THE Awards 2022 Winners Announced

Professor Dame Mary Beard took home the THE Outstanding Achievement Award trophy at the eighteenth annual THE Awards and Northumbria University won the University of the Year award.
November 21, 2022
The Awards 2022

The THE Awards – widely referred to as the ‘Oscars of higher education’ – are the biggest celebration in the HE calendar, attracting hundreds of fantastic entries from individuals, teams and institutions, and from all corners of the UK and Ireland.

Nearly a thousand people gathered at the Hilton London Metropole hotel to celebrate one of our greatest national success stories: our universities.

Please note that this year’s THE Awards primarily focus on activity during the 2020-21 academic year.

THE Outstanding Achievement Award
Professor Dame Mary Beard

Ask 100 members of the UK public to name an academic, and there’s a fair chance that a significant majority would offer the same name.

Professor Dame Mary Beard, who stepped down as professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge this year after four decades at the institution, is known for a multitude of reasons.

As a scholar, she has broken through the ivory tower’s walls and brought her unique enthusiasm for her subject – and, crucially, what it can teach us about contemporary life and politics – to the world.

She is known for her numerous television series that manage to be both highbrow and unerringly accessible.

She is a long-time columnist (“A Don’s Life” remains a fixture in The Times Literary Supplement) and media commentator. 

But in recent years she has cut through most strikingly on social media, where her contributions to daily debates, drawing on her academic expertise, bring depth and humour to a platform that is more often characterised by pettiness and dissent.

Alongside the media work, she has above all else shown what it means to be a deeply committed scholar, teaching at Newnham College, Cambridge, since 1984, and concluding her tenure with a parting gift of an endowment to help students from under-represented groups study Classics.

At a time when the role of academics in general and the arts and humanities in particular are questioned by some, UK higher education is fortunate to have a star that shines as brightly as Dame Mary, and it is our honour to present her with this year’s THE Outstanding Achievement Award.

Upon receiving the THE Outstanding Achievement Award, Professor Dame Mary Beard said:

“It does begin to look as if we are going to face what you might call a ‘bonfire of the humanities’ and I think that everyone in the higher education sector needs to start to shout and argue very cogently that facing the future successfully demands arts research and teaching, as well as science,” Dame Mary said. “We need arts and humanities to help us think about the ways that we can process the information that comes to us.”

University of the Year
Northumbria University

The past two years have thrown extraordinary challenges at universities, challenges that were met with equally extraordinary responses from across the whole of UK higher education.

But sometimes, the achievements that secure the University of the Year title are less about a response to immediate circumstances and more about the success of a long-term strategy.

So it is with Northumbria University, which in 2008 set out to transform from a post-92 into a research-intensive modern university.

That culminated in 2021 with a Research Excellence Framework submission recording the biggest rise in research power of any UK university for the second REF in a row, a measure that reflects strength across the institution.

Equally important to the judges’ decision was the fact that Northumbria’s transformation has not been to the detriment of the crucial role it plays as a modern university within its city and region.

Currently, 40 per cent of undergraduates under the age of 21 are from widening participation backgrounds, significant proportions enter via foundation courses, and Northumbria places as many graduates into highly skilled employment in the north-east region as all the Russell Group institutions combined.

“Northumbria is an example of a university that set a long-term strategy and pursued it with great clarity, transforming the institution’s research profile but without leaving behind its hugely valuable and distinctive attributes as a modern university,” the judges said.

“The scale of its ambition, the rigour and effectiveness with which it has been pursued, and its role in transforming lives and supporting its region all make it a deserving winner of this year’s title.”

THE editor, John Gill, said:

Two and a half years after the Covid crisis hit, it is easy to forget or to take for granted the exceptional challenge that it posed to universities.

“Not only was the world looking to our scientists and research teams to find a way out of the pandemic, universities were also being asked to continue to teach and nurture cohorts of students who, like all of us, had seen their lives and plans turned upside down.

“The Times Higher Education Awards have, for almost two decades, tracked the exceptional achievements of our universities – surely these islands' greatest asset.

“This year, the shortlists and winners reflect a particular moment in time, the 2020-21 academic year, when universities were coming to terms with and continuing to respond to the changed circumstances imposed by the pandemic.

“As such, it is inevitable that those heroic efforts related to the Covid crisis are represented, but what is perhaps more striking is how rich and diverse the entries to this year’s awards were, how focused on the core missions of universities to deliver world-changing research, life-changing teaching, and all the other ways in which they engage and support communities, regions and the country.

“There is little sense in this year’s submissions, and particularly among the winners, of universities struggling through such exceptional times.

“Instead, the picture that is painted is of a sector that has risen to the occasion with skill and confidence, and refused to be pushed off course.

Here is the full list of this year’s winners; profiles of their winning entries can be viewed here.

THE Outstanding Achievement Award

Professor Dame Mary Beard


Outstanding Support for Students

St Mary’s University, Twickenham


Outstanding Contribution to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

University of Huddersfield


Knowledge Exchange/Transfer Initiative of the Year

Middlesex University


Outstanding Technician of the Year

Hong Lin, University of Reading


Technological or Digital Innovation of the Year

Royal Northern College of Music


Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community

Sheffield Hallam University


Research Project of the Year: STEM

University of Reading


Outstanding Estates Team

Dublin City University


International Collaboration of the Year

University of York


Outstanding Library Team

Lancaster University


THE DataPoints Merit Award

University College Cork


Widening Participation or Outreach Initiative of the Year

Dublin City University


Outstanding Entrepreneurial University

London School of Economics and Political Science


Outstanding Research Supervisor of the Year

Andrew Radford, University of Bristol


Research Project of the Year: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

University of Leicester, in collaboration with the University of Foggia


Business School of the Year

University of Exeter Business School


Outstanding Marketing/Communications Team

King’s College London and ZOE


Most Innovative Teacher of the Year

Michael Daly, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences


University of the Year

Northumbria University


You will find more on the THE Awards website, at Times Higher Education and there is excellent, in-depth coverage of some of this year’s finalists at THE Campus.   

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