Sussex shortlisted for 'University of the Year' award

Posted On 01 Sep 2011 at 6:42 pm

Sussex University has been shortlisted for the University of the Year category of the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards.

Staff and students will find out if they have won on Thursday 24 November when the awards ceremony is held in London.

Professor Michael Farthing, the university’s vice-chancellor, said: “This is fabulous news for everyone at Sussex as we enter our 50th anniversary year.

“It is a tremendous tribute to the hard work of the staff and students, which has led to widespread recognition of the university as an excellent place to work and to study.”

The awards are open to all higher education institutions in the UK.

Judges for the University of the Year category were looking for evidence of strong research, teaching, access and business performance and particularly bold, imaginative and innovative initiatives.

The improvements at Sussex, as listed in the university’s entry for the award, include

  • Undergraduate applications rising by more than 50 per cent in two years – five times the national average
  • Postgraduate applications for taught degrees doubling over two years, with the university on course to admit more than 2,100 postgraduate taught students in 2011-12
  • Research income growth up more than 30 per cent since 2007
  • A steady annual rise in league table rankings placing Sussex firmly in Britain’s top 20 and rated among the top 80 institutions worldwide in the 2010 Times Higher Education World Rankings
  • Rising year on year to 7th place in the National Student Survey 2010 up from 122nd in 2007

The university said that recent improvements at Sussex had been driven by an ambitious strategic plan called Making the Future 2009-2015.

The plan was intended to help the university carry out more research, recruit more students, improve the student experience and revitalise the campus.

The university said that it had strengthened the student experience by introducing attractive subjects such as business and management.

It has developed Sussex Plus to help students to document their extra-curricular skills and experience and has invested in 70 doctoral studentships worth more than £3 million.

In the past year 25 professors have been appointed, reflecting a commitment to investment in areas of academic strength and innovation, especially in the sciences.

And it is now completing a £100 million investment in new academic buildings, student housing at the Falmer campus and refurbishing the library.

The university has also been shortlisted in the THE Awards Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology category.

The shortlisting recognises the development of the electric potential sensor (EPS), a non-contact voltmeter capable of acquiring almost any electrical signal remotely.

The university said that the technology has a wide range of interdisciplinary applications.

It can monitor a patient’s heart rate remotely through a handheld sensor and measure the electrical imprint of fingerprints.

It has been developed by a team based in the university’s Department of Engineering and Design, led by Professor Robert Prance.

It is being licensed and manufactured by Plessey Semiconductors.

In June the EPS application was awarded a Gold Medal at the world’s leading Sensor Expo in America.

Professor Robert Allison, pro-vice-chancellor (research), said: “We are delighted that the EPS has been recognised as a major achievement.”

He said that the technology could improve people’s quality of life, their safety and security, wealth generation and new research tools by providing

  • affordable healthcare solutions for the ageing population
  • passive sensors for the security and safety markets and
  • a new generation of test and measurement equipment for physical, biological and medical research and for the semiconductor and materials manufacturing sectors

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