Pete Downes, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Dundee, is knighted, while John Cater, vice-chancellor of Edge Hill University – the most recent Times Higher Education University of the Year – is made a CBE.
Also appointed CBE are Julian Crampton, vice-chancellor of the University of Brighton and Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK.
Among other academics to receive top honours are economist Frances Cairncross, former rector of Exeter College, Oxford and Anne Glover, former chief scientific adviser to the president of the European Commission, who are both made dames.
Also made dames are Frances Ashcroft, professor of physiology at the University of Oxford and Vicki Bruce, vice-president for public engagement at the British Academy and professor of psychology at Newcastle University.
Among those knighted is Munir Pirmohamed, David Weatherall chair in medicine at the University of Liverpool and director of the Medical Research Council Centre for Drug Safety Sciences.
Harry Bhadeshia, Tata Steel professor of metallurgy at the University of Cambridge, is also knighted, as are economist Stephen Nickell, former warden of Nuffield College, Oxford and Ian Weller, emeritus professor of sexually transmitted diseases at University College London.
There is also a knighthood for Philip Campbell, editor-in-chief of prestigious science journal Nature.
Meanwhile, among those made an MBE is John Ashdown-Hill, a historian who was heavily involved in the original campaign to find the remains of Richard III. Philippa Langley, a fellow prominent member of the Richard III society, is also made an MBE.