This week's Times Higher Awards were hailed by government and university leaders as a valuable celebration of the very best higher education has to offer.
Tributes to the winners and nominees were led by Bill Rammell, the Higher Education Minister, who presented the Institution of the Year Award to Nottingham University at Wednesday's ceremony held at the London Hilton on Park Lane.
Mr Rammell said: "Well done to all of the nominees and winners for their innovation, dedication and hard work. The Times Higher awards are a fantastic opportunity to recognise, celebrate and reward the brilliant work taking place across the higher education sector."
John O'Leary, editor of The Times Higher , paid tribute to Lisa Jardine, professor of renaissance studies at Queen Mary, University of London, who won the Lifetime Achievement Award. He said: "Lisa has been a terrific ambassador for higher education and continues to be an inspiration to her students at Queen Mary. She is a truly deserving winner in what was a very strong field."
Baroness Warwick, chief executive of Universities UK, said: "Higher education is a major social, cultural and economic asset for our country.
The Times Higher awards are a wonderful way to recognise and celebrate the world-class achievements of our institutions and the academics working in them. I hope they become a firm fixture in the higher education calendar."
Sally Hunt, joint general secretary of the University and College Union, said: "The professionalism and dedication of staff in higher education, often against considerable odds, never ceases to amaze me. I am pleased to support this event, which reminds the employers, the public and Government about the extraordinary work our people do."
Research Councils UK sponsored the award for Outstanding Support for Early Career Researchers. Iain Cameron, head of the RCUK's Research Careers and Diversity Unit, said: "These awards provide an opportunity to highlight and celebrate some of the excellent work being done."
Next week: coverage from the awards. Pictures online from November 20 at www.thes.co.uk