Categories and criteria

Leadership and Management Team of the Year 

This award will go to the institution that demonstrates the greatest breadth and depth of leadership and management skills – tell us what makes your senior team special. 

  • Outline all the areas in which you have excelled and ensure that you provide benchmark data to show exactly how your institution has delivered across the board. 
  • Describe the impact of your work. 
  • Provide examples of creative management across the institution, ways in which you have anticipated change in the higher education system and environment in which you operate, and any relevant leadership in your dealings with external stakeholders.
  • Describe how your work improves on standard practice in the sector. 

*This award will be given to the outstanding team at an institutional rather than departmental level.


International Strategy of the Year 

This award will be given to an institution for outstanding success in building institutional partnerships, overseas operations and a strategic approach to international staff and student recruitment. The judges will be looking for evidence of success on financial measures, but most important will be the way in which the strategy has enhanced the profile of the university and delivered on its ambitions.

  • Explain how your institution’s overseas operations have increased international capacity and cultivated institutional partnerships.
  • What impact has your international activity had on your global profile and financial position?
  • Show evidence of your strategy’s effectiveness. This may include how you established your institution’s brand; engaged with overseas partners; dealt with changes in government policy or the wider environment in which you operate; employed technology and maintained effective communications with staff overseas; and learned from other sectors. 

Teaching and Learning Strategy of the Year 

This award recognises a teaching and learning strategy that is distinctive and innovative, has enhanced both the student and staff experience, and reflects an institution’s core values.     

  • What were the main features of your institution’s teaching and learning strategy and how were they implemented? 
  • How have you embraced and supported the use of new technology to facilitate innovative teaching?
  • How have you created an environment in which teaching is highly valued across the university?
  • How do you recognise and reward innovative teaching? 
  • Outline how you have enhanced the learning experience for all students – undergraduate and postgraduate – and helped them to maximise their potential.

The judges will also be looking for evidence of how this strategy successfully dovetailed with others as part of the university’s overall strategic plan.. 


Outstanding Support for Students 

This award will be given to the institution that helps students to gain the maximum benefit from their study. Both pastoral and academic support packages will be considered.

  • Describe the background to and context of your approach or initiative, including any distinctive traits in your student body.
  • Explain the nature of the support package. Detail how it works and explain why it is innovative and effective.
  • What were the results? Have you attracted more students, or those from a different demographic? Have you improved student outcomes? How were the measures received by student bodies? Provide evidence of demonstrable progress or success.
  • Outline your principal achievements.
  • Summarise what you were trying to achieve, how you set about achieving it and how you plan to monitor the impact of the scheme.

Technological Innovation of the Year

This award recognises the innovative use of technology to improve any function at a university, be that at institutional, departmental or faculty level. Entries may therefore focus on leadership, management, administration, teaching or research.

Judges will be looking for initiatives that have delivered efficiencies and enhanced productivity, so submissions should ideally demonstrate savings in terms of cost or time as well as improved performance. Providing that impact can be demonstrated, judges will consider projects that are not yet concluded. 

  • Show how the initiative addresses a specific institutional need or challenge.
  • Describe why the initiative is innovative, and outline the technologies and approaches used. 
  • Demonstrate the effective use of leading-edge practices, and how your approach embraces digital technology to implement improvements.
  • Describe how those involved have overcome cultural, financial and other barriers to succeed.
  • Is the innovation scalable, and could it be replicated elsewhere in the sector?