The 21 universities and further education colleges who are the winners of the Queen's Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education are the first beneficiaries of a scheme designed to find the best use for the unspent charitable funds donated by private and public sector companies and organisations to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Queen's accession to the throne.
The Royal Anniversary Trust concluded that a national awards scheme would leave in place something of lasting benefit to education and would be a fitting tribute to the Queen. Royal approval of a biennial scheme was announced by John Major in November 1993 with support from the opposition and other parliamentary parties.
The prizes aim to recognise and reward: * significant contributions and benefits that universities and colleges throughout the United Kingdom make to social, economic, cultural and intellectual life; * exceptional work of the highest standard taking place within institutions; * the crucial, creative and responsive roles that higher and further education play in the life of the nation.
The awards will be given every two years until 2002. Entries from individual institutions go through a lengthy and rigorous sifting process against criteria set by individuals of distinction, expertise and experience from learned and professional societies and organisations in the United Kingdom and overseas.
About 400 assessors were involved in the four rounds of judging which produced the final list, carefully vetting the 200 or so entries, of which just under half came from the further education sector. Entries considered to have produced the most outstanding achievements of excellence of service and benefit to the nation were judged by the awards council of the Royal Anniversary Trust, which made recommendations to the Prime Minister for his advice to the Queen for affirmation of the final list.
Sir Robin Gill, chairman of the executive committee, said: "The process was exhausting and huge and, we think, a significant success."
Although the newly-independent further education colleges were competing against some major players, Sir Robin insists no concessions were made. "The year 1993/94 has been a fairly fraught time for the colleges. For them to enter a scheme like this was a huge challenge."
Brett Bonner, director of the the Queen's Prizes Office, added: "The big institutions did not float through. They all had to prove their case in exactly the same way."
The winners will be authorised to display a specially designed logo emblem approved by the Queen, for three years.
List Of Prize Winners.
Aberdeen College Training courses relating to explosion risk.
In collaboration with the oil industry, Aberdeen pioneered the development of training courses for people involved with the installation, maintenance and inspection of electrical equipment in the hostile environment of North Sea oil rigs.
Citation "This is pioneering training of a very demanding nature in an exceptional and hazardous field. A national success with international relevance".
Bournemouth University Services to scientific conservation.
The new department of conservation sciences has assembled a programme of research, consultancy services and degree and diploma courses, on a uniquely inter-disciplinary basis and is making significant contributions to answering the many complex problems relating to the protection of our national heritage.
Citation "Entirely new degreeand diploma courses in the important field of conservation sciences with outstanding graduate placement results. An international growth field".
Burton upon TrentTechnical College Anglo-French collaboration: vocational training for the polymer industry.
Collaboration with a lycee in France has led to a successful range of education and training courses in the design and manufacture of equipment for polymer injection moulding. This has been made possible by pooling the expertise and resources of the two colleges to produce low-cost courses.
Citation "A fruitful collaboration with France for vocational training in a vital industrial field leading to wider political and economic cooperation. An exemplar for others".
Chippenham College Acquisition of National Vocational Qualifications.
The college pioneered the application of accredited prior learning to provide a fast and approved method of obtaining further qualifications based on present and past work experience. The method has been used with local companies and within the Armed Services.
Hundreds of service personnel and members of their families have benefited by enabling them to obtain NVQ qualifications recognised by civilian employers, universities and colleges.
Citation "Well structured courses to benefit personnel in H M Armed Services and others to obtain national vocational qualifications by accrediting prior learning experience. An important initiative of national value".
Croydon College The successful development of flexible learning workshops Greatly improved student recruitment, retention and examination successes have been the result of flexible learning workshops which align students' needs and the teaching response on an individual basis.
Citation "This is an exemplary programme on a large scale to help individual students match their different learning speeds and needs with the demands and time constraints of courses and examinations".
University of Durham Improving awareness of science and engineering in schools.
Schoolchildren, their teachers and others receive a greater understanding of the importance of science, technology and engineering through a collaborative venture known as INPUT, involving the university, industry and schools throughout the north of England.
Citation "A large scale solution to the recurring national problem of stimulating schoolchildren to reach for careers, and therefore educational prospects, in sciences and engineering. It is of national and international significance."
University of Glasgow Offering the cultural resource to the people.
Glasgow University's visitors' centre enables local people and visitors to find out about the university's vast array of artistic, scientific and historical treasures, the impressive range of facilities and services available and its extra-curricula courses and learning activities.
Citation "A model approach to making the university's diverse cultural and other resources widely available to the public, which can be replicated elsewhere".
Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh Department of petroleum engineering.
The department is the United Kingdom's leading academic training and research centre in this multi-disciplinary field. It sustains an academic-industrial partnership in technological excellence which supplies graduates for key technical-managerial posts in the oil industry worldwide.
Citation "Its educational and research activity for the oil and gas industry is world class. Model cooperation and collaboration with exploration companies at demanding new engineering frontiers".
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine The Centre for Environmental Technology.
Leading academics from a range of disciplines are drawn together to develop solutions to environmental problems worldwide, including the conservation of endangered large animals and air pollution. Its teaching and research span the issues concerned with the impact of mankind on the environment. Its postgraduate courses have been designed to inform policy and regulation, and to meet the need for scientists and engineers to tackle present problems and future environmental issues.
Citation "A comprehensive educational, research and consultancy programme covering the environmental sciences. It is addressing an international need".
City and Islington College Achievement and progression to higher education.
Staff have pioneered innovative and successful schemes for increasing the uptake of higher education by inner-city students, particularly from ethnic minorities.
Citation "These schemes are innovative and imaginative. They are clearly of great benefit in meeting the needs of the students this college serves. The three model initiatives have played an important part in increasing morale and achievement in the community".
University of Lancaster Creating opportunities for those with special needs.
This university has developed a comprehensive training programme to help academic staff understand the learning and social needs of students with physical disabilities and learning impairments. It also provides a range of specialist services and learning aids.
Citation "This very imaginative programme fully integrates those with physical disabilities into student life in all its aspects. It is an exemplar."
University of Leicester Developments in astronomy, space and planetary science.
The international status of the United Kingdom in developments in the "big sciences" of astronomy, space and planetary science has been raised by Leicester's department of physics and astronomy. In collaboration with British industry, it has also brought forward innovative technological products which are being developed for sale worldwide: and, through an exciting programme of events, it has raised the awareness of the country to the importance of space and space science.
Citation "A world-class teaching, research and consultancy programme in astronomy, space and planetary science fields. Practical results from advanced thinking".
Loughborough University of Technology Partnership with the aerospace and other industries.
This university has forged close partnerships with major international aerospace companies. It is providing specialist degree courses, joint industrial training programmes and initiatives with schools.
Citation "An exemplary series of engineering degree, diploma and research programmes for aerospace and motor employment needs, attracting student applications on a worldwide basis".
Luton Sixth Form College Health Education HIV/AIDS: the young teaching the young.
A grass-roots initiative to train students of this further education college to lead information sessions and workshops about sexual health and HIV/AIDS for other young people. Students undertake this formal and professionally approved training on a volunteer basis and in their own time.
Citation "An outstanding example of student voluntary effort applied imaginatively in support of public health promotion policy. An excellent example of work in the community".
University of Oxford Exploitation of intellectual property for wealth creation.
A major programme linking all departments of the university to worldwide users of its know-how, and fostering spin-off companies to exploit this intellectual property. The approach includes an imaginative two-way connection between academe and industrial and commercial wealth creators through an Innovation Society, enabling industry and commerce to inform the university of its needs, and the university to make its capabilities widely known.
Citation "This is a world-class programme to make available to industry and commerce the university's full array of intellectual skills. An important and innovative feature is to keep the university in touch with users and their needs through the Innovation Society".
University of Plymouth Widening access to education.
The serious problem of attracting and retaining students from inner city areas and across widely scattered rural communities with inadequate public transport has been successfully tackled by Plymouth.
Citation "An exceptionally well thought out and executed programme to improve educational opportunity in a scattered rural environment. Innovative and capable of replication".
The Queen's University of Belfast Servicing the legal system.
Individuals, organisations and companies in small jurisdictions face particular problems in obtaining information about all aspects of current law. The programme run by this university provides a vital service by producing a continuing series of up-to-date and informative legal publications and conferences.
Citation "This is an outstanding service to overcome the special problems of distributing knowledge about new law inside a small jurisdiction. This is an international exemplar".
Royal College of Art Design age -- developing design responses for products for an ageing population.
The early 21st century will see 130 million people aged over 50 in Europe alone. Design Age is a multi-disciplinary action research project bringing together the traditions of academic research and postgraduate degree course work. This project is investigating and encouraging a multi-generational approach to all areas of environmental and product design.
Citation "This is an imaginative and extremely valuable contribution to the design questions arising from ageing populations. An international exemplar with close industrial and commercial connections and involving all faculties and students".
University College London Towards the control of cancer.
This medical school, with its high concentration of student doctors, clinicians and research scientists has underpinned its pioneering work in medical and surgical treatment with a centre which provides a unique communication and counselling service. In particular it provides training courses to help students and academics develop the necessary skills to aid patients and to help their families understand the implications of their treatments.
Citation "This is an exceptional and important programme attaching high significance to patient and family care where cancer treatment is concerned. This is attached to world class research and treatment processes. An international exemplar".
University of Manchester Institute of Science & Technology Transfer of knowledge.
This is a comprehensive model for effective collaboration between a science and management-based university and committed industrial partners in the cause of wealth creation. As a result of the dynamic interaction of academe, government, investors and employees all participants have benefitted from this novel approach to technology transfer.
Citation "This major and well-developed international programme brings the university's field of scientific and technical knowledge into widespread use for the benefit of the nation".
Wye College, University of London Professional development at a distance.
A significant and innovative international university programme providing distance learning courses in rural development and environmental management. It reaches 100 countries enabling them to obtain quality training without leaving the workplace.
Citation "These programmes bring great benefit to developing agricultural economies across the world. They cement a continuing connection with the UK".