Search is on for the high achievers in education

The Herald Higher Education Awards are back and once again the search is on to find the most outstanding educational professionals and establishments in the country.

This is the ninth year that the Awards have taken place and in almost a decade they have helped to elevate Scotland’s standing within the sector by highlighting examples of exceptional teaching and organisational excellence. They have shone a light on innovation; recognised the important work taking place to support students; revealed how the best institutions devote resources to building profitable links with employers; explored how creative marketing can open up courses and careers to a broad range of students and celebrated those exceptional  students and staff who have made an impact in a variety of different ways.

Last year’s winners included Queen Margaret University which won the Supporting Student Wellbeing Award, sponsored by Studiosity, for its ‘ Thank Goodness It’s Thursday’ initiative run by staff and volunteers, which tackled the cost of living crisis by providing free meals, weekend meal packs and social activities in a warm and friendly environment.

Isabelle Bristow, Studiosity’s Managing Director for UK and Europe said “The ‘Supporting Student Wellbeing’ award is in total harmony with our mission of increasing life chances for every student in the world. In collaboration with our university partners we continually innovate in order to better serve those communities; we have recently developed a new ethical, AI learning technology to support learning outcomes, as well as provide actionable insight for whole-of institution change.

This kind of immediate study support, combined with the wider support offered by universities both academically and pastoraly, is absolutely critical in ensuring students thrive and get the very most out of their learning journey. As our third consecutive year of sponsoring this award category, we know from the previous submissions just how passionate and committed to this goal the Scottish sector is. I can’t wait to see this year’s submissions and will be looking to see how aligned they are to the holistic support of students.”

Kyle Prele, Student President and HNC Applied Science student at West of Scotland College won the Outstanding Contribution from a College Student award for his tireless championing of inclusivity within academia, while The University of Dundee was named Higher Educational Institution of the Year at the same time as  Professor Sir Philip Cohen also received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in establishing The University of Dundee as a centre of research in life sciences, a sector which is contributing hugely to the UK economy and to the development of new medicines that are transforming health outcomes for patients with cancer, heart disease and other serious illnesses.

From projects that widened university and college access to using digital marketing to support sustainability and projects that are using artificial intelligence to protect the natural environment, last year’s award winners demonstrated the importance of the work across many sectors that is taking place within Scotland’s higher educational sector.

Hopes are high that this year’s entries will include further examples of innovation, creativity and exceptional outcomes within Scotland’s colleges and universities.

This year there are 15 separate awards categories including ‘Enhancing Student Learning, sponsored by QAA Scotland; Supporting Student Wellbeing, Sponsored by Studiosity and Innovative Use of Technology, sponsored by Jisc.

Other categories will recognise outstanding contributions from students and staff members, exceptional research projects, examples of effective business engagement, impactful contributions to the local community, partnership and marketing initiatives, access and equality campaigns, and the lifetime achievement of one individual who has made an outstanding contribution in their field.

The Herald Higher Education Awards 2024 help to build future excellence by facilitating the sharing of good practice thus strengthening the status of learning and teaching in the Scottish higher education sector, however that can only happen if educational establishments stand up to be counted and they can do that by ensuring that they take part, by submitting entries by Tuesday March 19. Full entry information and categories can be viewed at

The awards ceremony itself will take place on Tuesday, 28 May in The Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow