to raising awareness of environmental issues in sport has been truly groundbreaking. She has led numerous projects that have had positive impacts globally. Dr Orr was the lead researcher on the report titled ‘Slippery Slopes: How Climate Change is Threatening the 2022 Winter Olympics’, which received much acclaim.
Dr Orr was also the driving force behind the ‘Sports for Nature’ report, delivered in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The paper was officially launched at Loughborough University’s inaugural Sustainability in Sports Summit, held at Lord’s Cricket Ground, London.
Further to these landmark research papers and events, Dr Orr continues to lead the way in teaching. She has been a leading figure in the design and development of Loughborough University London’s Sustainable Sport Business (MSc) programme – the first of its kind globally.
University of Portsmouth
Revolution Plastics at the University of Portsmouth has created a world-leading plastics-focused research, innovation and teaching community to urgently transform our understanding of the global plastics crisis through inclusive, solutions-focused research and innovation to support the transition to a sustainable plastics future.
From developing plastic-digesting enzymes and creating sustainable fashion, to combating microplastics, we are putting our research into practice, and addressing plastics pollution. We are generating a globally relevant community of plastics researchers and contributing to the sustainable transition of the city of Portsmouth as a prototype and showcase for a sustainable plastics future.
University of Reading
The University of Reading is committed to being a leader in environmental sustainability. Renowned for our world-class research in climate change and its impacts, we strive to maximise the impact of our influence to achieve meaningful change, locally, nationally and internationally.
In 2021/22, our work was honoured with a Queen’s Anniversary Prize, recognising world-leading research, teaching, stewardship and outreach on climate change; we ranked 4th in the People & Planet League; and our ambitious plan to become Net Zero Carbon by 2030 was named best in the UK.
Partnership for action is the cornerstone of our approach. We worked across governments, industry and academia, with the private and not-for-profit sectors and the public, to drive change. We engaged diverse audiences and listened, especially to young people, and drove collaboration to ensure our education sector is equipped to empower future generations with the necessary knowledge and skills to face their future.
Royal Northern College of Music
In 2021/22, the RNCM was the only Higher Education Institution to participate in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. Through this programme, working in partnership with the GMCA and funded by Salix, the Conservatoire delivered a £6.45 million programme of works to decarbonise our building and radically reduce our carbon impact.
These works will generate an estimated saving of 389 tonnes of carbon per annum, lowering our annual usage by 41%, and is supported by the development of a Heat Decarbonisation Plan, which outlines a strategy to deliver a pathway to zero carbon. Our journey has had a positive beginning, with kWh savings for onsite gas use for 2022/23 exceeding 50%, with this figure expected to increase by the end of July 2023.
Anglia Ruskin University (ARU)
ARU’s Students at the Heart of Knowledge Exchange (SHoKE) programme delivers transformational benefits to students from diverse backgrounds, by giving them the opportunity to make a personal impact on complex social challenges. Challenges are issued by ARU’s SHoKE partners, including Cambridgeshire County Council, Essex County Council, Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner and charities.
Around 87% of ARU students have at least one characteristic of disadvantage and the SHoKE programme has been designed with these students in mind. Challenges such as women’s safety, unconscious bias, engaging disabled people in volunteering, and prejudice-related incidents in early years education, resonate with their lived experience, and create an extraordinary level of voluntary engagement with the programme.
SHoKE's approach is instead to encourage diversity by removing all barriers to participation, including ensuring that participation remains a voluntary activity, that diverse needs are identified and understood, and that there is no possibility of failure.
University of Bradford
Graduate Workforce Bradford (GWB), a three-year OfS-funded Challenge Competition project, was designed to address evidenced differential outcomes for Bradford’s ethnic minority graduates, who were significantly less likely to progress to a graduate job than their white peers. GWB used an evidence-based approach to tackle a real-world problem by implementing specific, measurable and realistic goals. It far surpassed its goals: for example, a challenging target for ethnic minority graduate progression to high-skilled employment was exceeded by +70%.
It has left a tangible legacy that continues to influence workplace practices and employment models today. It has also helped to start a conversation about employment inequalities linked to race, and challenge long-held taboos. GWB’s impact and legacy demonstrates the power of partnership, delivering sustainable models of practice, contributing to ‘decolonising’ the careers and employment landscape, embedding inclusive recruitment practices, and influencing policymakers/commissioners of services for businesses and graduates.
Buckinghamshire New University
Many universities purport that EDI is key to their values when, in reality, their key performance indicators extend only to improving gender pay gaps (a statutory requirement) and seeking better representation among senior leaders. At BNU, the Driscoll model of reflection underpins our EDI work, ensuring that all our interventions are relevant and have impact. We ask ourselves: ‘what, so what, now what?’ to remain focused and accountable.
BNU is proud to have led the sector in the past two years including: developing a definition for Islamophobia; taking a stand to prevent the misuse of NDAs to silence victims; extending benefits for parents to 18 weeks' full pay; and introducing the Real Living Wage for all staff and student employees. We have made real progress, driven by advocating and embedding inclusivity as part of business-as-usual at BNU, and we are excited about all we are yet to achieve.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
Developed by Cardiff Metropolitan University in 2021, Diversity and Anti-Racist Professional Learning (DARPL) is a national professional learning model that comprises anti-racist professional learning provision and resources that support the implementation of the Anti-Racist Wales Action Plan set out by the Welsh Government. DARPL is highly progressive and the key national provider in Wales that rethinks anti-racist professional leadership in education.
DARPL delivers anti-racist professional learning through a range of bilingual resources – research, a virtual campus, video clips, presentations, blogs, regional and national events focused on shared professional learning and lived experiences. DARPL’s work is far-reaching, having a growing impact across the whole of Wales, and holds Cardiff Met at the heart of progressive national racial equity conversations and step-change. To date, DARPL has provided direct synchronous professional development to over 8,000 education, childcare, playwork and early years professionals as well as over 13,500 users of asynchronous resources on DARPL.
University of Central Lancashire
The Creative Mental Health Framework (CMHF) was delivered by students, for students. It harnessed creativity to raise the profile and reduce barriers and stigma around mental health and the LGBTQ+ community through teamwork as well as dynamic and engaging activities. Partnering with Tate Liverpool, Growing Resilience, Lancashire Mind and Lancashire LGBT, the CMHF delivered the following outputs:
- Produced and delivered peer-to-peer mental health (MH) training for 300 MH/LGBT+ students who champion diversity
- Harnessed creative practice to deliver intersectional MH and LGBT+ experiences
- Trained Mental Health ambassadors to educate and support LGBT+ challenges
- Worked with media students and staff to produce Sky TV programmes and podcasts
- Raised awareness beyond the student campus through an interdisciplinary approach and producing a Sky TV series with a potential reach of 8 million viewers across the life of the framework
University of West London
The University of West London is a diverse and inclusive HEI: 40% of staff are from BAME backgrounds (including 42% of associate professors and 25% of professors); 57% of staff are female and 42% of those from BAME groups. Ranked 13th for social inclusion, 60% of our students are from BAME groups, 56% aged 21 or over on entry, and 51% from multiple areas of deprivation.
In AY2021-2022, 150 students volunteered to be Peer Mentors and 161 students requested the support of a Peer Mentor. UWL set out to reduce the awarding gap for students from BAME communities to 12% by 2023. 74% of the students were from such communities and 71% of the students that came from a Black background graduated with a Good Degree, leading to gaps of 8.9% and 11.4% respectively. UWL was awarded an Athena Swan Bronze Award for gender equality in late 2022.
Anglia Ruskin University (ARU)
ARU Peterborough is a new kind of university, designed from the ground up to match the needs of local students, employers and the regional economy. Its creation realises a 40-year ambition to create a university in and for Peterborough, a higher education ‘cold spot’.
True to its mission to transform lives through innovative, inclusive and entrepreneurial education and research, Anglia Ruskin University and partners Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and Peterborough City Council have worked at pace to deliver a new university model that can offer the right facilities and courses to increase opportunities for young people, and boost skills across the region.
Milestones achieved in 2021-22 include completion of University House, ARU Peterborough’s first teaching building, construction of a £16.7m Research and Development Centre, and funding approved for a second teaching building, incorporating a Living Lab, a publicly accessible science resource at the heart of Peterborough’s new University Quarter.
Durham University (DU) staff: Professor Chris Gerrard (DU Archaeology); Professor Chris Brown (now Warwick Education). The Auckland Project: John Castling (The Auckland Project and DU). King James I Academy: Dave Blackburn (King James I Academy); Simon Coleman (King James I Academy, headmaster). Project Officers: Dr Caroline Smith (DU Project Officer, now Portable Antiquities Scheme). Durham University (DU) students: Megan Olshefski (DU PGR); Xavier Roberts (DU UG); Annabelle Scullion (DU Foundation). Volunteers: Stephen Hutchinson; Maisie Robinson
The Bishop Big Dig was a little project with a big ambition – to use an innovative archaeology ‘intervention’ to restore people’s mental health and sense of belonging. Durham University’s School of Education (Brown) teamed up with the Department of Archaeology (Gerrard) to partner with The Auckland Project, a regeneration charity committed to social and economic change, and 13-14-year-old students from the King James I Academy in the town of Bishop Auckland, County Durham.
During 2022, the team dug 100+ test pits in local gardens and fields, finding thousands of objects ranging from the bizarre to the mundane. Our participants felt that their mental health showed clear improvements, many felt less lonely and their physical health was better. Their sense of belonging and pride in their local town was re-energised too as they came to understand it more, with greater confidence to pursue independent learning.
University of Exeter
King's College London
Parent Power has become a creative and impactful way to engage local communities through a strong partnership between university, civic organisations, residents and neighbours. Parent Power is real. King’s and Citizens UK established Parent Power to address educational inequality and social justice issues in our local boroughs.
The key to this was empowering and taking the lead from parents. Parents trained in community-organising techniques have identified actions and campaigns to bring about change in, with and for our local communities. This has included a social mobility strategy for Lambeth to improve educational outcomes and university access, community co-creation of mental health support with chairs of local Mental Health Trusts and Integrated Care Boards, actions to address child citizenship and immigration status, and adoption of the Real Living Wage across London. Following this lead, several new Parent Power chapters have been launched across the country with national partners.
University of London
The University of London has taken on a unique role in creating partnerships between the city’s universities and pan-London government through the London Research and Policy Partnership (LRaPP) and the London Anchors Institution Network (LAIN).
LRaPP promotes joint working between London government and the academic research community. It is led by the University of London, Greater London Authority (GLA) and London councils, on the understanding that close partnership working helps both researchers and policymakers.
LAIN brings together London’s major employers, purchasers, investors and landowners. The University of London was an initial signatory to the charter, and Vice-Chancellor Professor Wendy Thomson is co-chair of the Steering Group, along with London’s NHS Executive Director. Working groups have been established to enable LAIN’s four priorities: ensuring London achieves Net Zero targets; supporting small and medium (SME) businesses; improving mentoring for young people; and developing a workforce that reflects London’s diverse communities.
University of Plymouth
At a time of widespread talk of a crisis in access to NHS dentistry, the University of Plymouth is filling a critical need within its community. In 2021/22, its students saw almost 5,600 patients across Devon and Cornwall. Over the course of 28,000 appointments, 418 dental and hygiene therapy students were able to deliver crucial primary care to many of the more vulnerable members of society, including those experiencing homelessness and other forms of social exclusion. In return, 97% of those patients said they would recommend the services to their own friends and family.
This work furthers the university’s mission of being embedded within the local community, and having the community embedded within its dental programmes. It continues to work side-by-side with organisations across the South West and beyond to combine first-rate dental training and experience with levels of care and advice required in these challenging times.
Brunel University London
Emily Arnold, Entrepreneur Hub Officer; Jonathan Bainbridge, Director of the Professional Development Centre at Brunel University; Emmy Botterman, Entrepreneurship and Employability Consultant; Mike Herman, Entrepreneurship and Employability Consultant; Farida Danmeri, Entrepreneurship and Employability Consultant; Professor Hua Dong, Head of Brunel Design School; Simona Janssen, Brunel Plus & Ready Programme Manager; Professor Geoff Rodgers, Pro Vice Chancellor - Enterprise and Employment; Ryan Smith, Project Manager – Design Plus & Design Factory & Placement Module Leader for Design
Brunel University is a pioneering institution that instils entrepreneurship and innovation into its core to ensure that all students develop the entrepreneurial mindset and skills needed to succeed in the future, regardless of their background.
The Entrepreneur Hub provides comprehensive support, advice and guidance to students and recent graduates and helps develop the entrepreneurial and transferable skills they need to succeed in their future workplaces. The Entrepreneur Hub actively assists academics with embedding entrepreneurship in the curriculum.
Our academic and service departments embrace an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach that caters to the unique needs and objectives of our community. Extra-curricular enterprise and entrepreneurship activities are recognised under our Brunel Plus award. The social impact innovation READY programme is delivered in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Our Design Factory challenges enable students to work across national and professional discipline boundaries to develop innovation solutions to real-world problems.
University of Edinburgh
Entrepreneurship is at the heart of our mission to make the world a better place. We aim to inspire and equip every student and staff member with the entrepreneurial skills to solve the world's biggest challenges. Our strategy embeds our values of diversity, inclusiveness and sustainability throughout this pathway and builds cross-University and regional activity to support the whole entrepreneurial journey. Enterprise is delivered by Edinburgh Innovations, the University’s commercialisation service, and through our Data-Driven Innovation and Data-Driven Entrepreneurship Programmes.
Our energetic Enterprise teams are the engines of our success and have created the new Startup Community Platform to provide further connections, mentoring and founder support. Our Data-Driven Hubs and our world-class Edinburgh BioQuarter provide even more opportunity for direct links to industry collaborations, and space for young enterprises to grow in a connected network. Our entrepreneurial ecosystem enables our staff and students to do the hard work; to begin.
Kingston University has an established track record as a sector-leader in entrepreneurship. Our highly successful enterprise education programme engages several thousand students each year, building a pipeline of entrepreneurial students who go on to start a business. More than a fifth of the entire student body across all four faculties benefited from enterprise initiatives in 2021-22 and this long-term commitment has informed the development of our institutional Town House Strategy.
The University launched a major campaign in 2021 highlighting the importance of future skills in driving a thriving economy, with core entrepreneurial skills now being embedded across the curriculum, with future skills modules in every course. The impact of our work is exemplified by our exceptionally high number of graduate start-ups. In seven of the past eight years, Kingston University has been ranked top or second nationally for graduate start-ups in the Higher Education - Business and Community Interaction Survey.
London South Bank University
LSBU was founded to address challenges in the most deprived communities of London and has a proud heritage of providing opportunities through technical education. The Enterprising Futures team continues this mission, driving LSBU’s entrepreneurial strategy through empowerment, experimentation and elevation. This has created 40+ startups and supported 3,000+ students to develop entrepreneurial skills for graduate-level careers.
Entrepreneurship is integrated into LSBU's academic structure, with each school having an Associate Dean for Enterprise and Research, an Academic Lead for Curricular Entrepreneurship and a Student Enterprise Champion. The Enterprising Academic Forum develops impactful pedagogies for entrepreneurial education. Our student-led services include the South Bank Collective, Business Solutions Centre, Legal Advice Clinic and Solutionise.
LSBU extends start-up support to the local community, delivering 8,000+ learner hours to aspiring entrepreneurs, awarding £50,000 in seed funding and offering guidance from six Entrepreneurs-in-Residence. Our international collaborations are celebrated, fostering innovation and knowledge-share both locally and globally.
Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM)
Alongside training as world-leading performers, composers, songwriters and producers, Royal Northern College of Music students spend over 30% of their degrees learning entrepreneurial skills – including finance, project management, networking, idea generation and pitching. The RNCM was awarded £902,153 to lead the StART Entrepreneurship Project across three specialist arts HEIs.
The RNCM has entrepreneurship at its core; in the year 2021-22, the RNCM ran a two-day entrepreneurship bootcamp for students and alumni, published three peer-reviewed papers on entrepreneurship, and gave eight invited and keynote talks, and eight conference presentations. All staff are invited to submit new ideas to the Teaching and Learning Award Scheme, and recognised for their innovation through the Principal’s Recognition Scheme. In 2021-22, the RNCM was invited to share best practice and research with other HE institutions and industry nationally and internationally, and was shortlisted for a Triple E Award for Entrepreneurial University of the Year.
Enterprise and entrepreneurship are at the heart of innovation at Swansea University. As a research-intensive institution, our vision is to be a leading global university that is renowned for empowering individuals to create a positive change in the world through enterprise and innovation partnerships, creating a lasting legacy of impact and added value that enriches the lives of individuals and communities. We have created a vibrant culture of enterprise where every student, staff member and alumnus can engage in enterprise activity, remaining true to our founders’ ambitions in 1920 of placing entrepreneurship at the heart of our institution.
- Enterprise is championed by Senior Leadership and over 150 staff
- 44 modules embed Entrepreneurship
- In the past 5 years, 232 student businesses have been created and £196,755.93 raised through private sector investment and awarded to our Student Start-ups
- Swansea region recognised in top 4 places in the UK for Start-ups
Cranfield University has a unique estate. Situated on a former RAF site, we are the only university in Europe with an operational airport. Much of our campus was built when sustainability was bottom of the agenda; improving this while honouring our history presents immense challenges. We are making huge strides in reimagining buildings that are vastly inefficient. Since 2020, the estates team have been working tirelessly to redevelop the estate, future-proofing its energy supply and helping protect against long-term price increases.
In 2022, to illustrate our ongoing commitment to sustainability, we signed the Sustainable Development Goals Accord as part of our mission to achieve net zero by 2030. In the past three years, we’ve secured £20m funding to make this goal a reality. Our mission is to bring two very opposing concepts, aviation and sustainability, together to create a campus that both honours tradition and protects the environment.
Lancaster University Estates Team work passionately as One Team to create a sustainable world-class institution and make campus an inspiring place to be. Paving pioneering pathways, the innovative Estate Strategy supports delivery of University sustainability targets, challenges sector-space-use culture, changes behaviour and capitalises opportunities to reuse/repurpose space and reduce carbon.
Sustainability is a collaborative team goal: £5.5m savings achieved; carbon savings of 1,219 tCO2e through repurposing and refurbishing existing space using in-house project management and architectural expertise; Professional Services space saving of 3000m2; one of two universities awarded EcoSmart Greengage Platinum Award; 7,000 trees planted on campus; and 11 consecutive Green Flag Awards.
LU generates 15% of its annual campus energy from its wind turbine, investing back £180k into Community Benefits Fund over the past 9 years, supporting local community sustainability projects. Annually, the fund allocates up to £20k to Lancaster District-based not-for-profit organisations, to support sustainability projects.
'Creating Better Futures Together' strategy
Loughborough University’s ‘Creating Better Futures Together’ strategy identifies Climate Change and Net Zero as a key institutional theme underpinned by an ambitious NetZero target of 2035 for scope 1&2 emissions. The large campus is used as a ‘living laboratory’ for research and the Estates team collaborated with academic experts in Renewable Energy Systems Technology and students to deliver the University’s first building designed to Passivhaus standards.
Regarded as the most challenging in terms of energy efficiency, the Estates team demonstrated innovation and excellence and exceeded Passivhaus requirements by adding solar panels, triple glazing, solar shading and a highly efficient heat and ventilation system. Pavilion 4’s Passivhaus accreditation sets the benchmark for quality and low-energy building efficiency across the estate and lessons learned from its construction and operation will inform the delivery and retrofit of sustainable buildings across the campus to achieve our zero-carbon target.
Manchester Metropolitan University
Estates Facilities and Capital Development team
Manchester Metropolitan University’s Estates Facilities and Capital Development team is transforming a 55-hectare, city-centre estate, while setting sector-leading sustainability standards for construction and day-to-day operations.
In 2021-22, they completed construction or refurbishment of four major buildings, topped out a £117m Science and Engineering faculty, revamped catering and embarked on a new 10-year, £1 billion masterplan. That’s alongside 24/7 support to 42,000 people, achieving the Customer Service Excellence standard. Highlights included the new Institute of Sport building, repurposing a 1970s Students’ Union to save 1,000 tonnes CO2e, and reducing costs to reinvest in research equipment. They also finished refurbishing the Grade II listed Ormond building, and opened Archway Halls, providing 492 ensuite student rooms.
They were also pivotal in our ranking as Britain’s most sustainable university by People and Planet, completing the switch to an electric-only vehicle fleet, and reducing scope 1 and 2 emissions by 26% versus 2018/19.
University of Salford
The University of Salford’s innovative £2.5 billion Crescent and University District Masterplan is powered by our hard-working Estates Team, working in partnership with Salford City Council. The 240-acre major regeneration scheme aims to drive economic and social prosperity for Salford over the 20-year life of the programme.
Through the 2021-22 academic year, the team worked tirelessly to progress and launch major campus developments: our Science, Engineering and Environment Building; Energy House 2.0; North of England Robotics Innovation Centre; and Greater Manchester Institute of Technology. The team also received numerous awards and accolades for sustainability, in line with our commitment to becoming net carbon zero by 2038.
York St John University
From award-winning sustainable construction, to the preservation of endangered species, the Estates Directorate team at York St John University undertook an expansive range of initiatives in the 2021/22 year which championed environmental sustainability and biodiversity.
They have worked collaboratively with students and staff, alongside external partners, to promote responsible and sector-leading estates practices which support happy and healthy communities.
Since appointing its first dedicated Library team in 2020, Arden’s Library Service has been built from the ground up around an inclusive strategy focused on removing barriers to education. The Library service has developed a sector-leading digital-first content offer that provides full access to 100% of reading materials, removing financial and physical barriers to learning.
Using a uniquely collaborative and deeply embedded approach, the Library team have developed an innovative way of embedding permalinks directly into the VLE using accessible structured reading lists to ensure that resources are provided in context with the student’s other course materials. In addition to providing embedded course materials, the Library transformed a narrow selection of eBooks into a cutting-edge digital-only Library Portal designed in collaboration with a UX designer and students.
The relevance and availability of resources have been improved through collaboration between Library Service members and Module Authors from the earliest stage possible.
Edge Hill University
The archive at Edge Hill is an important link between the University, researchers and the wider community. Its rapid development has been driven by effective collaboration through the strategic research group, Research Catalyst, which has ensured the archive is supporting community engagement in new, impactful ways.
Exciting digital assets have provided a window into the collection for the community, with pieces ranging from research into a 19th century EHU student who became a groundbreaking education reformer, to an animated film based on the Bradshaw WW1 diary. Launching a community competition to complement the project has engaged new audiences beyond the University to make the archive more accessible.
These initiatives demonstrate how a library archive can cultivate new, exciting ways of considering and understanding shared histories, as well as inspiring people to find connections with the past, present and future.
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
In June 2022, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) was ranked 1st in the world for publishing open access research in the 2022 CWTS Leiden Ranking. A key factor in this achievement was the work of Library, Archive & Open Research Services (LAORS):
- A dedicated awareness-raising campaign across LSHTM to support researchers in navigating the post-Plan S open access publishing landscape
- Workshops and training on OA publishing, both online and in-person, and 1:2:1 meetings with academic staff and administrators to answer specific questions on funder policies
- Collaborating with LSHTM’s Strategic Research Office and Deputy Director in shaping communications on open access for the REF, and checking the accuracy and compliance of research outputs for LSHTM’s submission
- Development and launch of LSHTM’s institutional open access press, with an emphasis on accessibility and inclusivity for both authors and researchers, and creation of LSHTM’s Open Science Working Group
London South Bank University
In 2021/22, LSBU launched a new student customer service model which introduced a single first-line Customer Services Team within the Library and Learning Resource (LLR) department. The new Customer Services Team provide a 7-day-a-week service, both on-campus and online, acting as the first point of contact for all student enquiries.
The new customer service model has improved student enquiry management and access to information through a tiered approach moving from self-service, centrally curated information to first-, second- and third-line specialists, all overseen by the LLR Team and managed through an institution-wide CRM. Student referrals are now recorded centrally so we never lose sight of the student and can ensure that all enquiries are resolved.
Education Outreach Team: Sara Bird; Gillian Johnson; Lauren Aspery; Jackie Dunn. Academic Skills Team: particularly Liv Jonassen. Digital Library Services Team: especially Maciej Dudek and Stephen Harding
The transition from school to University is an important landmark in the lives of many young people. While for some, the move is relatively smooth, others find adapting to higher education quite challenging, especially when it comes to developing the skills needed to succeed as independent learners. These difficulties have been further exacerbated by the significant disruption to learning caused by Covid-19.
Inspired by the University’s commitment to work in partnership with students and colleagues to deliver an outstanding educational experience, in autumn 2021, Newcastle University Library secured a grant from the University’s Education Development Fund for 'Bridging the Gap', a project to review existing learning resources and work with students and colleagues to co-create new ones to support a successful transition into University studies. The initial set of resources have been warmly received by students and staff and further investment has been secured to build on this success.
Newman University's Library is a small team with a big reach. We built on our Covid successes by seizing the transformative moment during pandemic recovery to make major changes at a time of flux. We rode the wave of sector-wide disruption to deliver radical improvements that took our service users forward positively and seamlessly, moving into a new normal without missing the old.
As a very small library, and without dedicated institutional procurement support, we secured and implemented a new Library Management System, reviewed and updated our policies and revised our web and digital presence to provide a transformed service for our hard-pressed students during their transition back to Campus life. Building great relationships with internal colleagues and external suppliers and working closely with students and staff, we have increased our reach and helped our students face a new environment with the facilities they need to succeed.
London Metropolitan University
The dedication and expertise of our MarComms team have been instrumental in successfully overseeing the launch of major strategic initiatives, managing stakeholder communications for infrastructure projects, and driving transformative outcomes.
Our Team has made significant contributions to the institution's transformation. Their oversight of major strategic initiatives, management of stakeholder communications and public affairs, successful implementation of the Real London campaign, collaborative approach, and ability to improve on standard practice have driven positive outcomes and enhanced the University's reputation – all of this has been achieved with a much smaller team than some others in the sector and with a zero or low-cost approach to external and internal campaigns.
Facing declining applications in a saturated and shrinking market for a perceived low-status and low-value degree, with a team of 3.74 FTE, the Norland team focused on making every penny, every second, every contact count to reach the best prospects as early-years professionals.
Working with prospects, students and graduates, they secured comprehensive insight and feedback. One third of students volunteered to participate in recruitment, at events, on online chat and content creation. They worked with colleagues to develop open events and support a customer-focused approach. They refocused external media on key objectives: international student recruitment and increasing diversity. They maximised digital communications: a new CRM across the institution; a paid-for social strategy; engaging peer-to-peer content; and lookalike audience to improve all communications. All of it underpinned by daily analysis of the outcomes and continual improvement.
The outcome? They exceeded every target, increasing applications, enquiries and diversity, and underlying measures.
The University of Nottingham
The University of Nottingham’s innovative micro prospectus campaign has revolutionised the traditional prospectus by merging print and digital journeys, driving sustainability, and prioritising the needs and values of Gen Z. Through collaboration, strategic alignment, and ground-breaking practices, they have reshaped behaviour and perception both internally and externally.
The campaign targeted prospective students who value sustainability and prefer digital information. With design thinking and online-offline engagement, they exceeded objectives, generating high volumes of leads and web traffic using QR codes and achieving significant social media reach. By challenging the traditional format, prioritising sustainability, and incorporating innovative design elements, they reduced print by 14 million pages a year to national and international acclaim.
The marketing and recruitment teams played a crucial role in the campaign's success, driving internal adoption, external engagement and achieving sustainability goals. They continue to refine their concept optimising user journeys and delivering impactful experiences both online and offline.
University of Portsmouth
The University of Portsmouth media team delivered a 12-month awareness campaign in 2021-22 to build the reputation of our Revolution Plastics initiative locally, nationally and internationally.
Through a combination of media pitching and events, our academic experts and relevant research was used to position Revolution Plastics at the forefront of the plastic waste crisis. High-profile media opportunities brought Revolution Plastics to the attention of huge worldwide audiences and our researchers are now sought after for further research collaboration and innovation.
Through the successful implementation of the campaign, Revolution Plastics is now at the heart of the discussions taking place around the world at local, national and international levels. We are the go-to institution to help tackle plastic pollution. We need a revolution to save our planet and Portsmouth is taking the lead!
Queen's University Belfast
Queen’s University Belfast is a research powerhouse. However, our scores in the reputation survey elements of the QS and THE World University Rankings did not reflect this. Queen’s Strategic Marketing and Communications (SMC) team set out a core objective in 2021/22 to raise the profile of our research and its impact. Our challenge was to capture the attention of academics internally and worldwide, influencing their voting behaviour in reputation surveys which have substantial weighting in rankings.
SMC’s insight, creative and digital teams fostered strong working relationships with academic and professional colleagues to identify areas of current and upcoming distinctive research strength. We developed a case study-led reputation campaign, “Our Research Shapes Worlds”, promoting these areas to the target audience across multiple channels. The campaign was a success. We exceeded our objectives, climbing 24 places in the THE World University Rankings and increasing our reputation votes by 478% in one year.
Sheffield Hallam University and The University of Sheffield
Sheffield Hallam University, University of Sheffield and Sheffield City Council developed a cross-institutional marketing team to deliver a sector-first multi-channel campaign promoting the city of Sheffield to prospective undergraduate students. Built on trust, compromise, respect and openness, the campaign helped both Universities exceed Clearing and recruitment targets. The partnership has paved the way for further collaboration across open days, UCAS conventions and influencer activity.
This is a collaborative and innovative sector-leading campaign that has far surpassed all benchmarks. It is a great example of an effective campaign expertly designed for the post-Covid world.
Alison Brettle, University of Salford
Professor Alison Brettle is a highly experienced supervisor, working across the PhD, DProf and PhD by published works programmes, having successfully supervised over 20 students to completion, with another four about to complete. Her track record demonstrates exceptional graduate outcomes, including significant achievements in terms of careers and academic outputs.
Alison provides exceptional support over and above the role of supervisor, when people are managing chronic illness, issues with anxiety, and stress, demonstrating a calmness and listening manner to understand and support individuals. She receives consistently positive student feedback, nominated year on year for the University’s ‘Supervisor of the Year’ award. Alison works tirelessly to support the entire PGR community in her field of health and society, for example through school-wide training, and across the wider university to develop policy and practice. She receives this nomination for her outstanding track record, and her wider mentorship and leadership across the University.
Mark Brown, Royal Holloway, University of London
Mark Brown is a professor in Evolutionary Ecology and Conservation and has successfully supervised 54 students over 20 years. As an exceptional doctoral supervisor, Mark has actively encouraged students from less privileged backgrounds to continue into doctoral research. His concerted effort has resulted in more than 50% of PhD students being the first generation of their family to pursue an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, with women making up nearly 50% of his primary supervised PhD students.
Due to his dedication, his doctoral students have graduated successfully, publishing in top scientific journals like Nature, won departmental, national and international prizes, grants and fellowships, and entered into impactful careers as lecturers, senior scientists at national research institutes and conservation officers at non-governmental organisations. Mark is committed to enabling the next generation to gain confidence with as many opportunities as possible, preparing them to work at the crossroads of multiple fields.
Hannah Cloke, University of Reading
Professor Hannah Cloke OBE is a flood forecaster and climate scientist. She studies the weather and natural world, but she puts people at the centre of her research. She takes the same approach with her PhD students. Supervising a total of 32 students over 20 years, Hannah encourages students from a wide array of backgrounds to undertake a PhD. When they do, she involves them in every part of her research group.
Hannah puts great emphasis not just on excellent research, but in doing everything possible to apply it in the world. Hannah’s students found themselves delivering science exhibitions to school children, speaking to journalists about floods and heatwaves, as well as publishing articles. She’s backed up her students through political scandals, crises of confidence and complex science. Her students love her approach. One said: “Hannah is uniquely brilliant… never once has she stopped being awesome.”
Garry Duffy, University of Galway
Professor Garry Duffy is an exceptional supervisor who has left an indelible mark on countless students during the early stages of their careers. With unwavering dedication and a passion for mentoring, Garry has equipped over 20 PhD researchers with skills, knowledge and resilience necessary for successful careers. Garry fosters an environment of intellectual curiosity and independent thinking. His profound knowledge and expertise are evident, but it is his ability to instil confidence and ignite a thirst for knowledge that truly sets him apart.
Garry creates a space where students feel safe to explore new ideas, challenge existing paradigms, and push the boundaries of their research. Garry's guidance extends beyond the academic realm and is genuinely invested in his students' personal and professional growth, providing invaluable advice and support. Garry’s open-door policy, willingness to listen and empathetic nature are clear, having been awarded the 2021/2022 President’s Awards for Supervisor Research Excellence.
Julia Hörnle, Queen Mary University of London
Professor Julia Hörnle, chair of Internet law at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies, distinguishes herself as an outstanding supervisor for going beyond the high standards of care and competence that characterise all supervisors at Queen Mary. She provides pastoral care and feedback that is thorough, rigorous, considered, inclusive and imaginative, and proactively steers her PhD candidates towards career development. Not only does she encourage students to publish in high quality journals, to apply for grants and for fellowships, but as one of her students says “she taught me how to do those things”.
What further differentiates Julia is her ability to create a disciplinary research environment that fosters the co-creation of knowledge, research and job opportunities, and impacts activities between PhD students, supervisor and external partners. As her students have commented, without her funding, career or pastoral efforts, they would “not have been able to do the Phd”.
Alison Kington, University of Worcester
Alison Kington is an inspirational research supervisor having supervised 23 doctoral students to completion from a variety of backgrounds. Student feedback applauds her exceptional support, praising how she helps them develop personally and professionally and maintains a supportive relationship long after completion. She is leading efforts to promote greater student involvement within the research culture of the Institute of Education and has developed several initiatives as part of the Social Psychology of Education Research group to create a conducive environment for doctoral candidates.
Alison has the unique ability to see potential in people who do not see it in themselves and her experience in this area illustrates her outstanding ability to take a leading role in high quality teaching and contribute significantly to the strategic work of the University. All her students have established careers in their research area, many supplementing their CV with research collaborations that she has instigated.
Jenny Mercer, Cardiff Metropolitan University
Jenny Mercer has an exemplary profile of successful research supervision and examination experience. She has 15 completions, been the chair of 32 viva voce examinations and regularly examines research degrees nationally. To date, she has been the examiner of 22 theses at various UK universities.
She has demonstrable enthusiasm for the role and has gone over and above what might be expected of a supervisor to implement systemic changes for candidates on doctoral programmes. Her focus on their ‘student experience’ has been evidenced in her work to support their wellbeing. Aware that this cohort report significantly higher stress levels (compared with undergraduates and whole population normative data) and that this may be exacerbated by factors unique to the environment of doctoral education (e.g. role conflict, isolation, supervisory relationships), she sought to initiate bespoke interventions to mitigate this locally and more recently nationally.
Ruth Northway, University of South Wales
Professor Ruth Northway OBE is a learning disability nurse who, prior to working in nurse education, worked alongside people with learning disabilities in residential and community settings. For more than 20 years, Ruth has conducted, and subsequently led, research into the health and wellbeing of people with learning disabilities. During this time, she has been an inspiration and mentor to colleagues as well as postgraduate researchers.
Ruth is a committed supervisor who genuinely cares about the students and their journey. She has contributed diligently to postgraduate research student committees with her knowledge, experience, and empathy, and in so doing has been a role model and mentor for staff. She has chaired too many viva examinations to mention, both within and outside her faculty, and because of her knowledge and experience of all awards and routes, she is what we (in USW’s Graduate School) would unofficially call a ‘Super-Supervisor’ and ‘Super-Chair’.
University of East Anglia
The Welcome and Wellbeing Project developed a holistic model of support for students who have a background of forced displacement. Two staff members, the sanctuary liaison support officer and the academic lead for the university of sanctuary, coordinated this work.
Core streams of activity developed. These included: identifying personalised pathways; building opportunities for peer-support and community development; supporting members of the sanctuary community to develop the projects that they felt would benefit their wellbeing; delivering staff training focused upon the experiences of students seeking sanctuary; and identifying routes into specialist trauma-informed services.
Feedback from the sanctuary community suggests this project has had multiple impacts. Many have reported reduced feelings of isolation, increased engagement in services and enhanced coping strategies. Further research is needed to fully evaluate the impact and UEA is keen to collaborate with others interested in developing an evidence base for this area.
University of Essex
At the University of Essex we are impatient to transform lives and academic outcomes, which is why we offer a tailored study skills course that gives applicants the support they need and makes them feel connected to our community before they even enrol.
The Essex Preparation Programme (EPP) ensures undergraduates have the right skills to succeed. It is driving up engagement and retention and giving students greater confidence as independent learners. During the 2021-22 academic year, a full review of the EPP showed it was meeting its aims of improving engagement and retention, and ensuring our students felt supported in their studies as they transitioned into higher education.
Students describe it as “really helpful” and “rich and interesting” and praise it for changing their “perception of university work” and “an excellent way of ensuring that new university starters understand what is expected”.
London South Bank University
LSBU’s Personal Development Plan (PDP) is a personalised, proactive and insight-generating tool designed to help students reflect on, and track the growth of, their own academic and practical development needs over time. Their responses to the PDP’s questions actively link them with the wide range of services and support available and provide deep understanding of student need, progress and the impact of university interventions.
The PDP has made it easy for students to share information and access support, has seen improved retention and progression, and has transformed how LSBU understands the needs of students and how we design our services. We have also seen a tangible positive impact on student success, retention and progression.
To improve attrition rates among UK nursing students who had interrupted their studies, NHS England introduced the RePAIR initiative. After placing several successful bids, we designed an innovative scheme to support interrupted nursing students, helping them to overcome obstacles including financial difficulties, mental health issues, and navigation of the educational system.
Our innovation consisted of a six-week summer programme that encompassed mental health activities, academic workshops and stakeholder engagement activities. Of the initial 135 interrupted students, 67 (52%) returned to their studies following this innovation. They reported improved mental health, academic self-efficacy and programme satisfaction.
Principal achievements included successful programme implementation and demonstrably positive impacts on students' mental health. Continuous monitoring and impact assessment, which included student feedback, programme evaluations and focus group insights, ensured scheme effectiveness and guided future development. This initiative represents a significant stride in addressing UK nurse shortages and supporting the Nursing 50K manifesto.
University of Southampton
A dedicated team of specialist advisers work behind the scenes 24/7, 365 days a year to deliver outstanding support for all 24,000 students at the University of Southampton. The Student Hub is the first point of contact for all types of student queries, giving students access to specialist support in a quick and easy format at a time and location convenient to them.
Since the official launch last year, the team have responded to 53,620 enquiries through a range of communication channels including telephone, email, online chat and in-person on campus. The service has transformed the student experience at the University of Southampton. By simplifying the time and steps required to answer queries, students can thrive and focus their valuable time on their studies and extracurricular activities to make memories that will last a lifetime.
University of Stirling
Loch View was developed through the recognition that Covid-19, societal issues and cost-of-living was having a significant impact on students. A joint strategic aim of the University and the Students’ Union is to use Stirling’s beautiful campus environment to enhance wellbeing and create a sense of community and belonging.
Utilising our extensive experience of working in communities and mental health expertise, the concept of Loch View was created - a purpose-designed space to proactively promote good mental health and a space that the university community can visit to feel connected to campus, tackle isolation and loneliness and, by extension, improve wellbeing.
Feedback from our student community has been overwhelmingly positive. Through evaluation of Loch View, 100% of students report that accessing it has improved their overall experience of university and has improved their mental health and wellbeing. 95% of students feel that accessing Loch View has helped them remain at university.
Michael Bayliss, University of Liverpool
Michael Bayliss is being nominated as Outstanding Technician of the Year for his contribution to teaching across the School of Histories, Languages and Cultures (University of Liverpool), a true model for collaboration between academic and technical staff in teaching innovation.
As a Technician, Michael always performs well beyond what is expected of him: this year he led the teaching team in podcasting for a Spanish module, taught subtitling, political radio broadcasting, and writing for radio. Michael teaches the audio and video technology elements in an innovative, supportive and professional manner, making his contribution integral to the success of the modules.
Michael’s input is central to the modules’ pedagogical design and to students achieving learning outcome. Michael has also played a key role in supporting staff to develop their training and leading them in using technology-based and student-led learning methods in the classroom, allowing staff and students to truly thrive.
Heather Burgess, Ulster University
In a region renowned for its textile industries, Ulster University Belfast School of Art artist and technician Heather Burgess blends this longstanding heritage with contemporary, progressive techniques and themes. A central member of the textile art, design and fashion team across both research and teaching, Heather delights in introducing and delivering training on new equipment that makes more possible. She forges a collaborative learning environment that supports students to flourish through enhancing their technical skills with confidence, embracing unusual or experimental techniques and unlocking creative expression. Heather pioneers new ways of working that become embedded in teaching practice.
A champion of fellow technicians through her role as Co-Chair of the University’s Technician Commitment Steering Group from 2021, Heather stretches her skills beyond the workshop, coordinating shared efforts and objectives for this professional community. Always innovating to make the student experience better, her generosity, care and skill leave a lasting impression.
Paul Clews, Keele University
Paul is the Anatomy and Technical Services Manager for Keele University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, having first joined 20 years ago as Senior Anatomy Technician. He leads a team of 10 technicians and support staff to deliver specialised, hands-on, practical anatomy and surgical training courses.
Paul works with the academic lead for Keele's Anatomy department, providing first-class support to academics and students from across the Faculties of Medicine and Health Sciences, and Natural Sciences. He also leads Keele’s Anatomy and Surgical Training Centre team, providing specialist training to Surgical Consultants and trainees from around the world, and manages technical teams across different schools within the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
As a founding member of the Keele Technician Commitment Steering Group, he helped develop and implement two action plans and subsequent development and networking activities, all developed in line with the pillars of the Technician Commitment.
Alex Counsell, University of Portsmouth
Alex has been the driving force behind the University’s Centre for Creative and Immersive Extended Reality (CCIXR), the UK’s first integrated facility to support innovation in the creative and digital technologies of virtual (VR), augmented (AR) and extended realities (XR). His vision and enthusiasm for XR technologies has influenced a generation of graduates who are embedded across the XR sector.
Knowledge transfer is a key component of Alex’s work. He oversaw and managed the technical team for Enabling XR Enterprise, a £750k project that enabled the museum and visitor attraction sector to harness the power of immersive technology.
Alex’s skills were a key component of the global award-winning “Dream” project, produced in collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company. The 10 live shows reached over 80,000 people in 151 countries. The incredible impact of this seminal piece has been evaluated by Innovate UK as well as the Arts Council.
Jason Daff, University of York
Jason Daff is a notable example of a career technician working in horticulture research, who leads a well-respected team that significantly contributes to plant research at the University of York. With a personal belief in CPD, Jason creates opportunities to network, for example, arranging a visit to Leeds University, now working collaboratively to tackle a major environmental challenge in plant research - the transition to peat-free compost.
Jason demonstrates discretionary effort; he is Vice-Chair of the UK Controlled Environment Users’ Group and Honorary Secretary of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture. Jason has led the Institute’s efforts to support horticultural students with a new termly e-newsletter ‘Growing Somewhere?’ and was the first technician at York to successfully apply for a summer studentship, sponsored by UKCEUG. Jason is an enthusiastic ambassador for careers in horticulture, visiting HE colleges to promote technical careers and participating in public events like the Harrogate Flower Show.
Kirsty Massetti, King's College London
Kirsty Massetti, Dissecting Room Technical Manager
Kirsty Massetti, Dissecting Room Technical Manager at King's, is highly regarded by both colleagues and students for her significant contributions to the field of Anatomy. Alongside providing exceptional lab services and care for donors, Kirsty plays a crucial role in teaching undergraduates, offering pastoral support, and collaborating with healthcare professionals, academics, and support services.
Kirsty's inclusive and dedicated approach fosters a nurturing environment for students and colleagues alike. She actively collaborates with teachers and learners, elevating the status of Dissecting Room technicians at King's. Her efforts notably enhance the learning experience, overseeing the implementation of surgical robots, upgrading audiovisual systems, and contributing to published research on innovative medical techniques.
Kirsty's commitment to professional development has garnered respect within the anatomical profession, and she is actively involved in committees within and beyond King's. Colleagues praise her passion, nurturing demeanour towards students, and remarkable ability to alleviate anxiety, particularly among early-career students.
Ketan Ruparelia, De Montfort University
Dr Ketan Ruparelia, Technician, Researcher and Lab Demonstrator
As a dedicated member of De Montfort University Leicester (DMU)’s Health and Life Sciences faculty for 20-plus years, Dr Ketan Ruparelia is a great role model for what a technical instructor can achieve, completing both a Masters and PhD. During 2021-22, Ketan contributed to teaching by leading on delivering Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) classes to undergraduate students. He also mentors Nuffield research placement students, giving young people from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to gain skills and confidence in science and research. Placement students in 2022 said their positive experience has led them to explore DMU as an option for further study.
Ketan collaborated with academic and technical colleagues to promote diabetes awareness through the 2022 British Science Festival (BSF), gaining national press recognition with coverage in the Evening Standard and The Telegraph. He has co-authored published NMR articles and his research has led to the production of patents.
Kate Thornton, Queen Mary University of London
Queen Mary University of London (QM) is delighted to nominate Mrs Kate Thornton, our Technical Resource Manager for the Faculty of Science & Engineering, for the Times Higher Education Technician of the Year Award. In four short years, Mrs Thornton's passion, undivided commitment and clear vision have seen her transform the technician community at both Faculty and Institutional level into an efficient, cohesive team which provides excellent support to our academics, students and beyond.
Having worked tirelessly to ensure adherence to Queen Mary's Institutional Technician Commitment, Mrs Thornton's efforts resulted in a highly commended submission with the Science Council presenting Queen Mary with an Award of Impact at the Technician Commitment Signatory Event (23 Nov 2022). Mrs Thornton also ensured Queen Mary's successful participation in the Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF) - earning a Gold EcoCampus rating and ISO:14001 certification.
University of Aberdeen
Bangladeshi workers employed in the ready-made garment (RMG) industry are being exposed to unfair practices and challenging conditions within the supply chain, a situation that got worse during the Covid-19 pandemic. Actions taken by retailers, such as cancelling orders, refusal to pay for work in progress and demands for discounted prices, disproportionately impacted the vulnerability of women workers by contributing to an increase in gender violence, abuse and economic hardship.
Research led by Prof Islam from the University of Aberdeen has outlined a need to review and revise the legal framework for protecting the rights of RMG workers. He stated that the majority of RMG industry workers are women who are young, poorly educated and from rural areas, with little employment options. Because of this, he recommended a UK fashion watchdog be created, to tackle abusive purchasing practices by brands selling into the UK market.
University of Central Lancashire
The Dance and Parkinson’s Project integrates community engagement, student teaching and research, and explores, through action, what civic engagement might mean in a higher education institution. Founded on ongoing collaboration and regular interaction, weekly intergenerational dance classes between people living with Parkinson’s and undergraduate dance students support participant wellbeing, student learning and enrich social interaction.
The strength of this project lies within the mutual benefits of partnerships between people living with Parkinson’s and undergraduate dance students, between UCLan Dance and Lancashire dance company LPM Dance, cultivating a community of care within the university environment. Evaluation of the Connect and Flow classes revealed the positive social and creative impact of the classes on participant experiences.
Liverpool John Moores University
Wilkinson, C. M., & Castaneyra-Ruiz, M. (2021). The current status of Migrant Disaster Victim Identification in the Canary Islands. Journal of the British Academy, 9:
Migrants DVI website: https://www.migrantsdvi.com
PhD researchers: https://www.ljmu.ac.uk/about-us/staff-profiles/faculty-of-arts-professional-and-social-studies/liverpool-school-of-art-and-design/martina-pizzolato and https://www.ljmu.ac.uk/about-us/staff-profiles/faculty-of-arts-professional-and-social-studies/liverpool-school-of-art-and-design/isabel-burton
COST approved action: https://www.cost.eu/70-new-actions-oc20221/
The United Nations Refugee Agency conservatively estimates that more than 26,000 people have died trying to reach Europe in the last 10 years, and most have drowned on Mediterranean crossings or the West Africa/Atlantic maritime route to reach Spain’s Canary Islands. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) estimates that as few as 22% deceased migrants are ever positively identified.
Face Lab and European research collaborators study and evaluate the utilisation of craniofacial anthropology and forensic art to address the contemporary global challenge and social injustice relating to migrant disaster victim identification.
Royal Holloway, University of London
The UK's largest immersive storytelling project to date, StoryTrails was a multidisciplinary participatory action research project that put immersive technologies into the hands of 50 diverse creatives from 15 towns and cities across the UK to collect and curate local stories, and used augmented, virtual and mixed reality to present these to over 1.5 million people in the summer of 2022.
Representing the hidden histories of these communities from plural viewpoints, the project had significant impact on audiences’ connections to the public spaces in their communities, significantly increasing pride in local communities, and provided 38% of attendees their first metaverse experiences.
With inclusion, diversity and the democratisation of digital public space driving the research approach, StoryTrails left a legacy of increased library engagement and a cohort of creatives and librarians skilled to use immersive technologies in further participatory, creative ways in local public history and cultural projects.
University of Strathclyde
EXTR-Actvism presents artistic positions that challenge the new commercial space race for mineral extractivism. International space law, a product of the Cold War era, is ambiguous in its language as it is unclear if commercial mining, governed through private property rights, is allowed under the Outer Space Treaty (1967).
The artworks selected for this exhibition explore the notions of extractivism and neo-colonialism of the commercial space era against the background of African countries developing their own space programme. The exhibition retells the story of extractivism and space travel from the perspective of Afronauts. The forgotten histories, contested legacies and repressed memories of space travel are explored through a plethora of art practices that seek to blur the boundaries and distinctions between fiction and reality. This blurring allows us to imagine what extractivism would look like on Mars if we did not learn from our past and current ecocides and genocides.
University of Winchester
Unearthing Indigenous and Enslaved African Horticultural Knowledge in St Vincent's Botanical Garden (1785-1811) was an international collaborative project that recovered the Garden’s historical legacy as a global plant hub. Cataloguing and transcribing archival material by the Garden’s superintendent (Alexander Anderson, from 1785 to 1811) highlighted the role that indigenous and enslaved African botanical expertise played in the development of the Garden and Western science more generally.
The most significant findings were that Anderson, recognizing that European horticultural methods were inappropriate for the Caribbean, developed the Garden using the horticultural model of enslaved Africans, such as provision grounds that maximised tree cover; and that despite every book stating that Captain Blygh brought the Breadfruit to St Vincent in January 1793, Anderson recorded a 6-foot high specimen growing in the Garden in December 1792. An exhibition and placing the relevant historical material available online means history once lost is now freely available.
Birmingham City University
Research conducted at Birmingham City University is actively changing the face of professional cricket in England and Wales, revolutionising the England Cricket Board’s (ECB) strategy towards supporting players from a British South Asian background. The research aims to address the disparity between the proportion of British South Asian players at a recreational level and those who continue to the professional game.
Results from the project were also cited in a 2021 Department for Culture, Media and Sport hearing into accusations of structural racism within cricket – proving its lasting impact on the game. The research led to the formation of the South Asian Cricket Academy which aims to increase the percentage of British Asian players within the professional game to 8% by the end of 2024. It saw six players from the Academy signed by first-class counties in 2022 - more than any other academy in the country.
Global aviation urgently needs to be transformed into sustainable forms. Currently, the industry is caught up in a cycle where ever-increasing demand (around 5% each year) means reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from improvements in aircraft efficiency (around 2%) are having little impact.
Changing aviation to meet 2050 targets is dependent on faster progress towards certifying new technologies, more open access and sharing of the fundamental building blocks for the design, testing and flight of sustainable aircraft.
This is being achieved through the Enabling Aircraft Electrification (EnabEl) research project. The work, led by Cranfield University, achieved the first ever flight by a British designed and built, all-electric conventional aeroplane in April 2022 — and in the process, crucially, the team has solved a range of technical problems associated with making sustainable aircraft a practical reality, and is building a path towards future British electric powertrains and aircraft.
University of Essex
Veterans blighted by PTSD are being helped back into society by a ground-breaking psychological study harnessing the power of fishing – which is transforming NHS mental health care. The project has been praised by the Ministry of Defence, recognised by The Angling Trust and recently received a contract to deliver community mental health treatment for the NHS Essex Partnership University Trust via local volunteering bodies.
The work – led by psychologist Dr Nick Cooper and Dr Mark Wheeler – is now part of a Department of Health and Social Care-funded research scheme after a successful study launched in 2021/22. The innovative intervention sparked significant clinical change in 60% of participants that reduced depression and anxiety for a month after the treatment – with well-being scores soaring. Dr Cooper and Dr Wheeler have found a way to break barriers stopping veterans from engaging with traditional therapy and are changing hundreds of lives.
University of Huddersfield
An international research project led by the University of Huddersfield’s Archaeogenetics Research Group has uncovered the story behind Bronze Age Orkney. Contrary to popular belief, it revealed that Orkney experienced large-scale immigration during the Early Bronze Age, which replaced much of the local population. The research also discovered something revolutionary, in that it was predominantly women who were the Bronze Age newcomers, pioneering the migration and transforming the genetic heritage of Orkney.
The findings of this research have surprised both archaeologists and geneticists alike and have attracted world-wide media interest. For the people of Orkney, it has provided a significant boost to their tourism industry which plays a key role in the local economy and has given the community a new sense of pride in its past.
University of Nottingham
The University of Nottingham has pioneered a new non-invasive treatment for Tourette’s Syndrome (TS) with the development of a wrist device that reduces the amount and severity of tics for TS sufferers. Clinical trials of prototype models of the device were completed in March 2023 and revealed that people who received active stimulation experienced a significant reduction in the severity and frequency of their tics. On average, they saw a reduction in tic frequency of more than 25% while they received stimulation.
After using the device for 4 weeks, people who received active stimulation experienced a reduction in their tic severity of more than 35%. In total, 59% of the people who received active stimulation experienced a reduction in tic severity of at least 25% compared with baseline. Many people commented that, when activated, the device made them feel calm and relaxed.
University of Strathclyde
While 5G is not yet a standard part of TV outside broadcasting (OB), the 5G Remote Production In the Middle of Nowhere project pilots new ways to utilise it. Traditionally, broadcast cameras connect using radio signals, which rely on proprietary equipment; 5G enables devices to be used in a wider range of locations, opening up new benefits for broadcasters.
The NIB technology has the capacity to enable the broadcast of ultra-high quality live footage from anywhere in the world and can be unpacked and operational in around five minutes. The technology connected cameras for international coverage of the late Queen Elizabeth II’s last journey from Scotland and was later deployed for coverage of the coronation of King Charles III. It has also been used in the coverage of rugby, football, boxing, and motor sport, including the Formula 1 British Grand Prix and motorcycling MotoGP.
University of East London
The Hospital & Primary Care Training Hub is a European first in end-to-end simulated health and social care practice. The Hub utilises cutting-edge, innovative, interprofessional practice and technologies to enhance the career-focused learning of students in the School of Health, Sport & Bioscience at the University of East London.
Through our engagement with the NHS and local communities, the Hub also works to tackle the health inequalities evidenced in the communities we serve.
The development of the hub has enabled UEL to ensure that learners have access to cutting-edge technology and that inequalities to technology are overcome. We enable all learners to have access to this and to ensure all learners can make use of the virtual placement software, there are several loaned laptops that students can use to prevent digital poverty from being a barrier to this innovative, pedagogical approach to clinical education.
Edinburgh Napier University
Within Cybersecurity, many graduates go into roles within SOCs (Security Operation Centres). These are places that integrate alerts from across an organisation and feed them into a centralised data infrastructure. Over the past 12 years, academics in the School of Computing built a novel cloud-based infrastructure (VSOC) that mirrors real-life cybersecurity security environments.
Over 2021/2022, the Information Services (IS) team in the University scaled this virtualised environment to support improved levels of resilience, security and availability, and linked it to three physical spaces that simulate SOC environments. The successful knowledge transfer between academics and IS has provided the foundation in providing cybersecurity education to users across the world, and in supporting new areas of teaching.
University of Galway
The University of Galway has transformed its student services with an AI platform saving thousands of staff hours and answering student queries on demand. Partnering with AI provider Galvia, the platform is designed to address challenges brought to the fore by the pandemic such as an overwhelmed workforce, students in need of more personalised support and data siloes.
Since November 2021, Cara, an AI virtual assistant available on the web and WhatsApp, provides on-demand support and resources to University of Galway students. Cara has reduced manual tasks by 40%, saving over 1,500 staff hours. It has resolved over 20,000 student queries, with 84% resolved instantly. Furthermore, Cara collects data on students' journeys, enabling instant identification of at-risk students for targeted support. Real-time insights and analytics from Cara improve student progression and retention by identifying areas of struggle and providing tailored resources.
University of Liverpool
We have developed a unique virtual reality (VR) tropical island environment to help address mental wellbeing issues faced by University students undertaking industrial and clinical placements. The 3D immersive VR environment uses 3D headsets to place users on a realistic, interactive tropical beach where students and tutors can engage.
The island has waves, insects, birds, mammals and a range of tropical plants and transports students from their often lonely residential spaces into a safe place where they can relax and be mindful. There are dedicated zones on the island where students can have confidential discussions with support tutors, meet each other socially via customisable avatar figures or undertake formal group peer reflection.
Students enjoyed being able to escape and reduce anxiety, while the ability to meet other students in the environment via their avatars was warmly welcomed.
SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College)
University of Surrey
Ensuring fairness and cost-efficiency in selection to health professions is an ethical and practical priority, however, it has never been more challenging to enact. This is because best practice guidance on the design of online interviews to optimise performance for those from diverse backgrounds is not readily available in light of the financial burdens faced by universities. Technology-facilitated interviews can potentially alleviate bias and cost issues; however, there is limited evidence evaluating their effectiveness.
Funded by Innovate UK, we built and evaluated what we believe is the first bespoke (asynchronous) videoconference facilitated interview and assessment system co-designed by users. An interim evaluation was conducted in May 2022 following 917 interviews. The system was shown to be consistently reliable and fair across sub-groups as well as acceptable and saving 70% time. These preliminary findings have substantial implications for the future configuration of online interviews across sectors globally.
University of Central Lancashire
Into Our Skies: Space in Schools is a transdisciplinary collaboration between dance artists, scientists and educators with a cross‐curricular approach to teaching science through dance. The 6‐week scheme of work uses movement and dance as a tool for primary pupils aged 9‐11 to explore concepts of Earth and Space.
Evaluation conducted with teachers using the scheme concluded that the science learning achieved in the dance aspect of the programme was equal to more traditional classroom activities. 80% of teachers reported an increase in participation among pupils who would normally not engage in science lessons. Meanwhile, 100% of teachers who participated in the CPD sessions agreed that their knowledge and confidence in teaching dance through science had been increased.
At an age when attitudes to science are becoming fixed, this cross‐curricular approach could be vital in increasing the achievement of pupils and maintaining their interest in science.
Dublin City University
Over 5,000 people in Ireland use Irish Sign Language (ISL) as their first language. Widening participation to encourage deaf and ISL students into higher education is an integral focus of the DCU Institute of Education’s School of Inclusive and Special Education. In 2019, a major Irish policy change was agreed: deaf ISL-users, for the first time, would be able to become primary school teachers - a landmark development for the national widening participation plan.
DCU-led research into replacing the existing pre-requisite for Leaving Certificate Irish language proficiency, with an equivalent ISL requirement, led to the State amending programme entry requirements. DCU subsequently launched a pioneering full-time, four-year pilot course. Course entry is exclusively for members of the ISL community who wish to become primary school teachers working in the deaf education sector. Some core modules are delivered alongside hearing peers; other deaf-education specific modules are uniquely for ISL students.
University of Galway
Based in University of Galway’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Cell EXPLORERS is an education and public engagement (EPE) programme that aims to inspire, inform and involve young people and the general public in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Established in 2012, the programme facilitates authentic interactions between scientists and young people through hands-on activities to actively engage the public in science, promote the significance of science in society, and foster meaningful dialogues with scientists.
It uses a unique model for sustainable EPE in Higher Education Institutions where student and staff volunteers act as role models and locally deliver outreach activities including those who may not typically engage with STEM. Since 2012, the programme has expanded to a national network of 13 teams, involving 1,900 team members and engaging more than 5,000 young people and their families in hands-on science in Ireland.
King’s College London, in collaboration with the University of Leicester, Newcastle University and The Open University
The University Sponsorship Model is a cross-sector collaborative widening participation initiative that provides a safe route to the UK, and access to Higher Education and support to thrive for forcibly displaced students and academics. King’s College London piloted university sponsorship in 2021 and expanded the initiative in response to the war in Ukraine.
Working in partnership with The Open University, Newcastle University and the University of Leicester, King’s developed a model that enables the higher education sector to help displaced students and academics to find safety and continue their academic journeys. The wider ambition is to develop a model and policy that supports forced migrants worldwide.
By shaping policy and providing forced migrants with unrivalled opportunities to access higher education, the University Sponsorship Model actively contributes to the UNHCR’s goal to increase enrolment of refugees in higher education to 15% by 2030 and creates safe and legal higher education pathways.
Loughborough students/graduates: Ladi Ogunmekan; Samuel Ola; Emmanuel Shittu and Faith Oluwaremi (co-founders of Black in Sport Summit). Jo Simpson, Commercial and Facilities Director, Loughborough Sport
The Black in Sport Summit (BISS) was launched in 2022 by four Loughborough University students to change the narrative about black people in sport. With support from Loughborough University, Loughborough Sport and commercial sponsors, the now annual event celebrates the achievements of those working in the industry, showcases career path opportunities for university and school students, and is a platform for important conversations on racial inequality and under-representation within sport.
The Black in Sport Summit demonstrates the power of the student voice to drive social change within the sporting community and tackle the discrimination against black people in the sector. By bringing together established sport leaders and forging strategic partnerships with major multinational organisations and community groups, the event has quickly established itself as a transformative platform for a more inclusive and representative sports landscape.
Queen's University Belfast and the Institute for Research in Schools
The promotion of STEM Education, including Chemistry, has been identified as a major focus in building a post-conflict economy. There has been an opportunity with this project to widen participation and encourage uptake of further study in the Chemical Sciences right across the secondary school student community of Northern Ireland. Providing a cross-community opportunity for passionate chemistry students from all socio-economic backgrounds to be part of a research team addressing a real research problem with the opportunity to disseminate their work at a conference has motivated and encouraged students to achieve. The project's success is down to 3 major factors:
- The external funding of £10,000 from the RSC Outreach Grant
- The energy and professionalism of the QUILL team in both delivering, supporting teaching and enthusing pupils
- Outreach by the QUB team (led by Dr Kevin Morgan) encouraging schools to take part
Anglia Ruskin University (ARU)
Despite the pandemic, 2021-22 was a year of outstanding achievement and recognition for ARU, a multi-campus university dedicated to serving the region and communities in which it is based. We made tremendous progress on our journey to open ARU Peterborough, a new kind of university, designed to meet the needs of students and employers in a higher education ‘cold spot’. Further serving our region, ARU opened the first Samaritans University hub in the UK on our Cambridge campus, while in Chelmsford ARU was honoured to host the most sustainable British Science Festival ever, attracting thousands of local people.
Our leading provision serving the healthcare professions led to ARU ranking 1st in the UK and 20th in the world for health and wellbeing in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2022, while the impact of our world-leading music therapy work was recognised with the award of The Queen’s Anniversary Prize.
University of East London
Tackling head-on structural social inequalities, the University of East London has succeeded in creating a new educational partnership model that is producing transformative evidence of how diversifying the talent pipeline solves 5.0 skills gaps. Systemic, structural reasons significantly contribute to marginalised groups being both less likely to apply and to be successful in securing graduate-level work experience and employment.
As one of the most socially inclusive and diverse universities, with campuses located in areas with some of the highest levels of economic deprivation and health inequalities in Europe, the imperative to take radical steps to turn around both the economic and societal fortunes of the University in 2018 was significant. Today, our ground-breaking approach delivers life-changing benefits for the communities we serve every single day. Employers, students, graduates, staff and our wider community articulate how this step-change is exponentially demonstrated in careers, and unparalleled innovation and opportunity.
University of Exeter
Over the past decade, the University of Exeter has undergone a remarkable transformation. Welcomed into the Russell Group in recognition of its excellence across research, innovation and education, Exeter has thrived on a global stage, almost doubling in size across staff and student numbers, research income and turnover. For many, this might have been ambition enough. But for Exeter, it has been the launchpad for a more radical transformation, and the embracing of a bold new strategy.
In the face of increasingly urgent environmental and social challenges, and guided by its most ambitious consultation process, the University has rapidly developed and implemented an institutional strategy that focuses academic activity upon three ambitions: to create a greener, healthier and fairer future.
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
After achieving HEI status in 2013 and degree-awarding powers in 2017, LSTM focused on becoming internationally recognised for providing high-quality scientific evidence to improve the health of the world’s disadvantaged communities. It transformed into one of the most-research intensive institutions in the UK, with a research portfolio of £560 million in 21/22 - all driven by a focused strategy, strong leadership, bold decision-making and a 'can-do' culture. Achievements in 21/22 include:
- outstanding first independent REF submission, coming second in the UK for impact, and with the highest research income per FTE
- becoming a Specialist Institution for Research and Education
- significant growth in staff and PhDs
- investment in culture included developing its first race equity action plan and gaining an Athena Swan Silver Award for gender equality
LSTM’s achievements demonstrate the value of small specialist institutions, not only to their communities but to the world.
University of South Wales
University of York
At York we care, above all, about our students, staff and wider community. Our foundation highlighted the need to care more about access than ‘almost anything else’ and that ethos has led a renewed determination to support our community as we grapple with a post-Covid world now constrained by a cost of living crisis. We deployed our research expertise, our student-facing services, our financial resources, and our convening power to develop a multi-pronged response to the emergent cost of living crisis.
York has long been at the forefront of influencing public and social policy and it was obvious we would also consider how our research and wider public engagement could be harnessed to support an inclusive city and regional response to the crisis. The University of York is a truly special community made up of determined, empathetic and compassionate individuals who have a deep sense of shared purpose.