There were celebrations in Glasgow’s Crowne Plaza Hotel last night when the winners of The Herald Higher Education Awards 2022 were announced.

This is the seventh year that the Awards have taken place and the results were a confirmation of the exceptionally high standards of teaching and leadership that are prevalent across the sector.

For the winners it was a welcome chance to celebrate in the company of friends and colleagues and to share in the excitement of watching leading figures and rising stars in Scottish higher education being recognised for their work.

Amongst the winners were City of Glasgow College, who received the Enhancing Student Learning Award sponsored by QAA Scotland for their ‘Learn it. Earn it’ project.

The award for Research Project of the Year, sponsored by the Scottish Funding Council went to the University of Aberdeen for their Cool Farm Tool, which aims to tackle greenhouse gas emissions in food production.

The University of Edinburgh Chaplaincy won the Supporting Student Wellbeing Award, sponsored by Studiosity, for their ‘Listening Service’ initiative, while the Innovative Use of Technology Award, sponsored by Jisc, went to Edinburgh College for their VR Dementia Experience.

Sixteen awards in total were handed over during the evening, including the Widening Student Access award, which was won by Strathclyde University Student’s Union and Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community, which was won by Lorraine Wilkinson from Fife College.

It was a triple celebration for the University of the West of Scotland, which was not only named Higher Educational Institution of the Year, but whose staff member, Professor John Struthers received the Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by City of Glasgow College, whilst another of their colleagues, Khadija Mohammed was awarded Outstanding Contribution from a Staff Member.

Paul Little, Principal and Chief Executive, City of Glasgow College, sponsors of the Lifetime Achievement Award said: “I was delighted to present the Award to Professor Struthers and to witness the breadth of inspirational and innovative work which takes place across our sector. Scotland’s Colleges are proven economic and civic anchor institutions which the Herald Higher Education Awards rightly celebrate year on year. Well-deserved congratulations go to all the nominees and winners.”

There was praise too for innovation and achievements from the other sponsors.

Jason Miles-Campbell, head of Jisc Scotland & Jisc Norther Ireland, commented “Edinburgh College’s VR Dementia Experience project is an inspiration: an exceptional example of how technology can support the development of essential skills that employers value. It meets a clear, enduring need in the healthcare industry, encouraging understanding and empathy in a manner that would be difficult or impossible without technology. At the same time, it’s been delivered in an accessible way that provides a model for the development of similar VR resources to support other subject areas.”

And Lewis McKinnon, Head of Partner Development, Studiosity said: “We saw such crucial, innovative and humbling initiatives by all entrants for the Supporting Student Wellbeing Award. As a student first organisation, we recognise that until the myriad-issues that contribute to student wellbeing are acknowledged, addressed and supported, student success is invariably a hard act to follow. Our company mission is increasing life chances, one student at a time; so it was an absolute honour to be the sponsor of this award, recognising the great work taking place to support students at universities and colleges across Scotland. It was also an honour to present the award last night, and heartfelt congratulations again to the winning team at The University of Edinburgh Chaplaincy, for their ‘The Listening Service’ initiative.”

Donald Martin, Editor-in-chief, The Herald and The Herald on Sunday, said: “The depth and breadth of initiatives being carried out in our higher educational institutions is quite exceptional and it was only right that we had the chance to honour the organisations, staff and students who are at the forefront of so many exciting projects.”

During the evening, guests were entertained by musician Gordon Robertson and by David Laing of the Capella String Quartet.

For more details on the winners and finalists, visit the event website.