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Sussex shortlisted for ‘University of the Year’ in THE Awards 2011

The University of Sussex has been shortlisted today for 'University of the Year' in the 2011 Times Higher Education Awards.

The winner of the title will be revealed at a ceremony in London on 24 November.

Sussex is competing for the accolade against five other UK universities: Dundee, Edge Hill, Nottingham, Sheffield and Southampton.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Farthing said: "This is fabulous news for everyone at Sussex as we enter our 50th anniversary year. It is a tremendous tribute to the hard work of the staff and students, which has led to widespread recognition of the University as an excellent place to work and to study."

The Times Higher Awards are open to all higher education institutions in the UK. Judges for the 'University of the Year' category were looking not just at evidence of strong research, teaching, access and business performance, but also at particularly bold, imaginative and innovative initiatives.

The improvements at Sussex, as listed in the University's entry for the award, include:

  • Undergraduate applications rising by over 50 per cent in two years - five times the national average;
  • Postgraduate applications for taught degrees doubling over two years, with the University on course to admit over 2,100 postgraduate taught students in 2011-12;
  •  Research income growth up over 30 per cent since 2007;
  • A steady annual rise in league table rankings, placing Sussex firmly in the UK's top 20 and rated among the top 80 institutions worldwide in the 2010 Times Higher Education World Rankings;
  • Rising year on year to 7th place in the National Student Survey 2010, up from 122nd in 2007.

Recent improvements at Sussex have been driven by the University's ambitious strategic plan, Making the Future, 2009-2015, which has focussed on delivering growth in research activity, boosting student numbers, improving the student experience and revitalising the campus.

The University has strengthened the student experience by introducing attractive new curriculum areas, such as in business and management. It has developed Sussex Plus to help students document their extra-curricular skills and experience and has invested in 70 doctoral studentships (worth more than £3 million).

In the last year, 25 new professors have been appointed, reflecting the University's commitment to investment in areas of academic strength and innovation, especially in the sciences.

And it is now completing £100m investment in building major new academic buildings and campus residences and refurbishing the library.

The University is also shortlisted in the category 'Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology' for the development of the Electric Potential Sensor (EPS), a non-contact voltmeter capable of acquiring almost any electrical signal remotely.

 The technology has a wide range of interdisciplinary applications, from being able to monitor a patient's heart rate remotely through a handheld sensor, to measuring the electrical imprint of fingerprints. It has been developed by a team based in the University's Department of Engineering and Design, led by Professor Robert Prance. It is being licensed and manufactured by Plessey Semiconductors Ltd. In June 2011, the EPS application was awarded Gold Medal in the world's leading Sensor Expo in the USA.

Professor Robert Allison, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) said: "We are delighted that the EPS has been recognised as a major achievement. This technology could impact widely on quality of life, safety and security, wealth generation and new research tools by providing: affordable healthcare solutions for the ageing population; passive sensors for the security and safety markets; and a new generation of test and measurement equipment for physical, biological and medical research and for the semiconductor and materials manufacturing sectors."

Notes for Editors


  • Times Higher Education Awards 2011 will be announced on 24 November.
  •  EPS sensor

University of Sussex Press office contacts: Maggie Clune and Jacqui Bealing. Tel: 01273 678 888. Email:

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Last updated: Thursday, 1 September 2011

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