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, Dr Loyin Olotu-Umoren, Susanna Ison and Dr Jane Wellens, Head of the Graduate School.
The award was presented to Kerry Wright, Postgraduate Placements Manager at the University, and Dr Jane Wellens by Janet Metcalfe, head of Vitae (category sponsor), at the THE Awards 2015 on November 26, which were compered by satirist Rory Bremner.
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.
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and the winner of ‘Research Project of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2014. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK by research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for three years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.
Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…