THE excellence award for The University of Nottingham


November 27th, 2015

The University of Nottingham has won one of the most prestigious awards in UK higher education.

Nottingham was named number one for its ‘Outstanding Support for Early Career Researchers’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2015.

The award recognises the University’s postgraduate placement programme, which has helped more than 200 research students to gain valuable career and professional development experience.

Researchers have worked with more than 100 local employers who have reaped the benefits that doctoral researchers bring to enhance their workforce. Projects focus on developing the researchers’ transferable skills and bringing their analytical, problem-solving and creative thinking skills to bear in ways that help local employers.

Projects included customer profiling, new product research and development, consultancy and marketing for the companies involved. The Times Higher Education (THE) citation said the programme “demonstrated that researchers are highly skilled professionals who can be competitive in job markets beyond academia.”

The THE judges said Nottingham’s programme was “innovative in its flexibility and focus on local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)” and provided “real value to doctoral researchers across all disciplines and to businesses”.

A survey of 20 businesses that hosted postgraduates on placements showed that research students’ work resulted in £205,000 worth of added value to the companies. About eight out of 10 students who participated said placements had significantly improved their ability to acquire, evaluate and interpret information. A similar number said it had increased their self-esteem.

The placements, based largely in SMEs, could be undertaken on a part-time basis, allowing students to integrate industry experience with their studies.

The programme was funded by the European Regional Development Fund and led by Kerry Wright, supported by Geraldine Tonks and Dr Jane Wellens, Head of the Graduate School.

The award was presented by Janet Metcalfe, head of Vitae, at the THE Awards 2015 on November 26.

The University was also recognised for its leading work in other areas and was shortlisted in three further categories: Outstanding Contribution to Leadership Development, Outstanding Employer Engagement Initiative and Entrepreneurial University of the Year.

PICTURED ABOVE (l-r): Rory Bremner, Dr Jane Wellens (Head of the Graduate School, University of Nottingham), Kerry Wright (Postgraduate Placements Manager, UoN) and Janet Metcalfe, head of Vitae (category sponsor).

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