COVID-19 and climate change work recognised in The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education 2020-2022

Her Majesty The Queen has approved the award of The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes to twenty-one higher and further education institutions in the most recent round of the independently reviewed scheme. This prestigious award is the highest national honour available to universities and FE colleges across the UK.

In a period where COVID-19 and climate change have become the most prominent issues of our time, the final list of prizewinners reflects the strong contribution of universities and colleges in these areas. 

Among those honoured are two universities – Imperial College; Oxford, whose efforts delivered vitally important data modelling and the design and creation of a COVID-19 vaccine respectively. This work was notably completed at an unprecedented speed and helped reduce loss of life worldwide from coronavirus. Leading work in virology and epidemiology at the University of Glasgow and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has also been recognised.

A number of prize-winning applications also addressed climate change (universities of Aberdeen, Leeds, Reading; LSE) as well as broader environmental issues. Prizewinners were also announced for important work in digital skills training, mental health, heritage and advanced precision engineering and manufacturing.

Despite the added challenges of making an application during the pandemic, the number of entries in the prizes scheme was the highest for a decade.

Round 14 also reflects the highest number of FE colleges awarded a prize since the scheme began in 1994, illustrating the critical work taking place across the sector to train young people for employment in the new green economy.

Sir Damon Buffini, chairman of the Royal Anniversary Trust said: “The colleges and universities honoured on this list are testament to the rich and impactful work being done at our educational institutions day in, day out – particularly in the face of challenges that have forced them to adapt so rapidly.

“This round saw the highest number of entries in a decade. It is rewarding to witness the scheme’s continued growth in profile in recent years, and the relevance and positive effect each winner’s work is having both within its field and beyond. Huge congratulations to the latest prize-winners!”

The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes recognise outstanding work by UK colleges and universities, which demonstrates excellence and innovation and delivers real benefit to the wider world. 

“These honours are granted by The Queen every two years, and entry to the scheme is open to all recognised UK colleges or universities offering full-time programmes.  Entries are subjected to rigorous specialist and technical assessment through a process managed by the Royal Anniversary Trust, a charity independent of government. Recommendations for HM The Queen’s approval are made on the Prime Minister’s advice. 

The full list of prizewinners can be viewed at:

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