Promoting world-class excellence and chievement through The Queen's Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education

King's College London: international collaborations promoting excellence in health care

Commentary

Recipients of The Queen's Prizes comment on the impact of the Prize on their work:and on progress in the period following the award:

University of York - Social Policy Research Unit (SPRU)

Since winning a Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2009 ["A long term contribution to UK social policies to improve the lives of vulnerable people"] the SPRU has continued to inform best practice to tackle long-standing issues.  It has established partnerships with the Carers Trust, the Thomas Pocklington Trust and Crohn's Colitis UK.  Existing partnerships with dementia organisations have seen the start of a large NIHR-funded project on the role of Life Story Work in dementia care.  Research in work-related stress in the children's healthcare workforce has attracted significant international interest with collaborations in Canada and Australia.  The SPRU's Welfare and Employment team's work on the simplification of the benefits system for working age people has been included in the government's Green and White Papers, while the Children and Young People's Social Work Team involves training young people who have had experience of the care system as 'peer researchers' for a project on corporate parenting.  Longitudinal research has traced the ways in which policy emphasis on 'choice' plays out in younger and older disabled people's lives and those of their families.  On the basis of this track record of work the SPRU became one of the founding members of the national School for Social Care Research created by the NIHR.  www.york.ac.uk/spru  

Aberystwyth University - Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences

The University won a Queen's Anniversary Prize in round 8 [2009: "Plant breeding and genetics for economic, environmental and educational benefit"] for work in producing new varieties of agricultural and amenity grasses, forage legumes and oats.  Recent developments include combining the productive traits of ryegrass with the stress tolerance traits present in related grasses.  A festulolium cultivar bred by the Institute in 2012 was the first to enter the UK National Recommended List combining high yield with improved winter hardiness. New deep rooting festulolium cultivars are being generated to enhance drought  and heat tolerance under development.  The Institute's oat breeding programme is developing innovative varieties, combing high groat-oil content with a low lignin husk making for easier digestion, that show considerable potential to reduce methane emissions from ruminants.  Finally, a new phenomics facilty (enabling traits or characteristics to be made apparent) has been constructed at the Institute capable of high throughput non-destructive phenotyping of a wide range of plant material.  This is a unique facility in the UK

Edinburgh Napier University - Institute for Sustainable Construction

The University's Prize in round 8 [2009: "Innovative housing construction for environmental benefit and quality of life"] has further progressed through the award of £1,7m of funding from the Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Enterprise and European Regional Development Funding to support the construction industry and specifically SMEs to develop low carbon solutions for future buildings standards and regulations - the "Low Carbon Building Technologies Gateway".  To date  over 270 innovative products and processes have been supported resulting in an additional £1m levered for companies' R & D.  There are now (November 2012) over 600,000 new homes built using the "Robust Details" approach which was at the centre of the University's Prize-winning entry.  Professor Sean Smith, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Construction (ISC) comments : "There is no doubt that the Queen's Anniversary Prize has significantly enhanced the profile of the research team now based within the ISC at Edinburgh napier University and opened new doors and opportunities."

Newcastle University's Institute for Ageing and Health

Work related to the University's Prize-winning work in round 8 [2009: "Research on ageing, with important applications for health and care"] has progressed in a number of areas.  The Newcastle Initiative on Changing Age (NICA) is examining how participation in arts and cultural activities improves the health of older people, and commissioned artworks for an exhibition "Coming of Age: The Art and Science of Ageing" held to critical acclaim at The Great North Museum.  NICA also runs a European-funded project helping small and medium enterprises in the North East deliver services for an ageing society.  As part of a new Centre for Mitochondrial Research at the University, set up by the Wellcome Trust, work is being done on the role of exercise in clinical care of older people, while the University's Clinical Ageing Research Unit (CARU) is engaged on a new investigation of gait, balance, mobility and visual perception as they affect the elderly.  The University is also closely involved with the novel CRESTA clinics (Clinics for Research and Service in Themed Assessment) within the Newcastle NHS Foundation Trust.  These clinics aim to provide a range of evaluations and investigations, covering for example atypical Parkinson's, neurogenetics, post-stroke and cardiac problems, in a single appointment and leading to a plan for managing the patient's care more effectively.  All this work has helped implement and spread a beneficial culture shift across the University as regards awareness of ageing.

South Nottingham College: "Balls to Poverty" programme

The College won a Queen's Prize in round 9 of the scheme for the work of its educational charity which uses sports training to tackle major social challenges ["Education, sports training and community engagement at home and overseas"].  Since the award of the Prize the College has launched, through its charity directed by Joe Sargison, an extension of the intitaive to collaborations with a number of  universities and has extended its Schools Community Programme beyond Nottingham to Leeds and Loughborough. This year, 2012, its established activity in Uganda and in South African townships has delivered football coaching training to some 50 community schools and other projects and has reached upwards of 5,000 young people in the region, as well as some 2,000 Nottingham City primary school pupils on the home front.

Professor Jonathan Shepherd CBE, Professor of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery and Director, Violence Research Group, Cardiff University

The University won a Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2009: "Tackling violence in society through research, new use of data and original collaborations between medicine and criminal justice". Since then a national implementation group has been set up in the Department of Health, major funding has been allocated and 150 hospitals are now sharing anonymised information with local government and the police for violence prention purposes. This work is associated with year on year reductions in the number of people injured in violence in England and Wales who are treated in accident and emergency departments.  There are also implementation sites in Holland, the USA and South Africa..  The Group has in addition developed an entirely new care pathway for people affected by violence.  Practice guidance, published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 2012, introduces the concept of "Victim Health" for the first time.

Professor Bill Davies CBE, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, University of Lancaster

"Intensification of crop production to feed growing populations has been accompanied by significant increases in the use of water, fertilizers and agrochemicals.  The key issue therefore is how water use in agriculture can be controlled while food production is sustained or increased.  The University's plant science research [2009 Queen's Anniversary Prize for: "Plant science applied to water shortage, crop yield and global food security"] has led to a variety of novel developments in irrigation scheduling and placement which exploit the science of root-to-shoot signalling.  In the Shiyang river valley and other regions in China, water-saving irrigation techniques based on Lancaster science - recognised in Nature as "science that could change the world" - have been recommended which will have substantial positive impacts on the natural environment.  Another "deficit irigation" (DI) technique, devised to save water via the manipulation of plant signalling, is alternate wetting and drying (AWD) of soil in paddy rice production.  New work, with potential implications for reducing the uptake of harmful ions in countries such as Bangladesh , is being funded by BBSRC in collaboration with the University of Newcastle". 

King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry

KCL was a Queen's Anniversary Prize-winner in round 8 of the scheme [2009: "International collaborations promoting excellence in mental health care"] and reports a major development with the publication in 2011 by WHO of a new methodology for asessing the perceived needs of populations affected by natural and socio-political traumas.  This isis the Humanitarian and Emergency Settings Perceived Needs Scale (HESPER), the result of a collaborative project between KCL and the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at WHO.  Most humanitarian needs assessment has tended to use established indicators or data sources but has not addressed the needs as directly felt and communicated by those affected.  HESPER fills that gap with a quick and scientifically reliable method for gathering these subjective perceptions.  Pilot and field-testing carried out in a number of locations including Gaza, Jordan, Sudan, Haiti and Nepal has shown that HESPER is a robust methodology complementary to those currently in place.  It is now enshrined in a WHO handbook, for use in the field, which will anable a more focused response to mental health and psychosocial needs occasioned nby natural disasters and large-scale conflict.

Professor Sujit Banerji, Executive Director Postgraduate Programmes, International Manufacturing Centre The University of Warwick

Most university recognition and focus is on research and driven by research assessment processes.  Teachers and educators sometimes feel forgotten and not sufficiently appreciated in those exercises.  This award [The Queen's Anniversary Prize 2009 for "Long-term educational partnerships supporting UK competitiveness in Manufacturing], the only significant one for teaching, goes a long way towards recognising this basic raison d'etre of universities and provides a powerful boost to the morale of staff engaged in teaching and education activities.  Besides this benefit, the contribution of the award towards a university's prestige, recognition and draw for potential students is of course well recognised.

Professor Michael Fulford, University of Reading

"The award of the Queen's Anniversary Prize [2009: "World-leading archaeology: making the past work for the present"] has very considerably enhanced the reputation of the Silchester Field School, firstly through training and stimulating the interest of a younger generation in archaeology including a signficant percentage (20%) of A-level students, and secondly through the unfolding research and particularly the insights into the pre-Roman town of Cavella which has attracetd international as well as national attention with almost 18,000 visits to the excavation during the 18 weeks of fieldwork.  Finally, in the three years since the award fo the Queen's Prize the Field School has attracted substantial external funding dedicated to enhancing the experience of archaeology and the development of research".

University of East Anglia collaboration with China  in agriculture and water

UEA won a Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2009 (round 8) for "Alleviating poverty in developing countries through environmental sustainability".  This work has subsequently developed a joint project with China whose object is to estimate the carbon cost of adapting to climate change in respect of water use in agriculture.  The project, initiated in 2010, will assess the main impacts of climate change on agriculture in China, develop estimates of energy consumption for agriculture water use and connect China's national policies for climate change adaptation with the country's energy use at national and provincial level, in irrigation and other agricultural uses.  It is expected to work to a time horizon into the 2030s and is a partnership with Cranfield University, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the Centre for Chinese Agricultural Policy.

Professor Brian Cantor FREng, Vice-Chancellor The University of York 

The University was awarded a Queen's Prize in 2005 for its research into novel agricultural products and their applications.  The following year our Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP) secured major funding of $13.6 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to improve supplies of an anti-malarial drug, obtained from the Artemisia plant using the latest genetic and analytical technologies.  A second grant from the Foundation, amounting to $12.49 million, was awarded in 2009 to support late-stage development of high yielding varieties and their delivery to the supply chain.  Winning the Queen's prize four years previously was in my view one of the quality markers which helped consolidate the relationship with the Foundation and secure the second tranche of funding.

  

Professor Alan Fenwick OBE, Professor of Tropical Parasitology and Director of SCI, Imperial College London 

"The award in round 7 of The Queen's Anniversary Prize to the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI) which was Imperial College's entry [2007 - "Effective and affordable control of parasitic diseases in Africa"] has proved to be very influential in confirming SCI's status and credibility in the international field of Public Health.  SCI staff have been invited to participate in a number of policy meetings at the World Health Organisation, the G20 and in the United States.  Recently [October 2010] SCI was awarded a contract by DFID for £25 million to be invested in the control of schistosomiasis and intestinal worms in Africa.  I am sure that the status of SCI was enhanced by the Queen's Prize and surely proved to DFID that we were a credible organisation able to implement the programme they were wanting to support."

Professor Shirley Pearce CBE, Vice-Chancellor and President Loughborough University  

"It is clear that the awards have made a real difference at a number of levels.  The external validation that the Prizes deliver is a very significant boost to the staff involved.  Our academic and support staff are extremely proud of the Prizes and each department that has won them utilises them in their daily work in a number of ways.  It is also the case that participation in the scheme leads to a process internally which helps us take stock of what we are doing and review our strengths and weaknesses.  Gathering evidence to support our submission has revealed rich seams of excellence within the University which might not otherwise attract the attention they deserve.  It has also helped us to gain a clearer understanding of how our external partners perceive our work and we have been greatly heartened by the warm endorsemenrts we have received." 

 

Baroness Blackstone BSc PhD, Vice-Chancellor The University of Greenwich 

"[The Prize] helps us to market the University as such and is in this way valuable in recruiting students and staff.  One of the things that I particularly value about the Prize is that it recognises outstanding work across a range of university activities including widening participation, teaching and enterprise.  So much external recognition is confined to world class research.  It is especially helpful to universities which are less research intensive than others.  Prestige should not be entirely about research.  As far as the project is concerned ["Tabeisa" : a UK/Africa partnership supportuing local business enterprise and tackling root causes of poverty"] it has consolidated the relationship between the existing partners and of course for the project staff it has been a huge boost and recognition of their achievement.  It has been particularly helpful in dealing with potential collaborators internationally, providing additional reassurance about the effectiveness of the project." 

 

Professor Geoff Mays, Head of School, Cranfield Defence and Security  

"The Queen's Anniversary Prize is a mark of educational excellence.  The award of the Prize to Cranfield University in October 2007 ["Building sustainable mine-clearing capabilities in affected countries"] in recognition of our commitment to humanitarian demining has provided substantial and immediate benfits to the University.  The award was announced by the United Nations Mine Action Service to the global mine action community in November 2007, and our success then cascaded down to demining organisaions and to individuals who benefit from our efforts.  Of particular importance is the  benefit to our own staff - managers and support staff at Shrivenham and to those in the field providing education, delivering training courses, conducting applied research and providing consultancy services.  The award has increased the commitment of all those who contribute to our important mission and humanitarian goals."   

 

Doug Boynton OBE, Principal Telford College of Arts and Technology 

"The Queen's Award [2007 for "Delivering econically important skills on employers' premises"] has undoubtedly helped us to work with a range of organisations from both the private and public sector.  Companies are aware of the award and relate it with quality organisations and in all cases we are congratulated for winning such a prestigious prize.  From the perspective of the company that we use to generate business leads for us it is a major advantage when introducing Telford College's services.  Organisations take immediate notice and it undoubtedly helps open doors, gain appointments and be awarded contracts." 

 

Professor Madeleine Atkins, Vice-Chancellor Coventry University 

"The award [2007 for "Educating tomorrow's world leaders in automotive design"] has been most beneficial when exploring overseas partnerships, leading the way for benchmarking capability and establishing esteem in discussions.  It has provided additional weight to our application for establishing a Fulbright Scholarship in the department and continues to be a valuable recruitment tool in all our presentations and literature." 

 

Professor Chris Lowe, Head of the Department of Biotechnology University of Cambridge  

"There is no doubt that the award [2007 for "A 21st century model of applied research and entrepreneurship in biotechnology" developed by the Institute of Biology] has been invaluable in raising our profile overseas where The Queen's Anniversary prize is known and has been particularly helpful in our case for promoting the Institute's activities in, for example, new territories such as the Middle East and Gulf States where Royal connections are very strong."   

 

Julia Hawkins, Centre for Mathematical Sciences University of Cambridge 

"The prestige of the Prize and the endorsement whcih it represents has been helpful in our fundraising efforts.  Since winning the prize [2005 for "The Millennium Mathematics Project: inspiring the study of mathematics"] we have secured funding from a number of corporate and charitable donors, including a major gift from the US-based Goldman Sachs Foundation to establish a new programme working with school students and teachers from disadvantaged communities." 

 

Nigel Carrington, Rector University of the Arts London 

"We held a number of celebratory events [around the award in 2007 for "Educating the world's creative shoe and accessory designers"] and these created new links for the London College of Fashion with people and companies with whom we are now working.  It has also boosted our fundraising efforts, particularly with the Livery Companies, and raised the profile of our footwear and accessory courses."