University of Leicester secured the THE DataPoints Merit Award trophy at this year’s Times Higher Education Awards, held in association with Santander Universities UK.
These awards, now in their 13th year and widely recognised as the “Oscars of higher education”, shine a spotlight on the exceptional achievements of individuals, teams and institutions.
Every year, Times Higher Education’s data team delves into the mine of information that underpins the World University Rankings for fresh insights into the performance of UK universities to determine the winner of the DataPoints Merit Award. For the THE Awards 2017, the data team created a “bang for the buck” measure of research performance in a bid to discover which UK universities were producing the highest-quality research given their income.
To come up with a shortlist, the data team looked at measures of research quality and productivity in the rankings and compared these with universities’ incomes – figures that, in the published rankings, are normalised for an institution’s size. The shortlist represented a diverse group of research-intensive universities, both large and small and from opposite ends of the country. However, one thing that they had in common was a reputation for cutting-edge research in a variety of fields.
“The wealth of information that the data team have at their disposal enables us to create new ways of thinking about excellence beyond the overall ranking,” said Simon Baker, THE’s data editor.
“The University of Leicester has shown time and again that it produces world-beating research and groundbreaking discoveries. Our data now show that it also punches well above its weight in terms of bang for the buck, too.”
Professor Paul Boyle, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester, said: “It is especially gratifying to receive this award in a year when we have made great strides to provide more support for our researchers. We at the University of Leicester know just how outstanding our researchers are, and this recognition by the THE again serves to highlight that.”
The University of Leicester was also shortlisted for the International Impact Award for its work alongside the University of Kufa in Iraq.
THE editor John Gill said:
“At a time when discussion about universities is too often reduced to terms of economic impact and output alone, the stories behind the winning entries this year tell a far richer story. Universities remain crucial to the health and well-being of the country, as well as to its prosperity, and anyone who doubts that – or who thinks that excellence is the preserve of one segment of our system – need only read about our winners to see the evidence with their own eyes.”