The stage is set for the Scottish education sector’s event of the year, The Herald Higher Education Awards 2024

The finalists have been announced for this year’s The Herald Higher Education Awards.

This is the ninth time that these prestigious awards have taken place and the numbers of entries from educational institutions across Scotland continues to grow.

This year the panel of expert judges, which includes Herald Education Writer, James MacEnaney: Kathryn O’Loan, Director of QAA; Isabelle Bristow, Managing Director, Studiosity and Jason Miles-Campbell, Managing Director, Jisc, had to work their way through 120 submissions in order to come up with a shortlist that reflects the high standards and exceptional achievements of Scotland’s higher education sector.

In total, more than 60 entries from 23 different establishments will be represented when the awards are announced on Tuesday, 28 May at the Radisson Blu in Glasgow.

It promises to be an exciting evening for those who have made the list and also for the organisations that they represent and on hand to ensure that the proceedings go smoothly will be host Fred MacAulay.

The Herald Higher Education awards celebrate the extraordinary things that are going on in universities and colleges across Scotland. They highlight innovation in teaching and explore how colleges and universities market themselves, support students, and engage with employers, as well as recognising those amazing students who make a significant contribution to student life as well as academia.

By highlighting these achievements, the awards help to build future excellence through sharing good practice and enhancing the status of learning and teaching in the Scottish higher education sector.

Amongst the categories this year are the Enhancing Student Learning Award – sponsored by QAA; Supporting Student Wellbeing Award – sponsored by Studiosity and Innovative Use of Technology Award – sponsored by Jisc, where finalists in the latter category include an initiative launched by Glasgow Clyde College to empower its staff through the use of Generative AI.

During the evening, outstanding contributions from students and staff will be celebrated and there will be awards for the best examples of where colleges and universities have taken the lead on projects that benefit society as a whole.

These include awards for educational institutions that have gone beyond the lecture halls to develop business engagement models with third parties. Contenders in these categories include  Abertay University’s spearheading low carbon initiative with Transform Net Zero and  Dumfries and Galloway College’s project to  back-fill the NHS whilst training new Health Professionals at the College.

Meanwhile, in a separate Partnership category the finalists include Edinburgh College for the Sports Therapy Degree Programme that it has developed in collaboration with Scottish Rugby Union and NHS Scotland.

Awards such as these demonstrate the important contribution that forward-thinking educational institutions can make to Scotland as a whole, while the Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community Award, where the finalists include New College Lanarkshire’s ‘Caring for Carers’ initiative and the University of Dundee’s ‘Active Living and Seniors Programme’ demonstrate the positive impact that many are having on their local neighbourhoods.

Being active in the community is an important way for colleges and universities to break down the barriers that can exclude some people from accessing higher education and three institutions,  Dundee and Galloway College; Edinburgh Napier University and Forth Valley College share the shortlist for this year’s Widening Access Award, while Edinburgh College, the Universities of Glasgow, Stirling and Dundee are all finalists in the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Award.

Research is an important function of higher education and the contenders for the Research Project of the Year award include Edinburgh Napier University for its investigation into the carriage of Naloxone by police officers to address drug-related deaths in Scotland and Robert Gordon University for work on the policing of gender-based violence in remote, rural and island communities in Scotland during and after COVID-19.

In their role as educators, colleges and universities have a platform to talk to both students and the wider community and how effectively they achieve this will be recognised in the Marketing/PR Campaign of the Year Award, where the contenders include Fife College’s ‘Reassurance’ campaign that aimed to help students face the cost-of-living crisis and the University of Stirling, with its campaign aimed at looking beyond drug and alcohol statistics.

Meanwhile, the winners of two of the most prestigious awards, the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Higher Educational Institution of the Year Award will both be announced on the night.

Kathryn O’Loan, Director, QAA for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, who is both a judge and sponsor of the Enhancing Student Learning Award, said: “We are looking forward to celebrating with the award winners on 28 May. The quality of the submissions received was very high and it was inspiring to learn more about the diverse range of projects and approaches being adopted across Scotland. All of the finalists should be very proud of their achievements.”

Isabelle Bristow, Managing Director, Studiosity for UK and Europe, said: “This is now Studiosity’s third consecutive year of being a proud sponsor of the Herald Higher Education Awards – and for me personally, the second year of being on the judging panel – and as fully expected, this year’s submissions have once more been of an exceptionally high standard. A hearty congratulations to all 2024 finalists.

“These annual awards are a wonderful opportunity for reflection, both by the individuals and teams in writing their submissions, and by the wider Scottish HE community as the finalists are announced. Improving life chances is Studiosity’s mission and as such it is an honour to be part of this wonderful opportunity to shine a spotlight on all the great work ensuring all students feel supported, confident and that they belong – all essential elements for success. We would like to wish an extra special congratulations to the finalists of our sponsored category, Supporting Student Wellbeing.”

And Liam Earney, Managing Director – higher education and research at Jisc, sponsors of the Innovative Use of Technology Award said,

“Congratulations to the five finalists in this year’s Jisc sponsored innovative use of technology category. I have been impressed by the many ways in which this year’s frontrunners are using digital across higher education in Scotland to enhance teaching and learning, improve the student experience, and support local communities and the wider economy, and I look forward to hearing more about the fantastic projects showcased.

“Good luck to all the finalists, and well done to everyone nominated.”

The event itself promises to be an evening of celebration as well as a chance to network with colleagues and peers from across the higher educational landscape.

Tickets are available now and these can be accessed, along with full information about the Awards ceremony, from:



Enhancing Student Learning Award – sponsored by QAA

  • Abertay University – Co-creating student success through credit-bearing microcredentials
  • Edinburgh College – Creative and Critical Thinking Qualifications
  • Robert Gordon University – The Future of Teaching, Learning, and Assessment
  • University of Glasgow – Enhanced Learning for All: Student Learning Development


Supporting Student Wellbeing Award – sponsored by Studiosity

  • City of Glasgow College Students’ Association – Student Pantry
  • Edinburgh Napier University – Keep on Track
  • Fife College – Supporting students with the cost-of-living
  • University of Edinburgh – Student Counselling Service – Skills for Life and Learning


Outstanding Contribution from a University Student

  • George Hassall – University of Stirling
  • Erica Lo Presti – UHI Perth
  • Shalu Madan – Edinburgh Napier University
  • Laura Young – Abertay University and the University of Dundee


Outstanding Contribution from a College Student

  • David Butler – City of Glasgow College Students’ Association
  • Kenneth Tong – New College Lanarkshire


Outstanding Contribution from a Staff Member

  • Professor Bill Buchanan – Edinburgh Napier University
  • Julie Cooper – West College Scotland
  • Usha Mani – University of Dundee
  • Vikki McCall – University of Stirling
  • Michelle Skotzen – Edinburgh College
  • Rik Weightman – Edinburgh College


Research Project of the Year

  • Edinburgh Napier University – The carriage of Naloxone by police officers to address drug-related deaths in Scotland
  • Robert Gordon University – The Policing of Gender-Based Violence in remote, rural and island communities in Scotland during and after COVID-19
  • University of Dundee – Professor Jill Belch
  • University of Dundee – iPlacenta
  • University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School – NHS Menopause and Menstrual Health Policy

Outstanding Business Engagement in Universities

  • Abertay University – Spearheading low carbon innovation with Transform Net Zero
  • Edinburgh Napier University – Applied Management in Football
  • Glasgow School of Art – Glasgow School of Art x Daydream Believers


Outstanding Business Engagement in Colleges

  • Dumfries and Galloway College – Back Filling the NHS whilst training new Health Professionals at College
  • Fife College and Babcock International Group – Production Support Operative Programme
  • Glasgow Kelvin College – Get into Employment: Rail Industry
  • New College Lanarkshire – Film and TV for all
  • West College Scotland – James Paterson & Sons Skills Academy


Innovative Use of Technology Award – sponsored by Jisc

  • Edinburgh Napier University – The Virtualised Security Operations Centre Integration with Information Services
  • Glasgow Clyde College – Empowering Staff Through Generative AI
  • University of St Andrews – The Graduate Attribute Platform
  • University of Stirling – Innovation in learning spaces through technologies and pedagogy
  • West College Scotland – DIGISKLS at West


Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community

  • Edinburgh College – EC Sessions
  • Glasgow Kelvin College – Glasgow Kelvin College Community and Youth Hubs
  • New College Lanarkshire – Caring for Carers
  • Queen Margaret University in partnership with STV Children’s Appeal – The Enhanced Learning Tutoring Initiative (ELTI)
  • University of Dundee – Active Living and Seniors Programme


Partnership Award

  • Edinburgh College – Sports Rehabilitation Degree Programme partnerships with Scottish Rugby Union and NHS Scotland
  • Glasgow Caledonian University – Transforming Health at GCU: Collaborating for Wellness
  • Glasgow School of Art – Glasgow School of Art x Daydream Believers
  • New College Lanarkshire – Women’s Aid Project


Marketing/PR Campaign of the Year

  • Abertay University – Abertay A to B campaign
  • Fife College – ‘Reassurance’ – helping students face the cost-of-living
  • Glasgow Kelvin College – National Opportunity Day
  • New College Lanarkshire – We are New College Lanarkshire
  • University of Stirling – Seeing beyond the drug and alcohol statistics


Widening Access Award

  • Dumfries and Galloway College – Dumfries and Galloway College – HE for All
  • Edinburgh Napier University – HUB for SUCCESS
  • Forth Valley College – Widening Participation Project


Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Award

  • Edinburgh College – Women in Digital and Data Innovation
  • University of Glasgow – James McCune Smith Scholarship and Development Programme
  • University of Stirling – Stirling Cares Programme
  • University of Stirling – Visibility of Inclusion for Boosting Equity (VIBE)
  • University of Dundee – EMBEDD (Engaging Minoritised Beneficiaries in Engineering Diversity Development)


Lifetime Achievement Award

Announced on the night


Higher Educational Institution of the Year

Announced on the night