The history of higher education in Scotland stretches back for more than 600 years and today the country is home to some of the most successful and impactful educational institutions in the UK.

From ground-breaking science to world-renowned faculties of law and medicine, the breadth and depth of research and innovation that emerges from Scotland’s higher education sector is far in advance of what could be expected from a country of this size.

This year The Herald Higher Education Awards will once again highlight the impressive policies and people that are shaping education in Scotland today and they will also name one outstanding organisation as Higher Educational Institute of the Year.

Last year that award was won by The University of Glasgow, one of Scotland’s oldest universities but also one that has become recognised for its innovative approach to education, collaboration and even to its own history, commissioning a ground-breaking study into its historical links with the slave trade that has become the template for organisations globally seeking to make similar reparations.

Rachel Sandison, Deputy Vice Chancellor for External Engagement, believes that awards such as that given out by The Herald, have been won because of the University’s commitment to making value-based decisions.

“As well as looking at our historical impact, we were the first University to sign up to the Sustainable Development Goals Accord, publicly stating that we will be net-zero by 2030, which for an organisation of our size is no small promise. We are constantly evaluating what kind of organisation we want to be and examining what matters to our students and staff, our community in the west of Scotland and to our global partners. And we always strive to be transparent.”

As a member of the Russell Group, the University of Glasgow ranks as one of the best seats of learning in the UK and last year, through alumnus David MacMillan, now a Professor of Chemistry at Princeton University, the total number of Nobel Prizes garnered by ex-students rose to eight. Later this year the University will launch the world’s first Masters Programme in Reparative Justice and last month the first staff moved into its new Advanced Research Centre (ARC), a £116m, 16,000 sq metre, state-of-the-art facility that will provide a collaborative community across a range a disciplines

A report published last year showed that the University of Glasgow contributed £4.4bn to the UK economy through jobs, research, teaching and collaboration and represented amongst its 34,000 cohort are students from some of the most socio-economically deprived areas of Scotland.

“Widening access is in our DNA,” says Rachel, “and our local community benefits from the fact that we are also a global community, with links to colleges and universities internationally. And especially after the events of the last two years, those links to industry and our collaborative approach have become mission-critical.”

Being named Higher Educational Institute of the Year by The Herald, was, she says, a recognition not just of the University’s status as one of the top 100 educational institutions in the world, but also of its commitment to its civic role within Glasgow and its determination to continue evolving across all areas.

This year’s The Herald Educational Awards for Scotland are being sponsored by City of Glasgow College; Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) Scotland; leading digital educational consultancy, Jisc and the Scottish Funding Council.

Roy Gardner, Vice Principal for Corporate Development & Innovation at City of Glasgow College, said: “The Herald Higher Education Awards are always a highlight in the calendar. Every year we see incredibly strong entries which underline the outstanding quality of work that is a constant across the education sector.”

Caroline Turnbull, Acting Director for Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland, QAA, said: “We’re delighted to be sponsoring the Enhancing Student Learning Award! Across the sector in Scotland we are seeing excellent examples of innovation to support Student Learning, particularly in addressing the challenges of the pandemic. We’d like to encourage as many teams as possible to put themselves forward and have their efforts recognised”

The Herald Higher Education Awards will take place on Tuesday, May 31. The closing date for entries is Thursday, March 31. For more information and to enter please visit the event website.