More than 20 universities and colleges have been chosen to receive awards for excellence from the Queen, writes Jessica Shepherd.
Universities as far apart as Reading and Dundee have been selected as winners of the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.
The Queen will present representatives of the universities with medals at Buckingham Palace in February.
More than 300 judges from academe, business and civic life selected the winners.
The successful entries were chosen for their impact on communities, as well as for their quality - among them, Edinburgh University, which has set up an online hospital offering veterinary and medical information.
Others, such as Liverpool John Moores University, were rewarded for their efforts to bring schools through their doors.
The winners of the awards, which are organised every two years by education charity The Royal Anniversary Trust, include three further education colleges.
Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, said: "The breadth of the achievement of the winners is an outstanding testament to the remarkable work being done by universities and colleges in the UK.
"They clearly demonstrate that we can be proud of our educational institutions and of the expertise and commitment to excellence of those who teach in them."
The winners are:
- Loughborough University for work on social policy
- Queen's University Belfast for work with ionic liquids and their application in the treatment of pollution
- London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine for reducing blindness worldwide
- Exeter University for use of genetics to improve care for diabetes patients
- Cranfield University for its fellowship in manufacturing management
- Edinburgh University for improving veterinary and medical training through its virtual hospital initiative
- Harper Adams University College for developing women-owned businesses to support the rural economy
- Cambridge University for its Millennium Mathematics Project
- Birkbeck, University of London, for work to improve the understanding of brain function and cognitive development in the very young
- Guildhall School of Music and Drama for Guildhall Connect to inspire and engage young people's musical creativity
- Lancaster University for providing the largest rural high-connectivity regional broadband network for education in Europe
- Newcastle University for work on mine water pollution
- Reading University for research into weather and climate science
- York University for developing new agricultural products
- Chichester College for its work with international students
- Southampton University for its work on sound and vibration to improve the quality of life for the profoundly deaf and reducing noise pollution
- Dundee University for enabling the discovery of new drugs and their development to treat major global diseases
- Oxford University for its unique large-scale medical studies into preventing disability and prolonging life
- Liverpool John Moores University for developing the world's largest robotic telescopes and creating access for the public and school pupils
- Accrington and Rossendale College for access and achievement in construction industry education
- Loreto College, Manchester, for raising aspiration and achievement among students in city environments.