London Higher announces shortlist for awards

We are delighted to have received 159 submissions across 12 categories from 38 universities. Our shortlist is below:

1. Widening participation or outreach initiative of the year 

Ravensbourne University LondonBreakthrough was a 6 week participatory project for creative learners aged 16+ from London and the surrounding areas, aiming to address the deficit in cultural and creative experiences due to the pandemic. Sessions took part on Saturdays at Ravensbourne’s building in North Greenwich, with the exception of a visit to the Southbank Centre to see the Koestler Trust Exhibition, ‘Freedom’. The project aimed to make a space for creative learners to try something new, develop existing skills, further their knowledge and interact with people outside their ‘bubble’. The project had a core team of Student Ambassadors with different visiting tutors each week to mimic the University experience. The project allowed participants to get it wrong, develop ideas and explore London. 

St Mary’s University Twickenham From humble beginnings as a 2-day residential with 20 students, Get Set for Success has evolved into a yearly multi-dimensional, sector-leading, collaborative, extended induction initiative for more than 400 invited students from traditionally under-represented or disadvantaged backgrounds. Designed to address gaps in experience for particular groups identified by research1 to be potentially vulnerable in the early stages of HE, this initiative focuses on increasing confidence and fostering a sense of belonging, from the summer before entry throughout the first semester and beyond. The co-created programme is adaptable to experience, feedback and some extreme circumstances, including flooding, the death of a monarch during the residential event, and pandemic restrictions! Hugely popular with staff and students, it consistently demonstrates clear, positive outcomes from the annual comprehensive evaluation undertaken. 

City, University of LondonIn partnership between Bayes Business School and the Portal Trust, the Schools Engagement Programme (SEP) boosts aspiration by empowering young people through near-peer mentoring as part of the academic curriculum. This programme connects final year undergraduate Business students with Year 12 pupils from disadvantaged communities. In 2023/24,  four schools and 162 pairs of mentors-mentees participated in the programme. SEP works differently to other student mentoring programmes as it is an important element on the academic curriculum (15 final year credits). This means student mentors study coaching skills for 22 hours in 11 workshops before working with Year 12 students in 8 sessions during the Spring Term. This provides a unique, free to access opportunity for schools in our community delivering mutual benefits for the school mentees and student mentors, who develop valuable employability skills.  

Middlesex University London – The NHS Health and Social Care Careers Fair is an annual event showcasing a broad range of careers to local students aged 14+. The event is led by the North Central London (NCL) Training Hub who seek to develop the current and future primary care workforce by increasing awareness and access to roles within primary care, and has been run in collaboration with Middlesex University for several years. The Fair aims to encourage young people from diverse backgrounds to consider university and healthcare courses by inviting a range of healthcare professionals to the University’s London campus to discuss careers and pathways to their roles with the young attendees. A flagship of Middlesex’s commitment to promoting social mobility and expanding alternative entry routes into higher education, the March 2023 event had 381 attendees – 108 of whom were from our partner colleges, which have high numbers of disadvantaged students. 

Queen Mary University of LondonTaking place at Queen Mary’s Mile East London campuses, the Queen Mary Futures programme provides students who are under-represented in higher education with a chance to explore their preferred subject at university and prepare for university-level study. The four-week itinerary of on-campus activities allows Year 12 students to gain an insight into studying a range of academic subjects at Queen Mary, in line with their study interests. Students also benefit from tailored skill development sessions, as well as enhanced information, advice and guidance about the career opportunities that exist with different courses. 

University of RoehamptonIn 2023, Roehampton and arts and cultural organisation Wimbledon BookFest collaborated to host an innovative event that provided 600 students from five Merton and Wandsworth state schools and colleges the opportunity to experience and explore higher education, and explore vital issues affecting society through contributions from leading speakers. The event showed demonstrated the value of partnership: a London university working with a local cultural organisation to create a distinctive and inspiring experience. The event, held on 24 May on the Roehampton campus, included speeches and interactive Q&As from Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and communications strategist, journalist and mental health advocate Alastair Campbell. Students also attended talks and lectures by academic colleagues and other external speakers, from a wide range of subject areas. 


2. Healthcare partnership of the year 

Middlesex University LondonThe longstanding dynamic partnership between North Central London Integrated Care System (NCL) and Middlesex University, spanning 8 years is underpinned by a shared philosophy and valuing of working with Adult Social Care (ASC).  

National projections are forecasting 25% vacancies in ASC workforce by 2035. To tackle this in 2022/2023 NCL asked people staying in care homes, their families, and staff, what they felt was important to inform future workforce development and undertook a survey to understand the needs of nurses working in care homes and their views on supporting student nurse placements. Feedback highlighted challenges with employing and retaining nurses due to a lack of high-quality clinical training and a related inability to develop their nurses, which impacted on their capacity to support student nurses and trainee nursing associates. This spearheaded Middlesex University and NCL teams to work proactively with people in this community to address these challenges. 

University College LondonProlonged A&E waits compromise safety, cause patient distress, extend hospital stays and are stressful for staff. Often the cause is hospital beds not being available in time for incoming patients. UCL researchers have partnered with the Coordination Centre at University College London Hospitals to help them to improve patient flow using advanced analytics. Our model, which predicts how many emergency hospital admissions there will be over the coming hours, has become embedded in daily use by the hospital’s bed managers in the last year. Recognising its value, the hospital recently invested in its continuation in-house, and in extending the partnership to develop further models that predict the supply of beds. This work has wider benefits for health services in North Central London because urgent and emergency care capacity is interconnected. The team is also developing resources to support NHS analysts to apply the model in other London hospitals and beyond. 

Buckinghamshire New UniversityThe Peer Enhanced e-Placement (PEeP) is an evidence based online placement model which allows students to meet their practice learning proficiencies. This project, funded by NHS England, involved the rollout of PEeP across 5 university partners (BNU, Brunel University London, Kingston University, University of West London, King’s Colleges London) and 3 mental health practice learning providers (West London NHS Trust, Central North West London NHS Foundation Trust and South West London and St Georges Mental Health NHS Trust). The project aimed to address the reduction in placement capacity and enhance mental health knowledge and skills. PEeP was successfully delivered for 136 students, resulting in a 95% satisfaction rate with 100% of students acknowledging that it had enhanced their knowledge and skills.  The programme had a significant impact in increasing placement capacity for students whilst also providing clinical staff with periods of respite and reflection between students. 

University of GreenwichThe partnership between the University of Greenwich and Lifecast resulted in a world-first and continues to positively impact healthcare training globally. We were already providing ultra-realistic training experiences in our Critical Care Simulation and Training Facilities – including an ambulance and a ‘flat’ for our trainee paramedics – when staff at our Learning and Simulation Centre identified a gap in the provision of life-like simulations for our healthcare students. Working with partners Lifecast, and with the Down Syndrome Association GB, the university helped to develop the world’s first training manikin of a child with Down syndrome, modelled on 7 year old Gwen. The manikin is now used for training around the world and has transformed how healthcare students train, but she began her ‘life’ at the university’s Avery Hill campus as part of our commitment to innovation, collaboration and student success. 

King’s College LondonYouTube is accessed by two billion users each month globally, with over 49 million in the UK alone. It is the second largest search engine in the world with viewers often turning to the channel for their mental health and wellbeing needs. Social media is populated with health and wellbeing information overload and often misinformation. The objective of the video series ‘Mind of the Matter’ was to get to the truth about mental health direct from the experts, in one easy location. It was the first time in the UK that YouTube joined forces with a university and its partner NHS Trusts, with the intention of balancing the amount of ‘influencer-led’ content with simple, credible and reliable information from the experts. 

3. Outstanding contribution to equality, diversity & inclusion in London 

Goldsmiths, University of LondonAcross the UK, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students are less likely to receive a good degree than white students. Students of colour disproportionately face financial barriers to higher education; and if they are able to access it, systemic racial bias means they cannot expect equal outcomes to their white peers. Goldsmiths’ Equity Awards are a targeted intervention to address this ‘awarding gap’. The initiative offers Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students a combination of financial, academic and pastoral support to encourage and facilitate their success, in a forward-thinking way.  Students are given opportunities to engage in events and activities that build confidence, support their aspirations, and empower them to use their education and skills to have a positive impact on society. 

University of GreenwichTackling an historically taboo topic head-on, the University of Greenwich has invested significantly in its work to become a Menopause-friendly employer. By listening to the voice of a lone member of staff, who was willing to share her debilitating experience of menopause in the workplace, the University has developed a rich suite of resources for all staff directly and indirectly affected by the Menopause. It has taken an intersectional perspective, embedding menopause awareness in its policies, providing a platform for those affected by the menopause on its channels and developed an ongoing campaign championed across the whole organisation. Its work over the last three years has led to the university contributing to the EHRC menopause guidance and sharing its learning with a broad range of industries across our capital. Greenwich is proud of its work to give a voice to everyone affected by menopause at work. 

London Metropolitan UniversityThe Rainbow Room is a space of inclusivity that forefronts the experience and knowledge of the LGBTQIA+ members of our university community. Complete with versatile and welcoming furniture, a well-stocked community lending-and-borrowing bookshelf donated to by students, community guests and staff including the Vice Chancellor plus a suit of audio-visual equipment. As the brainchild of Donna Jones, Head of Subject, the room is a physical beacon to the University’s commitment to champion our LGBTQIA+ staff and students. Through the hosting of a wide variety of LGBTQIA+ and intersectional events the room provides a vital academic and social resource. As a platform for collaborative partnerships, it also acts as a conduit through which the university can actively support and build connections with external local LGBTQIA+ organisations, effectively bringing the ‘Community onto Campus’ Officially opened in February 2023, the space is quickly and deliberately becoming an important node in the local LGBTQIA+ infrastructure. The university plans to grow the profile of the room as a safe and inclusive space within the wider local community whilst offering it as a meeting place for other London based LGBTQIA+ staff networks.  

Middlesex University LondonStudents from Middlesex University have been working with London Borough of Barnet and local charities and community groups to tackle gender-based violence and misogyny on social media. Responding to real-life briefs, the students have worked with local schools to develop a misogyny toolkit for schools in the Borough to help them support students in navigating controversial influencers such as Andrew Tate. Students have also developed short films to promote the work of Council services and charities to support victims of domestic violence in a Borough-wide campaign for 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence. 

Royal College of ArtRCA BLK is the Royal College of Art’s (RCA) association of Black students, alumni and friends. We support contemporary artists who identify as Black or of African heritage within the RCA community. Started as a grassroots community group in 2020, since 2022 RCA BLK has been supported by the RCA with funding and resources for staff and events. RCA BLK helped initiate the RCA’s Sir Frank Bowling Scholarship for UK students from Black African and Caribbean diaspora heritage. We provide mentorship, drop-in sessions and crits for students. Our events celebrate students’ work and make the legacy of Black RCA alumni more visible within the RCA and beyond. Our community connects Black students, addressing the sense of loneliness and isolation those before them have felt. Our network enables graduates to enter the creative industries with confidence in their talents, but also knowing that others before them have excelled.  

Rose Bruford CollegeAngel VR is a multi-award-winning virtual reality immersive experience featuring the protagonist “Angel,” a sophisticated warrior navigating an extraordinary world alongside a single audience member. By using principals of adaptive design the project opens out the accessibility of immersive arts experiences to disabled audiences. Produced by AVA DANCE COMPANY in collaboration with Rose Bruford College, and supported by the Arts Council England, as well as the generous contributions from MBD Limited and Target3D, Angel VR is set to tour starting January 2024. 

4. Outstanding contribution to the local London community 

Glasgow Caledonian University London Craft can boost wellbeing, celebrate culture and help build communities. However, more needs to be done to ensure racially minoritised and excluded communities have access to creative resources and careers. GCU London researchers worked with Crafts Council to measure the value and wellbeing attached to craft in a community-based project with the local British Bangladeshi community in Tower Hamlets. Inspired by objects from Crafts Council’s own collection, researchers held focus groups with makers of colour in craft-making workshops at local social enterprise OITIJ-JO Collective in East London to explore the value craft brings to individuals and communities.  Our project revealed the strong links that exist between identity, cultural heritage and craft practices, but they also highlighted a number of barriers to taking part in craft including lack of access to networks. These stories of makers of colour can help eliminate barriers to participation in craft and we need to learn from them. 

Middlesex University LondonMiddlesex University (Middlesex) and London Borough of Barnet (LBB) collaborated to support local micro-businesses severely impacted by COVID-19 by delivering the Barnet Business Growth Programme (BBGP) offering a unique series of workshops and internships. Initially, in June 2022 the Centre for Enterprise, Environment and Development (CEEDR) at Middlesex surveyed 501 businesses located in the LBB to understand their business needs and post-pandemic aspirations. CEEDR conducted a training needs analysis survey of businesses’ owner/managers. Research findings informed a series of short courses and workshops which we tailored to support Barnet-based micro-businesses’ growth, business skills development, commercial awareness and entrepreneurial mindset. Between August 2022 and May 2023, 74 businesses owners/managers attended the workshops, with participants in one or more session invited to apply for a Middlesex Graduate Consultant to intern with and support them with implementing the Programme’s learnings and recommendations for six weeks – 39 companies benefited from having a Graduate Intern.  

Brunel University London – The Hillingdon Herald newspaper is a unique project, and there is unlikely to be anything else similar in the UK. The print paper was launched in October 2021, produced entirely by Brunel University London students. However, unlike campus newspapers, this serves the local borough, reporting community news and filling the vacuum left by the disappearance of traditional print products. It is a 24-page paper delivered free at pick-up points such as libraries and shopping centres. 10,000 copies are produced each month. The Herald has already established itself as the number one local newspaper, delighting readers who bemoaned a gap in the market. Editor Rachel Sharp, a journalism lecturer, said: “We have been stunned by the outpouring of love and the gratitude that Londoners felt in having their local newspaper returned to them. 

London Metropolitan UniversityThrough its London Met Lab: Empowering London, London Met Uni actively shapes a brighter future for the city. Launched in 2019, the Lab identifies key societal challenges impacting Londoners (crime, environment, health, poverty, wealth, and discrimination) and collaboratively tackles them through co-designed solutions. Combining academic knowledge with student and partner engagement, the Lab tackles these issues head-on. Challenge Champions lead research, provide support, and share insights, fostering innovative approaches for tangible and positive impact. Our commitment extends to embedded civic initiatives, including dedicated student modules, pro bono clinics, and community-focused projects. We act as an Anchor Institution, collaborate with the NHS, and support local businesses. In 2024 we launched our Civic University Statement and associated research centre (CARES), showcasing best practices (VIDEO) and future aspirations. CARES, with its multidisciplinary team, focuses on applied research and empowering engagement to address systemic inequalities and promote social justice. 

King’s College LondonParent Power is real. King’s and Citizens UK established Parent Power to address educational inequality and social justice issues in our local boroughs. They key to this was empowering and taking the lead from parents themselves. Parents trained in community organising techniques have identified a series of actions and campaigns to bring out about change in, with and for our local communities. This has included a social mobility strategy for Lambeth to improve educational outcomes and university access, community co-creation of mental health support with Chairs of local Mental Health Trusts and Integrated Care Boards, actions to address child citizenship and immigration status and adoption of the Real Living Wage across London. Following this lead, several new Parent Power chapters have been launched across the country with national partners.  

University of East LondonClick Start empowers young Londoners (aged 18-25) facing unemployment with digital skills. This in-person bootcamp, which is developed by the Institute of Coding (IoC) and funded by Nominet, provides training in digital marketing, data analysis, and business ownership, fostering teamwork and preparing participants for jobs, apprenticeships, or to launch their own ventures. Click Start’s strength lies in its immersive and inclusive learning environment for a diverse range of participants, from school-leavers to graduates, many of whom have not had prior exposure to digital marketing and data analysis skills. From day one, participants work side-by-side with small business owners to bridge the UK’s digital skills gap and find creative solutions. Connecting the business mentoring expertise of Be the Business, the teaching excellence of the University of East London, and the employability skills promoted by the Forward Trust, Click Start strives to boost the employability of learners, especially those from ethnic minorities, while strengthening the digital capacity of local small and medium-sized enterprises. 

5. Best entrepreneurial initiative at a London university 

Queen Mary University of LondonQueen Mary Social Venture Fund (QMSVF) is a student-led, social impact venture capital fund which focuses on supporting ‘start-ups for good’ led by students and recent alumni from UK universities.  The programme empowers student investors from diverse backgrounds, and fosters entrepreneurship among students, graduates and industry. Founded in 2020, QMSVF is the first fund of its kind in the UK. Our student investors advise and invest in real-life early-stage start-ups with a social mission. The initiative offers students the opportunity to develop their entrepreneurial knowledge, skills and network, particularly in areas most challenging to achieve in traditional classrooms, with support from industry mentors and faculty members. 

Royal College of ArtSince it was founded in 2004, InnovationRCA has supported 116 Royal College of Art (RCA) graduates to launch 81 start-ups which have created over 800 UK jobs. Our commercially successful start-ups solve urgent global challenges. Last year, they turned over £37 million and had over £25 million overseas sales in value of export. With the majority of our businesses located in a purpose-built incubator in Battersea, InnovationRCA creates a pipeline of unique, design-led start-ups into London’s creative economy. From a sustainable leather alternative made from the waste leaves of pineapple plants (Ananas Anam) to a wearable device addressing hesitancy and physical inhibition in Parkinson’s Disease (Charco Neurotech) – they tackle problems spanning the climate crisis, environmental impact, health and inclusivity. InnovationRCA provides bespoke support for early-stage creative companies. From funding to business coaching, Intellectual Property advice and public talks and events – we nurture creative entrepreneurship across the RCA community. 

University of Westminster – The University of Westminster is committed to fostering entrepreneurship among underrepresented groups, reflecting its diverse student body of 21,000 from 167 nationalities, with 67% from BME backgrounds and 58% first-generation university students. WeNetwork, the university’s enterprise team, employs an evidence-based approach to support entrepreneurship. Recognized for its inclusive enterprise efforts, the university received three National Enterprise Educator Awards in September 2023. As a recent example of this Inclusive Enterprise work, the Elevate programme launched in 2022-2023, supports Westminster graduate entrepreneurs with tailored mentoring, workshops, and funding opportunities, resulting in tangible revenue growth and expanded employment opportunities for these small businesses often overlooked by mainstream incubation and acceleration support services. 

King’s College LondonLondon Demo Day is an annual collaboration between Imperial, King’s College London, London School of Economics (LSE) and UCL that introduces investors to the best and brightest innovations at London universities with founder-owned IP. Entrepreneurs from the five universities pitched their start-ups to investors at Demo Day 2023 aiming to secure funding to scale their venture. The ventures are currently in the early-growth stage and are looking to raise between £100,000 – £1.5 million. Since 2019, 45 innovative teams have pitched, collectively raising over £45m+ with a combined post-money valuation of £155m. 

University of the Arts LondonPoplar Works is a partnership between London College of Fashion (LCF), Poplar HARCA and The Trampery which created low-cost studios, community training space and a café from previously disused garages. Now used to incubate businesses, teach skills to community participants, and teach students sustainable fashion making. Within this hub, LCF houses Making for Change , a fashion manufacturing & training unit that teaches accredited machinist skills to women from the local community and producing specialist and upcycled collections for commercial clients. Alongside this LCF also offers dedicated space and support for seven graduate start-ups with sustainable business models, and students can benefit from work experience in the space and participate in a variety of projects with the Poplar Works resident businesses and communities. 

6. Outstanding wellbeing support for students in London 

Queen Mary University of LondonQueen Mary’s Sexual Assault and Harassment Advice (SAHA) Service fills a crucial support gap for students who’ve experienced sexual assault and/or harassment. Before its inception, students lacked specialist support and often faced lengthy waiting lists for help. Our SAHAs offer trauma-informed, student-led practical and emotional support. Over 21 months, the service has supported 154 students. Satisfaction rates are high, with many students reporting improved mental health, coping strategies, and a sense of safety, as well as the role of the service in enabling them to remain in education. The service also raises awareness through campaigns and trains staff to better respond to disclosures. The service is part of the university’s broader efforts to address sexual misconduct, including the Preventing and addressing Harassment and Sexual misconduct working group. Partnerships with external services ensure our students receive comprehensive, holistic support. The service has significantly enhanced the university’s response to sexual violence, empowering survivors, and fostering a safer campus environment. 

London South Bank UniversityLSBU’s Personal Development Plan (PDP) is a personalised, proactive and insight-generating tool designed to help students reflect on, and track the growth of, their own academic and practical development needs over time. Their responses to the PDP’s questions actively link them with the wide range of services and support available and provide deep understanding of student need, progress, and the impact of university interventions. The PDP has made it easy for students to share information and access support, has seen improved retention and progression, and has transformed how LSBU understands the needs of students and how we design our services. By providing students with a mechanism for letting us know about their wellbeing, development and support needs, we have been able to help more students remain in and succeed during their studies. 

University College LondonThe academic year 2022-23, UCL Student Support and Wellbeing transformed our student wellbeing events and campaigns.  Instead of ad-hoc one-off events, we planned a structured schedule, mapping events to the student life cycle with one events campaign per term. We created an engaging, student-friendly, event series with a dedicated website and social media campaign.  The events were designed to support students feeling lonely, homesick, anxious, or low to help them to combat these feelings and give them the tools to create resilience.  We ran a total of 104 events, a 225% increase on the previous year. The Sunday Times has awarded UCL with University of the Year 2024, specifically quoting our events; calling them innovative, creative and destigmatising with the aim to put students first. Instagram for the 2022/23 academic year increased by 612% from 4,500 the previous year to 31,700, whilst Facebook it increased 174% from 1,700 to 4,700. 

University of West LondonResearch suggested that Neurodiverse individuals find counselling inaccessible at times without specific adjustments being made to support them. UWL developed its innovative ‘Accessible Counselling sessions’, ensuring that counselling was accessible and that neurodiverse students were able to book with a neurodivergent-informed and specially-trained counsellor who would work specifically with a person-centred focus. Physical space was enhanced to make it much more welcoming.  The counsellor and student would then trial alternative session designs, away from the normal format, such as changes to session length, breaks and consistency, agreeing on what felt most comfortable for both. This initiative has had a marked impact on the success, wellbeing and continued engagement of neurodivergent students and those surveyed rated the support offered very highly. 

Kingston University London – Kingston University’s School of Nursing, Allied and Public Health has launched a student advocate staff role to support students across its nursing courses who are at a risk of withdrawing from their programme. The initiative was set up to support students who are at risk of leaving their course and have additional responsibilities or challenges that may make it harder for them to engage with their course, such as caring responsibilities and health and wellbeing problems. The student advocate mirrors the professional nurse advocate in the NHS, developing a programme of pastoral support and learning resources for students at risk of leaving their course. Through the successful roll-out of providing a student advocate member of staff to support students over the course of 24 months, the School has seen a noticeable improvement in the retention of students who were at high risk of withdrawing from their course. 

7. Outstanding contribution to sustainability leadership in London (initiative or partnership) 

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Kingston University LondonIn 2021, Kingston University launched its five-year Sustainability Plan, which outlines our institutional approach to sustainability whereby sustainability is everyone’s responsibility across all areas of the University, including learning, teaching, research, knowledge exchange, operations, and infrastructure. Our Town House Strategy mission demonstrates our commitment to enabling a socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable future while working towards the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a formal signatory of the Accord. Kingston University is on track to achieve its operational net zero carbon target. Investments in energy efficiency projects are achieving this, fostering greater community awareness of responsible energy management, introducing climate literacy training for staff and embedding climate action within the curriculum, research, and knowledge exchange.  

Adopting this ambitious, inclusive, and community-based approach has enabled students and staff to see themselves as sustainable leaders who proactively develop equitable and sustainable solutions for Kingston University and the wider community. 

University of Reading The University of Reading is committed to being a leader in environmental sustainability. Renowned for our world-class research in climate change and its impacts, we strive to maximise the impact of our influence to achieve meaningful change, locally, nationally and internationally. Our work has been honoured with a Queen’s Anniversary Prize, recognising world-leading research, teaching, stewardship and outreach on climate change; we currently rank 1st in the People & Planet League; and our ambitious plan to become Net Zero Carbon by 2030 was named best in the UK. Partnership for action is the cornerstone of our approach. We worked across governments, industry, and academia, with the private and not-for-profit sectors and the public, to drive change. We engaged diverse audiences and listened, especially to young people, and drove collaboration to ensure our education sector is equipped to empower future generations with the necessary knowledge and skills to face their future. 

University of GreenwichThe University of Greenwich recognises that what we buy and use as a large organisation can have a significant impact on sustainability. When considering the resources that we need, we avoid buying items that we don’t need. We prioritise reusing items, recycling and then disposing of the remainder in a way that reduces our impact.   

Across the university, we have implemented schemes and programmes that look at how we dispose of stock and how to reduce the impact of that disposal. We have partnered with local organisations, charities and healthcare providers to find use for items the university no longer needs. We have also been proactive in sourcing second hand items that we require, limiting the need for new production and preventing those same items from being disposed of in a way that impacts our sustainable goals.   

King’s College London In the Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care at King’s (NMPC) sustainability principles are embedded in Quality Improvement (QI), leadership, public health, mental health and global health modules with plans to extend further. Centre for Sustainable Healthcare Beacon status was awarded January 2023. The health sector is one of the largest emitters of carbon dioxide equivalents. Educating healthcare professionals on sustainability are vital to delivering NetZero targets. MSc students use a sustainability focus in their quality improvement dissertation. Evaluation of completed projects reveals direct impact on patient care, for example, through adopting processes to reduce care delays or missed appointments or increase screening uptake. Another project is underway to reduce, reuse and recycle clinical resources from clinical simulation education, a core element of nursing and midwifery programmes. The project is underpinned by collaboration between universities, student partners, skills laboratory technicians, clinical teachers and waste management services. 

University of East LondonThe University of East London (UEL) and Siemens have formed a groundbreaking alliance to achieve net-zero carbon campuses by 2030, setting a global precedent for urban universities. Key aspects of the project include:  

*Introducing sustainability across all degrees through a UEL/Siemens learning pathway.   

* Implementing energy-efficient measures, aiming for a 10% reduction in UEL’s carbon emissions. 

* Replacing LED lighting and system replacements reducing 470 tCO2e and generating significant financial savings.  

*Installing solar PV panels, EV chargers, and the removal of gas boilers, showcasing UEL’s commitment to technological advancements aligned with sustainability goals. 

*Providing opportunities for students to shadow Siemens engineers and undertake real-life projects based on data from the Living Lab.   

*Introducing a Sustainability Dashboard emphasising UEL’s commitment to transparency and data-driven decision-making, positioning it as a global benchmark for urban universities committed to a measurable and accountable journey toward Carbon Net Zero. 

8. Best research/knowledge exchange collaboration in London (two HEIs working together) 

Brunel University LondonResearchers at Brunel University London in collaboration with colleagues at the University of the Arts London (UAL), the What Works Centre for Wellbeing (WWCW) and an Expert Group (EG) drawn from research, policy and practice in the culture sector conducted a rapid scoping review of the evidence on ‘Creativity and Pathways to Subjective Wellbeing’. The team identified findings on mechanisms of change, drivers and barriers to wellbeing improvements through creativity. The findings of the review led to the codesign of a Creative Pathways Model. The Model sets out the creative contexts and mechanisms which lead to wellbeing outcomes so that we know what needs to be included in activities that work. Clear and actionable recommendations to policy, practice and research were developed together with the EG. 

London South Bank University – The BIG South London Innovation Support Programme, a pivotal component of the South London Knowledge Exchange (SLKE) initiative, led by London South Bank University (LSBU) in collaboration with local universities and the South London Partnership (SLP), has transformed the regional economic landscape. By leveraging a £250k investment, the Innovation Support Programme served as a pathfinder initiative which established a thriving innovation ecosystem, supporting over 140 businesses and fostering 20 new HEI collaborations between 2022 and 2023. Building on this success, the new iteration of the BIG Innovation Support Programme started in June 2023, with an investment of £1.5m from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, aims to further enhance productivity and innovation across South London by supporting enterprises in their growth stage. This initiative exemplifies how academia, government, and industry can unite to foster a thriving innovation ecosystem, serving as a beacon of collaborative success and regional development. 

Middlesex University LondonSuicide is not only a tragedy for the individual but also for their family and friends. It can also have a devastating impact on potential witnesses, first responders and staff dealing with its aftermath. Rates of suicide in London has been decreasing since 2017, thanks also to the expertise of academics at Middlesex University and the University of Westminster. Lisa Marzano, Professor of Psychology and Theme Director for Equity in Health and Wellbeing at Middlesex University, and Dr Jay Mackenzie, Reader in Psychology at the University of Westminster, have been collaborating for 13 years on research, training and supporting public awareness campaigns to challenge taboos, get people talking and acting to prevent suicides in the Capital and further afield. Their successful collaboration has contributed to a decrease in suicides on the London Underground and is encouraging people to be more open about mental health. 

The Royal Central School of Speech and DramaThe Verbatim Formula (TVF) was developed to rethink the ways in which we listen to young people in the UK Care System. A collaborative method of practice research, it involves policymakers, artists, social workers, foster carers and, most of all, those who have spent time in the care system. Young people in care, and older people who have experienced being in care, are centred in the process and encouraged to draw on the expertise from their lives in considering how to develop better ways of delivering care. Introduced by an academic team based at Queen Mary University of London and The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, TVF provides a creative, inclusive and supportive space for young people to share their life experiences as expert users of the services that are responsible for their education, care and wellbeing and, in doing so, develop their sense of confidence and security. 

London Metropolitan University, Queen Mary University of London and University of East London The Tower Hamlets Health Determinants Research Collaboration (TH-HDRC), funded by NIHR (£5M, 2022-27) is a partnership between London Borough of Tower Hamlets (LBTH), Tower Hamlets Council for Voluntary Service (THCVS) and three universities: London Metropolitan University (London Met), Queen Mary University of London (QM) and University of East London (UEL). Our HDRC aims to make Tower Hamlets a ‘go to’ place in which to conduct co-produced, high quality and impactful research on health determinants to improve health outcomes, service provision and policy. All partners are involved in the strategic leadership and operational delivery of the programme and are committed to building the collaborative infrastructure for long-term and sustainable research and knowledge exchange. The universities’ work on the TH-HDRC is rooted in our civic commitment to East London, the ActEarly programme, and our membership of the London Higher Civic Network, Civic University Network and  Tower Hamlets Growth & Economic Development Board. 

9. Outstanding contribution to enhancing the overseas student experience in London 

Royal Holloway, University of London – A newly created app by Royal Holloway, University of London’s International Advice Team, led by Tom Pease, has helped international students choose where to live in accordance with distance to the University’s campus. Research showed a clear correlation between the success of international students in their studies with the distance they travel to campus – the closer they are, the better their educational achievements. As well as the app, the work involved collaboration with colleagues and a series of webinars to give international offer holders and recruitment agents support in choosing nearby-by accommodation. This has helped the average commute time for the January 2024 cohort by 34% compared to 2023, with students now three times more likely to live within 30-minutes of campus. As a result, engagement levels have also increased, and we are confident this will lead to better academic outcomes and student experience. 

University of Sunderland in London – In response to increasing concerns around adjustment to university life and transition to the United Kingdom for our overseas students, the University of Sunderland in London’s International Student Support Adviser established and piloted a 4-week Support Group for a new cohort of 120+ Nepalese students. Prioritising fostering a sense of belonging, International Student Support Adviser, Darren Ramsay, created a social space for students to bond and feel more connected to the University. Representatives from departments across campus were invited to discuss University services available including English for Academic Purposes (EAP) support and enhance help-seeking behaviours. The result was an atmosphere of mutual support, shared learning and joy was evident — as students supported each other to register with a GP, submission deadlines, introduced University staff to their favourite Nepalese foods and even played Nepalese music on an acoustic guitar. 

University College LondonThe UCL Centre for International Medical Education Collaborations (UCL CIMEC) works with its international partners to transform medical and healthcare education systems and practice. A key feature of our collaboration with the Chulabhorn Royal Academy is a new intercalated Bachelor of Science programme pathway (iBSc), which their medical students can undertake at UCL. Through this unique programme, UCL CIMEC supports students to gain a distinctive global outlook through their year in London and has developed and implemented a new range of activities and resources to support students to be successful. Students receive a bespoke induction programme, tailored support, and regular monthly academic tutoring meetings to strengthen and enhance their engagement and student experience. 

Northumbria University London – Northumbria University London Campus has a vibrant community of over 5000 students from 90 countries. Key to our success is our four stage support package for international students. This begins 12 weeks prior to arrival where our new student community engage in a range of on-line academic confidence and awareness sessions designed to prepare for life and study in London. Upon arrival our learners engage in a three week extended induction with an emphasis on creating a multi cultural learning community, confident and upskilled to succeed in a new countryand city. Onboarding continues with a weekly credit bearing Academic Skills, Careers and Employability module which runs across the year tailored to the individual learning journey of students supported by one to one coaching. This is further supported by opportunities to contribute to the civic life of London through supported internships, employer led consultancy projects, enterprise boot camps and multi cultural events. 

University of East LondonThe University of East London (UEL) provides an outstanding support structure for its international students enabling them to integrate into the UEL community. In 2022/23 we had nearly 7000 enrolled international students, helping create a diverse, vibrant and multicultural UEL community. We support students even before their arrival on-campus through our comprehensive pre-arrival Kickstarter and Orientation programmes. These initiatives have garnered recognition for their effectiveness.  We hold over 30 annual enrichment events such as cultural celebrations, creative workshops and sports tournaments to foster a sense of belonging amongst international students. UEL’s wrap-around 360-degree intervention ensures personalized support for students, resulting in improved engagement, attendance and performance. Investment in cutting-edge facilities and the Connected Campus programme further enhances the learning environment and promotes collaboration. UEL’s commitment to its international students is evidenced in our International Student Barometer scores, which show satisfaction rates of 90 per cent or higher. 

10. Best communications campaign aimed at promoting London HE 

London Metropolitan UniversityLike the wider London community, London Met’s students, staff and graduates come from all kinds of backgrounds – some from around the corner, others from around the globe. Every one of them belongs there and uniquely contributes to the University and the city around them. They are The Real London. This is The Real London. Developed by a London Met graduate, The Real London is an authentic brand campaign designed to attract new UK and international students to the University. Each story features a member of our community photographed or filmed in a London location that means something to them, exploring who they are in their own words.  

Royal College of ArtThe Royal College of Art (RCA) is a postgraduate only specialist art and design institution based in London. We recruit from a wide number of countries across the globe, and the importance of studying in London as a leading cultural centre is a key narrative in our recruitment campaigns. The campaign involved an integrated content strategy, which included compelling storytelling, creative partnerships, in-person and virtual events, peer-to-peer activity, email messaging and experiences across London, effectively conveying the unique allure of both the RCA and the city itself. The experience of students and recent alumni was very much at its heart. By promoting London as the quintessential study destination within the UK and abroad, the campaign has broadened the range of global students attracted to the RCA, and continued to support the city’s incredible artistic ecosystem.  

University of East LondonAt Create Your Future 2023, our exhibition campaign aimed to attract prospective students with a creative mindset, aligning with UEL’s objective to expand recruitment beyond East London. We surpassed lead generation targets, maintained brand consistency, and observed a significant increase in undergraduate applications by unifying diverse academic schools under a single creative concept. The campaign showcased our dedication to diversity, inclusivity, and student empowerment, engaging over 12,000 potential new 16–18-year-old students at the UCAS Exhibition in London and Manchester. Specifically targeting the Northwest at the Manchester event, we identified it as a key growth market in our UK diversification strategy. This strategic approach not only fostered engagement but also reinforced our commitment to creating a dynamic and inclusive educational environment. 

The Royal Central School of Speech and DramaIn January and February of 2024, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (Central) ran a cross-platform, multimedia communications campaign with Broadway World to highlight the unique advantages for American students of studying performing arts – at both undergraduate and postgraduate level – in London. Drawing on expertise from teams within marketing, communications, digital and social media, student recruitment, outreach, alumni engagement and press, this campaign set out to provide US students with a comprehensive range of information about studying in London. This included advice on selecting a course and applying, as well as highlighting the unique benefits that international study brings. As a result of the campaign, Central has reached a new international audience whilst sharing the appeal of London as a place to live and study. It has also highlighted the career progression available to international graduates – whether in the US or UK.  

University of GreenwichThe University of Greenwich has made a strategic commitment to work in partnership with external organisations to achieve more for our students. The partnerships campaign (a business-to-business initiative) promoted the university’s new Partnerships Hub to senior leaders from external organisations. By leveraging a wide range of owned, partner communications channels, events channels and networks, the campaign was able to generate outstanding reach metrics in excess of 210 million, which have subsequently resulted in 174 new partnership opportunities and 15 new strategic partnerships. These partnerships have developed a wide range of new programmes and projects for students and an impressive revenue impact, including generating £1.5 million in direct bid income. 

11. Outstanding contribution to student employability 

Brunel University LondonIn 2019 the multi award winning Professional Development Centre (PDC) at Brunel University London piloted the Graduate Kickstart Programme (GKP).  This Access funded projected targeted recent graduates from under represented (UR) backgrounds, aiming to level the playing field, by offering an enhanced package of support to help graduates excel in the work place.  The results from the initial pilot led to 30 graduates moving from under/unemployment into graduate level work.  A package of specialist support targeted towards graduates struggling in the labour market has now been developed within the GKP over the last 5 years, to ensure HE delivers for Brunel students, and is an engine for social mobility.  Driven by Social Mission, is one of 5 key areas of the new Brunel University Strategy and reinforces the strategic focus of this key employability initiative. 

Queen Mary University of LondonSKETCH (Student Knowledge Exchange Through Community Hubs), is Queen Mary’s student knowledge exchange programme, which brings together various existing, emergent and new student employability initiatives across three Schools (Law, Economics & Finance, Business & Management), working with our Careers and Enterprise Service. What is distinctive about SKETCH is its interdisciplinarity, in response to both the need for higher level employability skills that can be developed through the connection across subject boundaries, and the attractiveness of such student skill development to employers. The programme also has a focus on the local community and inclusivity in line with QMUL’s Strategy 2030. 

University of West LondonAs “the Career University”, UWL offers all our graduates lifelong careers support, including a Graduate Intern programme. However, the University recognised that students can sometimes lack confidence in their own ability in achieving their career aspirations. In 2022-23, to specifically address this issue, UWL launched its innovative “Graduate Employability Soft Skills” programme, which offered a bespoke learning and development package which required compulsory attendance at 12 sessions over 24 weeks. These sessions covered, amongst others, time management, professional development coaching, mental wellbeing, empathy-based communication skills, and presenting with gravitas.UWL’s investment in the scheme has grown to fund 50 full time places over a period of 24 weeks and as a result 60% of graduates have gone on to be employed following their internships. Since its original inception, 106 graduates have benefited from the scheme and feedback from employers has been tremendous. 

University of WestminsterThe University of Westminster is proud to have a diverse community of 21,000 students, of which 58% of our home undergraduates are the first in their family to go to University. This means our students need access to inclusive opportunities to develop the confidence, networks and social capital to succeed professionally. In 22/23, following the publication of our strategy Being Westminster 22-29, which identifies “securing outstanding employability outcomes for all groups of students” as a key strategic focus, we reshaped our employability support to significantly scale five programmes within and outside of the curriculum, in order to reach students from all backgrounds. In 22/23, we supported 1,706 students through mentoring, 3,031 through enterprise activities, 172 through a fully funded global experience and 706 recent graduates through an exclusive package of career support. In addition, 2356 students completed our Westminster Employability Award, a record breaking 71% increase from 21/22. 

City, University of LondonEmployers say that communication skills are a priority for the workplace. But young people from deprived areas are more than twice as likely to have communication difficulties, and students from some under-represented groups lack confidence even when they are doing well. 13 students from City, University of London, who meet our widening participation criteria, worked with mentors from organisations including Investec, Just Eat and General Electric over the course of 4 weeks to improve their speaking confidence for networking, presentations and job interviews. Students increased their speaking confidence by 45% on average, and their confidence in speaking in job interviews by 49%. With self-confidence as a key factor behind differential outcomes for under-represented students, we believe this programme plays an invaluable role in supporting the employability of our students. We Speak also trained and employed 4 City students from under-represented backgrounds as Peer Mentors to share their skills with their fellow students, while enhancing their own employability skills and contact with employers. 

12. London creative arts initiative of the year 

Goldsmiths, University of LondonWhat happens when cultural production and social history combine? What happens when communities are empowered to tell their own stories, in ways that matter to them? These were the guiding questions behind In Living Memory, a Mayor of London/Heritage Lottery-funded project as part of Lewisham London Borough of Culture 2022/23. This project supported six community-led initiatives focussed on untold local histories. Across festivals, exhibitions, film screenings and public artworks, it explored lost LGBTQ+ histories, Windrush generation narratives, stories of floods, protests and childbirth. The programme’s events and digital outputs reached hundreds of thousands of people. In Living Memory has influenced school curriculums and created a series of permanent public artworks across Lewisham. It has been celebrated by the Greater London Authority an exemplar of community-led cultural programming. Its legacy will ensure that local history is present in next generations’ education and that Lewisham’s rejuvenated heritage environment foregrounds previously untold stories. 

London Contemporary Dance School at The PlaceSuper Normal Extra Natural was a performance, a community engagement project, a learning opportunity for students, and a resurrection of a forgotten city space all at once. The Place Associate Artist and alum Frauke Requardt lend her expertise in creating impactful sight-specific performances, to lead a cast of professional artists, London Contemporary Dance School students and Croydon locals in coming together to create a dance piece that gives new life to a significant neighbourhood sight and generate lasting change for a historically culturally neglected borough. As the future generation of dance makers, London Contemporary Dance School student not only gained professional performance experience but learned first-hand how their artform has the potential to benefit a community and create lasting change. A unique contribution to London’s creative arts scene today, this learning will continue to resonate with our students creating a legacy for future ambitious creative opportunities, activism and changemaking through dance. 

The Courtauld Institute of ArtReworking Manet is a live project brief and online toolkit that encourages students from all subjects to research, interrogate and respond creatively in any media to Édouard Manet’s famous painting A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (1882) in The Courtauld collection. It was developed by The Courtauld’s Learning team in collaboration with a group of young people and Turner Prize-winning artist and Courtauld alumnus Jeremy Deller following a pilot project in 2021/22. The project opened to UK-wide submissions in Spring 2023, engaging over 300 young people (aged 14-18) and 20 teachers in 40 UK state schools and colleges through online, in-person and in-school workshops.  An outstanding selection of works by 59 students were exhibited in The Courtauld Gallery’s new Project Space between October 2023 – February 2024. These impressive contemporary reworkings explored a wealth of themes drawn from the painting and sought to raise important issues in our everyday lives. 

Guildhall School of Music and DramaOrchestRAM was a celebration of creativity and collaboration between Guildhall School of Music & Drama and legendary drum and bass label RAM Records that brought a unique experience to London’s arts scene. An orchestra of Guildhall graduates was accompanied by a keyboardist, drummer, vocalists and RAM artist Raiser in the role of DJ, adding samples, effects and backing tracks – a dynamic audio experience matched by a programme of projections, lasers and extra lighting. The concert was also an opportunity to showcase the talent of students from Guildhall School who gained invaluable experience, from production design to orchestral scoring. The show received multiple five-star reviews and picked up two prestigious LIT Lighting Design Awards for Concert Lighting Installation and Music Event Lighting. It has also led to a number of further employment opportunities for students and graduates featured in the event, raising their profile within London’s creative offer. 

Rose Bruford CollegeThe Queer Performance MA at Rose Bruford College is a global first, connecting Higher Education with London’s vibrant arts scene in a dynamic and ground-breaking way. Rose Bruford is a Small Specialist College making a big impact.  Following the College’s long history of innovation in learning and teaching (it was the first College to offer degrees in Acting and Lighting Design in the UK, for instance) this MA is a transformative force in London’s creative arts scene, offering interdisciplinary training spanning a vast spectrum of artistic queer expression. It uniquely contributes to the city’s dynamic ecology of queer performance through training students and offering queer artists teaching and development opportunities. In its commitment to radical imagination, the program encourages collective dreaming for creative practice with an interdisciplinary approach. This MA is a beacon of progressive and inclusive education, shaping the future of the creative arts in London and beyond.