Eighteen UK universities have been awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize, one of the highest honours in higher and further education.
The prizes are awarded in recognition of high-quality, innovative work by UK colleges and universities to improve the wider world through education and training.
The awards have been presented since 1994 and are now in their 13th biennial round. They will be awarded in a ceremony in 2020 at Buckingham Palace.
The award winners
Birmingham City University for its School of Jewellery which has provided courses in silversmithing, horology and gemmology since 1890. Vice-chancellor Prof Philip Plowden said the school was “providing education for the jewellers of the future and providing its expertise in the restoration of national heritage finds such as the Staffordshire Hoard”.
Coventry University’s Institute of Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME), which is a partnership between the university and Unipart Manufacturing Group, is a ‘faculty on the factory floor’ offering students an opportunity to experience engineering and manufacturing industries.
Cranfield University has collected its sixth Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its ‘flying classroom’. The National Flying Laboratory Centre offers experiential learning to aerospace engineering students from its global research airport which helps test new technologies and operations.
University of Exeter for its research into the environmental damage of micro and nano-plastics pollution. The research has helped inform the worldwide blueprint for reducing the use of microbeads in cosmetics and challenging modern ‘throwaway culture’.
University of Greenwich for its research in pest management and combatting diseases in the UK and around the world.
Heriot-Watt University’s Institute for Social Policy, Housing, Equalities Research (I-SPHERE) brings together experts from the fields of economics, law, human geography, philosophy and sociology and received the award for its work to identify and measure different forms of inequality, in particular on the topic of acute hardship.
University of Huddersfield’s Institute of Railway Research is offering new technology for the rail network, including a £3.5m pantograph testing rig and new safety solutions.
University of Kent’s Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) was recognised for its interdisciplinary undergraduate and postgraduate courses in wildlife conservation. It is the largest UK higher education institute to undertake this work and, to date, over 1,000 conservationists from 100 countries have trained at DICE.
King’s College London School of Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Sciences comprises six multidisciplinary departments and five research centres. The school is improving cancer care with new imaging techniques and using MRU to improve the diagnosis of congenital problems during pregnancy.
Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) for its multi-lingual poetry project, Mother Tongue Other Tongue. This annual poetry contest for pupils is run by The Manchester Writing School at the university and was created by MMU professor and former poet laureate, Dame Carol Ann Duffy.
University of Manchester’s Institute of Biotechnology is undertaking research that will help transition chemical manufacture from petrochemicals to sustainable biomanufacturing.
University of Oxford has been recognised for its work to understand global poverty.
University of Plymouth has also been recognised for its work on microplastics and was the first university in the world to identify the global distribution of microplastics across the Artic and deep ocean.
Queen’s University Belfast has been recognised for its Shared Education project, which began as a pilot with 12 schools in 2007, and brought pupils from Catholic, Protestant and other religious backgrounds together. The policy became the basis of Northern Ireland cross-denominational school collaboration, and now over 60,000 students are involved in regular, shared classes.
University of Sheffield’s Institute for Translational Neuroscience has received its award for developing treatments, tests and diagnostic tools for patients with neurodegenerative diseases.
University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture (IoA) received an award for developing new forms of farming and food production. Prof Selina Stead, head of the IoA, said: “This is important recognition of the collaborative and interdisciplinary work our team has taken over the past 40 years – with governments, regulatory bodies, industry, fish farmers and supply chains – to tackle global problems of food security, hunger and sustainability.”
University of Strathclyde was awarded the prize for its work on energy innovation. The university has more academics working on electrical power and energy than anywhere else in Europe and is devising a new smart grid and offshore renewable energy sources.
University of York’s Structural Biology Laboratory is exploring protein molecules which could lead to developments in medicines, such as modified insulins for treating diabetes, and new sustainable food sources.