A score of academics will each be Pounds 50,000 richer by summer, when the results of the first National Teaching Fellowship Scheme are announced.
Backed by Pounds 1 million from the Higher Education Council for England's Teaching Quality Enhancement Fund, the award scheme aims to promote excellent teaching in higher education.
Universities in England and Northern Ireland and further education colleges that meet Hefce's criteria can nominate one candidate each. The winners will be picked by a national advisory panel, chaired by Sir Martin Harris, vice-chancellor of Manchester University.
Administered by the Institute for Learning and Teaching, the prizes are part of a broader scheme that also funds teaching and learning at institutional and subject levels.
Details have not been finalised, but Dave McCarthy, NTFS administrator, thinks prize money is intended to go to the academics, rather than the institutions.
Alan Jenkins, an educational developer at Oxford Brookes University, said: "I do worry that if the awards are done Oscar-style, it will take away the responsibility from institutions to ensure that they reward excellent teaching."