The West Yorkshire institution picked up the coveted title at the Times Higher Education Awards 2013, held in London yesterday evening attended by more than 1,000 staff from universities and colleges across the UK.
Judges in the awards were impressed with Huddersfield’s dedication to teaching excellence, the establishment of a new innovation centre and its commitment to being “a university that is at the heart of its home town”.
Among its achievements, the university – which last year won the title of Entrepreneurial University of the Year –created the 3M Buckley Innovation Centre to foster business partnerships; quadrupled its international income since 2008; and in 2012 became the first university where 100 per cent of academic staff had achieved fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.
John Gill, Times Higher Education editor, said: “Huddersfield shone through in the toughest of categories on the strength of an exceptional year across the piece.”
The university’s achievements, he continued, “were backed up impressive figures for both student satisfaction and employability, and a clear sense that Huddersfield is a university that is at the heart of its home town, as well as making a very real contribution to the wider region, the higher education sector, and country as a whole”.
Other winners at the ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane included Roger Brown, professor of higher education at Liverpool Hope University, who won the Lord Dearing Lifetime Achievement Award; and Simon Kemp, principal teaching fellow in engineering and the environment at the University of Southampton, who was named Most Innovative Teacher of the Year.
The University of Strathclyde won Entrepreneurial University of the Year; the University of Leicester won Research Project of the Year; and Aberystwyth University won for its Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology.
The award for Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community went to the University of Manchester; University College London was named as organising the International Collaboration of the Year; and the University of Derby picked up the title for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts.
Other winners included the University of Essex, which won the award for Outstanding Support for Students; Brunel Business School, which was named as Business School of the Year; the University of Edinburgh, which triumphed in the Outstanding Employer Engagement Initiative category; and the University of Greenwich, which took the prize for its Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development.
The London College of Fashion won the award for Widening Participation or Outreach Initiative of the Year, while the prize for Outstanding ICT Initiative of the Year went to the University of Central Lancashire.
The University of Stirling won the title for Most Improved Student Experience and the Welsh Crucible programme won the Outstanding Contribution to Leadership Development award.
The ceremony was conducted by the comedian and presenter Sandi Toksvig.