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Education & Training
Accrington and Rossendale College
Access and achievement in construction industry education

The college’s Construction Department has for many years delivered outstanding education and training in construction industry skills, gaining it a national reputation as a Centre of Excellence. Its partnership with employers and the diverse local community and its high-quality self-assessment system together produce consistently high student outcomes in both qualifications and jobs. The department now leads construction industry training networks regionally and nationally, and is strongly influencing national policy in the development of the qualification framework in this area of work.

Medicine, Health & Welfare
Birkbeck, University of London
Neuropsychological work with the very young: improving the understanding of brain function and cognitive development

Birkbeck’s internationally recognised research investigates one of the increasingly exciting areas of scientific enquiry — the relationship between the mind and the brain. The neural basis of human mental abilities (such as the perception of faces and objects, attention, memory and language) is examined with an emphasis on their development during infancy and childhood. The purpose is to find out how specific brain mechanisms develop to give rise to the cognitive functions that underlie our everyday interactions with the external world and with other people. This research is already helping NHS professionals to diagnose and better treat brain injuries and developmental disorders such as autism, leading to significantly improved outcomes for patients and carers.

Science & Mathematics
University of Cambridge
The Millennium Mathematics Project

The Millennium Mathematics Project is a highly imaginative and innovative outreach initiative created by a group of passionate and dedicated mathematicians and aimed at supporting maths education in primary and secondary schools throughout the UK and promoting the development of mathematical skills and understanding. The project has brought alive mathematics learning — with significant regional, national and international impact. Through, amongst others, its NRich website, online maths magazine and hands-on Maths Roadshow, it has enriched the learning experience for pupils and enhanced enthusiasm for the subject and related careers.

International Dimensions
Chichester College
Developing the college and its community through international student intake and integration

The college’s strategy over ten years to develop its student base through imaginative and innovative international outreach is recognised nationally as an exciting model for Further Education in the UK. The benefits to the college, the locality and the students demonstrate the value of international communities of learners.

Education & Training
Cranfield University
The Fellowship in Manufacturing Management: improving cost effectiveness for industry

This unique and innovative programme is designed for strategic-level managers with careers in manufacturing industry. Its distinctive approach is centred on accelerated development through a combination of residential study followed by twelve months of practical work-based achievement with the aim of developing talented professionals as effective change managers. The Fellowship makes a substantial impact on the careers and personal development of its alumni. It also provides significant productivity improvements to its industry partners and thereby makes a valuable contribution to the UK’s manufacturing competitiveness.

Medicine, Health & Welfare
University of Dundee
Enabling the discovery of new drugs and their development to treat major global diseases

Working with a consortium of public sector agencies and six of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, the university’s unique research methods are accelerating and enhancing the process of discovering new drugs to treat a series of major global diseases which kill and harm millions each year. The university offers a one-stop shop to the pharmaceutical industry, giving access to knowledge both about a key enzyme family, whose activities have implications for cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases and allergies, and about drug development targeting that enzyme family. Its innovative knowledge transfer programme has already yielded commercial benefits to all the parties involved.

Education & Training
The University of Edinburgh
The virtual hospital online: transforming veterinary and medical education

The university’s Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) are an innovative, fully integrated, web-based learning support system for medical and veterinary education. They support two complex five-year undergraduate degree programmes and all of the subjects’ postgraduate students. Through the VLEs, staff are able to create and deliver online learning activities such as virtual ‘patients’ who require diagnosis and treatment, and manage learning resources, assessments and large quantities of course documentation. The system is a world leader in its area and will form the basis of a public health academy for the World Health Organisation.

Medicine, Health & Welfare
University of Exeter
Using genetics to improve clinical care for diabetic patients

Through ten years of pioneering genetic research, the university has developed means for diagnosing Type 2 diabetes much earlier than previously possible and consequently for less painful, less intrusive and less costly treatment. Its work integrates molecular genetics, clinical observation, human physiological investigation, patients’ views and the education of patients and professionals. It has shown that molecular genetic testing for diabetes can dramatically improve clinical care, often resulting in insulin injections being replaced by tablets. The work has been shared with patients and health professionals throughout Europe and is a model for treating other diseases.

The Arts
Guildhall School of Music & Drama
Guildhall Connect: a large-scale programme using musical creativity to engage and inspire young people

The Guildhall Connect project has been a pioneer amongst music outreach programmes. Designed to develop musical creativity among young people, it involves a large number of schools and community organisations in East London, bringing younger players into contact with gifted young professional musicians in a rich programme of workshops that embrace everything from classical to popular music, western and non-western genres, as well as new works created through collaborative workshops, often involving other arts disciplines. The project is innovative and imaginative in its approach to communal creativity, composition and the fusion encouraged between different musical cultures and experiences, and makes a significant contribution to public policy in support of musical education.

Humanities, Social Sciences & Law
Harper Adams University College
Developing women-owned businesses to support the rural economy

Women in Rural Enterprise (WiRE) has helped create and sustain a very large number of women-owned small rural businesses nationwide. Stemming from the university’s research identifying women’s barriers to new business development, WiRE provides a unique university—business network that mentors and gives practical help to women developing rural businesses. It has featured as a best-practice case study in numerous reports, including an OECD regional study on women entrepreneurship, and its approach is being adopted in South Africa, China and the Middle East.

Engineering & Technology
The University of Lancaster
Connecting the last mile: providing the largest rural high-capacity regional broadband network for education in Europe

The university’s pioneering work in the development and implementation of fast, low-cost broadband for the public sector, and provision of accompanying enabling services, has enabled remote schools and community facilities across Lancashire and Cumbria to access web-based resources. Networked throughout the two counties and connecting over 1,500 sites, it is unique in concept and scale within Europe, covering 10,000 sq km in a mountainous rural area in which physical network provision is exceptionally difficult. The university has acted as both a technological enabler and a regional adviser in order to create significant change in the educational, cultural and economic capacity of the region.

Engineering & Technology
Liverpool John Moores University
Developing the world’s largest robotic telescopes and creating access for the public and school students

Through the development and production of a network of the world’s largest fully robotic telescopes, this leading facility for academic space research is both making a major contribution to the world’s observational facilities at the highest level of sophistication and enhancing public access to and awareness of astronomy. The university’s National Schools Observatory website is opening the field up to schools and enthusing large numbers of young people about the study of science and technology, and increased public engagement in astronomy is promoted through the Spaceport Centre (also contributing to the regeneration of the local area), distance learning courses and amateur access to the telescopes via the internet.

Medicine, Health & Welfare
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Reducing blindness worldwide

Eighty per cent of blindness worldwide is either preventable or reversible, and the university has played an internationally influential role in researching and providing training in the prevention and treatment of diseases causing blindness in developing countries. Students learn skills that enable them to assess and control the major diseases that cause blindness and to deliver high-quality eye care to people living in the poorest and most remote rural communities in the world. Staff have been a significant influence in establishing Vision 2020 — the Global Initiative to Eliminate Avoidable Blindness — and it is estimated that the programme will save 100 million from blindness over its 20-year period.

Education & Training
Loreto College
Educational provision in an urban context: raising aspiration and achievement

Located in an area of inner-city deprivation, the college has used a determined, imaginative and innovative approach to recruiting, supporting and teaching students and so has overcome the challenges facing it and achieved national excellence. It now has a reputation for outstanding pass rates, very strong league table scores, high value added rates and very good levels of progression to university. The college today is a thriving establishment with increasing student numbers and a modern campus — a symbol of regeneration and hope for the future of the surrounding area.

Humanities, Social Sciences & Law
Loughborough University
Enhancing social policy nationally

The university’s contribution to social policy through high-quality research, with a record of relevance, practical orientation and innovation, is an outstanding example of how excellence in research can be applied with wide impact and benefit. The research and its dissemination has raised the profile of previously neglected groups, such as young carers, unravelling complex and difficult issues and helping social policy practitioners to address the needs of these groups appropriately. Through its influence on policy makers and legislators in the UK, it has resulted in better targeted social policy and has had a substantial impact both in the UK and overseas.

University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Remedies for mine water pollution worldwide

The heavily contaminated waste water from abandoned mines poses a significant threat to the environment, and the university has established itself as one of the world’s leading centres of expertise in managing the environmental threats from mining operations — now acting as a consultant to many of the world’s leading mining companies. The research programme has two objectives: to further the understanding of the physical and geochemical processes from flooded mines; and to develop inexpensive, socially acceptable and ecologically integrated technologies for the long-term treatment of polluted water from abandoned mines. From this, it is protecting not only people’s water supplies but also many invaluable ecosystems from one of the most insidious forms of water pollution.

Medicine, Health & Welfare
University of Oxford
Uniquely large-scale medical studies: preventing disability and prolonging life

The university has conducted uniquely large-scale studies into the prevention and treatment of cancer, vascular disease and other life-threatening chronic conditions. These projects typically involve extensive collaboration between many investigators not only in the UK but also throughout Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. By studying the causes and treatment of disease in a range of settings, the findings can be widely generalised to different populations throughout the world. The clear results that have emerged from these studies have led to substantial changes in public health policies and treatment strategies worldwide — saving hundreds of thousands of lives and preventing serious disability.

The Queen’s University of Belfast
Ionic liquids: a green solution for pollution

Ionic liquids provide a compelling alternative to ozone-depleting and carcinogenic solvents, and the university’s Ionic Liquid Laboratories are the premier world centre in the field, delivering pioneering research that is assisting the UK chemical industry in moving to cleaner, greener, and more profitable production. An outstanding example of industry—university collaboration, the development of ‘ionic liquids’ is a significant UK-led achievement providing solutions for one of the primary sources of pollution.

The University of Reading
Weather and climate science: research, training and informing environmental policymaking

The university’s Department of Meteorology is one of the most highly regarded in the world and it has been contributing crucially to the national and international understanding of weather and climate. Recent developments include important new models, for example predicting the vulnerability of crops to climate variability, and key contributions to the understanding of the potential impacts of changes in deep ocean circulation in the North Atlantic. The continuing development of atmospheric models will assist the calculation of the global warming potential of greenhouse gases by industry and governments.

Engineering & Technology
University of Southampton
Sound and vibration: improving the quality of life for the profoundly deaf and reducing noise pollution

For over forty years the university’s acoustic and vibration research have been contributing fundamentally to our understanding of sound and the resulting engineering innovations have had a profound impact on our quality of life. Significant developments include reducing noise in aircraft and railways; the application of bubble acoustics leading to a prototype device to monitor kidney therapy; and creating bilateral cochlear implants for profoundly deaf people which have been restoring a spatial sense of sound and so improving safety, multi-tasking performance and social confidence.

The University of York
Novel agricultural products: a sustainable future for farming, manufacturing, health care and crime prevention

Highly innovative research into plant and microbe-based renewable resources has led to important discoveries both in enzymes for clean manufacturing in the chemical industry and in non-food crops to regenerate rural economies. Amongst their many important discoveries have been: new abundant sources of nutritional supplements; novel routes to semi-synthetic painkillers; clean technologies for environmentally friendly manufacturing; biological clean-up tools for toxic explosives; and biosensors to detect illicit drug trafficking. Ongoing practical partnerships with business and consequent product developments place the university at the leading edge of agro-economics.