THE Awards 2021: shortlist announced

‘Oscars of higher education’ attract record number of entries and head to new venue

September 9, 2021
Trophies for THE Awards 2021 shortlist announced

After a year like no other, the shortlists for the 2021 Times Higher Education Awards – the “Oscars of higher education” – have been announced.

Seventy-eight institutions and teams are in the running across 20 categories, with the nominees having been picked from a record haul of nearly 600 entries. Institutions in the Republic of Ireland have been able to enter for the first time in the awards’ 17-year history, alongside their UK peers.

The awards will celebrate achievements during the 2019-20 academic year, when the Covid-19 pandemic forced widespread campus shutdowns. As ever, they cover the full range of university activity – both academic and professional services, from front-line staff through all levels of leadership and management.

This year’s shortlists are topped by the universities of Nottingham and Reading, which make five appearances each, while Newcastle and Salford universities both get four mentions. There are hat-tricks for five more – Anglia Ruskin and Sheffield Hallam universities, the universities of Central Lancashire and St Andrews, and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

In the running for the coveted University of the Year title are Aston and Cardiff Metropolitan universities, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Open University, and the universities of Sunderland and York.

John Gill, THE’s editor, said this year’s awards would “reflect a period of turmoil and innovation necessitated by the pandemic”, yet the record number of entries was a sign of “the brilliance of universities across the whole of the UK and Ireland”.

“With almost 600 institutions, teams and individuals nominated, it really is a fantastic achievement to make it on to this year’s shortlists,” Mr Gill said.

“We look forward to celebrating the incredible response of university staff in exceptionally tough circumstances when we gather for the ‘Oscars of higher education’ in November.”

In another break from THE Awards tradition, this year’s awards will be presented at a new venue – the Hilton London Metropole – on 25 November. The awards will follow the two-day THE Campus Live UK&IE event, held at the same venue.

For more information, and to register, visit

Business School of the Year

International Collaboration of the Year

Knowledge Exchange/Transfer Initiative of the Year

Most Innovative Teacher of the Year
Sponsored by Advance HE

Outstanding Contribution to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Sponsored by Advance HE

Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community

Outstanding Entrepreneurial University
Sponsored by the National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education

Outstanding Estates Team

Outstanding Library Team
Sponsored by Kortext

Outstanding Marketing/Communications Team

Outstanding Research Supervisor of the Year
Sponsored by Elsevier

Outstanding Support for Students

Outstanding Technician of the Year
Sponsored by Technician Commitment

Research Project of the Year: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Research Project of the Year: STEM
Sponsored by Elsevier

Technological or Digital Innovation of the Year

THE DataPoints Merit Award
Sponsored by THE DataPoints

With COP26, the UN Climate Change summit, coming to Glasgow this autumn, our data team decided to look at how UK and Irish universities performed on relevant measures in the THE Impact Rankings. The shortlisted institutions are leading the way on practices such as energy efficiency, sustainability, environmental education and net-zero carbon commitments.

Widening Participation or Outreach Initiative of the Year

THE Outstanding Achievement Award
Sponsored by Anderson Quigley

There is no shortlist for this category. The winner, chosen by THE, will be announced at the awards ceremony.

University of the Year
Sponsored by Adobe

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