The inspiration offered by the University of Essex’s radical past helped it secure the title of University of the Year at the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards 2018.

The awards, now in their 14th year and widely referred to as the 'Oscars of higher education', shine a spotlight on the exceptional achievements of individuals, teams and institutions working in our sector today.

One of the Times Higher Education Awards judges said: “This is a university that is putting people first. The gender pay gap exists everywhere, but this university said what no one else dared to say: ‘There is an easy way to get rid of the pay gap – spend the money necessary to get rid of it. And do it now’.”

This observation touches on one of the numerous bold initiatives taken by Essex as it reconnected with its founding vision and values.

How has Essex done this? “By putting students and staff success at the centre of what we do, with tremendous effect”. Essex has been unabashed in its strategy to recruit students on the basis of potential rather than just prior achievement, and this has helped it to fulfil its potential.

Essex has delivered on its pledge to value staff in concrete ways, including a systematic decasualisation of the workforce, through pay equality and with staff contracts for graduate teaching assistants.

Essex Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster said: "This award recognises the impact of our amazing staff and students, the quality of our relationship with our Students’ Union and the strength of our national, regional and global partnerships.

“Founded as a progressive university, at Essex we are prepared to stand out from the crowd - and challenging convention is in our DNA. We are a community of talented, committed people, a university that is putting our staff and students first, and home to those who want to make the world a better place.

“I am delighted the award of University of the Year recognises these values and the achievements of our community of members.”

Students’ Union President Tancrede Chartier: “This award highlights the incredible qualities and achievements of Essex students, past and present, and the way our unique partnership with the University puts students at the heart of everything that happens at Essex.

"The University has the most brilliant, daring and bold students – students that are prepared to challenge the status quo and fight for what’s right - and we are all feeling justifiably proud today”

Essex’s strategy has drawn inspiration from its history of being on the side of the 'radical', of not falling victim to 'group think'; Essex’s focus on teaching and learning is transforming the lives of a growing student body of whom more than a third are from families with an annual income of less than £25,000.

The judges felt Essex had every right to claim to be a “home for staff and students who want to make the world a better place”.

THE editor John Gill said: “At a time when universities face challenges and headwinds, when politics and social attitudes can seem to call into question many of the things that they stand for and hold dear, it is particularly important to champion the values, creativity and dedication of those who live and breathe higher education.

"As ever, our shortlists represent the best of the best, but our judges also reported that this year’s entries were the strongest that they could remember, so all those honoured should be incredibly proud. It's THE's great honour to help celebrate their success.”

Why we were named University of the Year

Essex is going from strength to strength - welcoming record number of students this academic year and also attracting record levels of research funding.

Being named University of the Year is just our latest accolade after we maintained our top 30 ranking in the The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, 12 months after we were shortlisted for University of the Year by the Guide too.

We're seen as a sector leader on key issues including being the first university to take action to close the gender pay gap for staff, ensuring no pay gap across all grades.

At the same time we're also one of just a handful of universities to be recognised by the Government assessments of excellence in both education and research.

Essex is one of only a handful of 'dual intensive' universities meaning we're ranked in the top 25% for both research quality (Research Excellence Framework) and the quality of our education (Teaching Excellence Framework).

We've also developed an innovative approach to working with business and external partners, becoming the leading university in London and the south east for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships - Innovate UK's flagship programme.

Essex is also the first university to appoint a Chief Scientific Adviser to a County Council and has invested more than £50m into creating the Knowledge Gateway research and technology park at its Colchester Campus.

Confirming Essex’s global reputation, the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2019 placed Essex in the top 300 and 14th for international outlook, with Social Sciences ranked in the top 50.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page