Aberystwyth shortlisted for Times Higher Education award

IMG_0836ABERYSTWYTH University has been shortlisted for the award for Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology in the 2013 Times Higher Education awards.

The shortlist was announced today (5th September), and the winner will be announced at a ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on 28th November.

Aberystwyth University’s entry focuses on the breeding and development of High Sugar Grasses (AberHSG) by scientists at IBERS, the Institute of Biological Environmental and Rural Sciences.

Aberystwyth is up against the University of East Anglia, Loughborough University, Newcastle University, the University of Reading
and the University of Strathclyde for the prestigious award.

Nominations were open until the 16th June 2012, where anyone involved in Higher Education could submit a University for consideration for the awards, which are designed to celebrate achievements during the 2011-2012 academic year.

A panel of specially selected judges (chosen for their expertise in each field) created the shortlist after nominations were closed, choosing the higher education institutes which showed “outstanding examples of best practice” in the 2011-2012 academic year.

The winner will be selected on the judging day, where a carefully selected and distinguished panel of industry experts will meet in London.

Students’ Union Education Officer, Grace Burton, said ““It’s great news to hear about Aber being shortlisted for this award, and I look forward to finding out more details of the nomination. The Students’ Union already recognises innovative teaching and teaching through technology at our annual Student-Led Teaching Awards, so to hear that Aber’s talent has been recognised nationally is brilliant”

Vice-Chancellor April McMahon said “We are delighted to have reached theshortlist for these most prestigious awards, especially in an area showcasing the worldrenowned expertise of IBERS. This is very timely, coming soon after the announcement of our Innovation and Diffusion campus, where science, innovation and technology will have an unprecedented opportunity to develop together.”

The University is unique within the UK Higher Education sector in possessing commercially successful plant breeding programmes that generate products in the form of new varieties that are marketed within the UK and overseas.

High Sugar Grasses (AberHSG) have the potential to transform pastoral based livestock agriculture. Independent tests have emonstrated that AberHSG can increase the production of meat and milk by 24% and reduce methane emissions and nitrogenous pollutants by up to 20%.

The retailers ASDA and Sainsbury’s promote the use of Aber HSGs on their farms, estimating a reduction of 186,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, whilst raising profit by more than £10m p.a.

Other awards presented at the ceremony include Excellence and Innovation in the Arts, Outstanding ICT Initiative of the Year, Research Project of the Year, Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community, Outstanding Contribution to Leadership Development, Outstanding Employer Engagement Initiative, Widening Participation or Outreach Initiative of the Year, Outstanding Support for Students, Business School of the Year, Most Innovative Teacher of the Year, Outstanding Support for Early Career Researchers, Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development, Entrepreneurial University of the Year, Most Improved Student Experience, International Collaboration of the Year and University of the Year. The shortlists for those awards can be found here.

The Lord Dearing Lifetime Achievement Award will also be presented to an individual who has contributed to higher education above and beyond their own academic interests. This award has no shortlist and will be chosen by the Times Higher Education editorial board.