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City’s universities among UK best

Press release -

City’s universities among UK best

Both universities in Newcastle nominated for University of the Year in the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards.

Newcastle’s two Higher Education institutions, Newcastle and Northumbria Universities, have both been nominated for the Times Higher Education (THE) University of the Year Award 2022, firmly cementing the city as a northern powerhouse of world-leading research and education.

It is the first time, outside of London, that two institutions from the same city have appeared on the same THE University of the Year shortlist. Nomination is a recognition of exceptional performance, as well as bold, imaginative and innovative initiatives that have advanced a Higher Education institution’s reputation during the academic year 2020/21.

Northumbria University

For Northumbria University it marks a transformation to become the UK’s first research-intensive modern university. The strategy, which began in 2008, embeds quality research at the centre of everything that the university does, has a clear social mobility mission, and is aligned to business and the demands of the regional and local economy.

Northumbria’s success was borne out in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 results where the university recorded the biggest rise in research power of any UK university for the second time, moving up 27 places to 23rd having previously risen to 50th in 2014, from 80th in 2008. The University aims to attract students with the highest potential to benefit from a Northumbria education enriched by this research. Around 40% of Northumbria undergraduates are from traditionally low-participation backgrounds, and along with all students, they have the opportunity to learn from researchers, participate in research and co create knowledge.

Newcastle University

Newcastle University has been recognised for stepping up its commitment to sustainability by embedding Environmental Justice, alongside Social Justice, as one of its core institutional values. This was in response, not only to the climate and ecological emergency, but also to calls from students for their University to be at the forefront of addressing the biggest global challenges facing their generation.

Building on its long-established expertise in sustainable development and climate research, the University is working to embed these core values throughout its research, education, operations and work with communities across the globe. Working together with students, colleagues, alumni, local and global partners, Newcastle has established new student scholarships, leadership programmes and teaching modules and the University’s achievements were recognised by The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2022 with Newcastle ranked 8th in the world (1st in the UK) for sustainable development.

Northern Research Powerhouse

Together, the cities of Newcastle and Durham now constitute a Northern Research Powerhouse with the largest concentration of researchers outside London, important for the Northeast economy, for inward investment, for influencing policy and for levelling up.

Professor Andy Long, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Northumbria University, said: “To have both our institutions from the same city nominated for such a prestigious and internationally-recognised award is a significant and remarkable achievement. It sends a powerful message about the positive impact we are making together - through our collective research to drive innovation and sustainable growth, our education to help young people from all backgrounds achieve their full potential, and in our civic role as anchor institutions within the city.

“Newcastle is now home to one of the largest concentrations of researchers in the UK. Together we are building a northern research powerhouse that is helping Newcastle and the region compete on equal terms with other regions – both here in the UK and globally.”

Professor Chris Day, Vice-Chancellor and President, Newcastle University, adds:

“For both universities to be shortlisted for the THE University of the Year award is an outstanding achievement, and reflects the passion, talent and ambition of both students and colleagues across our two institutions.

“Although we have each been shortlisted in our own right and for different reasons, there is no doubt that each of us owes some of that success to the other, as well as to our partners here in the City.

“It is only by working together – sharing ideas, listening to our communities and responding to the needs of society – that Universities like ours can drive positive, lasting change.”

Leader of Newcastle City Council, Cllr Nick Kemp said:

“We are delighted that Newcastle’s two outstanding universities have been recognised for their achievements. They are a vital part of the fabric of our great city, and nomination is testament to the drive and ambition that has made Newcastle a centre of excellence.”

“As anchor institutions, our universities are key partners in making Newcastle a fair and inclusive place where everyone can thrive. To be the first city outside London to have two institutions nominated makes us very proud, and not surprised – our universities are leading the way by working together to shape how we live.”

The winner of the University of the Year will be revealed at the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards ceremony in London on November 17, 2022.


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Northumbria is a research-intensive modern university with a global reputation for academic excellence.

Northumbria University, Newcastle