STUDENTS and staff are celebrating after Sheffield University was named University of the Year in the 2011 Times Higher Education Awards.
The university - beating off competition from five others shortlisted - was rewarded for its many ‘imaginative and innovative initiatives’ as well as ‘exceptional research, teaching, access and business performance’.
The news is the latest boost for the institution, which has already been named Sunday Times University of the Year and the Sheffield Students’ Union was rated top in the UK in the 2011 Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey.
University of Sheffield Vice-Chancellor Professor Keith Burnett said: “This is wonderful news for everyone. To be chosen for such an honour is a powerful tribute to the hard work, dedication and ability of our staff, students, graduates and partners.
“At a time of real challenge for quality, access, and the funding of universities, the University of Sheffield has drawn particular inspiration from our founding principles as a civic university established by public subscription and the donations of ordinary working people.
“This has become a unifying passion for all of us, to put knowledge to work in tangible ways, ranging from advanced manufacturing to translational neuroscience to what is perhaps the country’s most ambitious programme of student and staff volunteering.”
Judges in the awards said the University had ‘stood out as a result of a strategy based on its values and rooted in its founding principles’ and praised the institution’s ‘determination and grit’ in focusing on its local community.
University Registrar Philip Harvey and Students’ Union President Thom Arnold received the award at a ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London, which was attended by more than 1,000 members of the higher education community from around the UK.
Thom said: “Sheffield is known for its strengths across the board, not only in research and teaching but also for its outstanding Students’ Union.
“The culture in Sheffield is about making a difference in people’s lives, and I was proud to collect the award for University of the Year award together with University staff in recognition of the fact that the real strength of our University lies in our strong commitment to work positively together.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg said: “This award is thoroughly well deserved. I’ve seen first hand the cutting edge research Sheffield University is doing in a wide range of fields, from advanced manufacturing to translational neuroscience and everything in between.
“Everyone in Sheffield should be proud of the great work done by the staff and students.”
The University was also shortlisted for two other categories in the Times Higher Education Awards - Widening Participation Initiative of the Year for the most imaginative and innovative outreach projects that encourage people from under represented backgrounds to enter higher education and Outstanding Support for Early Career Researchers category.