Times Higher Education (THE) is a London-based ruling education publication in the United Kingdom. Previously, it was known as the Times Higher Education Supplement (THE). From 1991 to 2008, it used to serve as a newspaper that mainly published higher education-related topics. On 10th January 2008 Times Higher Education (THE) started its new journey as a weekly magazine. Now, it serves the world of education by publishing The World University Rankings and Awards.

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The 2020 Times Higher Education announced the nominations in several categories, with the most prestigious category for the University of the Year 2020. For those who do not know, the Times Higher Education Awards is the Oscars of higher education in the United Kingdom. It was first started in 2005 and arranged an overseas event for the first time in 2019. Every year hundreds of institutions participate here. They get ranks and respect for any individual marvellous achievement, or teamwork, academic and researcher excellence, professional support, leadership roles, etc.

The recent awards show took place on November 26, 2020. However, because of COVID-19, the awards show was held virtually. When choosing and awarding nominees, the Times Higher Education chooses an educational institution based on teaching, research, access, and evidence of innovative and imaginative initiatives they have introduced.

2020 Nominations for the University of the Year Awards

The Times Higher Education University of the Year nominated the following educational universities in the United Kingdom for the 2020 University of the Year Awards:

  • Edge Hill University: They won the University of the Year award in 2014 and 2015.
  • University of Glasgow: They are one of the ancient Scottish universities in the United Kingdom, and they are the fourth oldest English-speaking educational institutions in the world.
  • Keele University: The educational institution has been ranked in the top three in England consistently.
  • Staffordshire University: The university has received a gold rating for the Teaching Excellence Framework.
  • University of Worchester: The Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings in 2019 awarded them first place for quality education.

The Winner of the Times Higher Education University of the Year 2020

The winner of the Times Higher Education University of the Year 2020 goes to the University of Glasgow.

The awards show recognised the University of Glasgow’s initiative to redress its historic connections to slavery through the reparative justice programme by awarding it the prestigious award. The awards recognise the achievements of educational institutions, teams, and individuals employed in higher education.

The judges proclaimed the Times Higher Education University Awards 2020 as “hugely deserving” of the award. They went on to state that the university assumed a moral position, acknowledged their ties to slavery, and then made the necessary amends. The UK university has set the bar high for not just itself but for all the universities in the United Kingdom.

In addition to this, the Times Higher Education University Awards shortlisted the University of Glasgow in the Technological or Digital Innovation of the Year awards category, shortlisting the educational institution for their work in creating a 3D virtual reality classroom for its students to further their understanding of complex molecular structures.

However, this was not the first good news for the University of Glasgow. The educational institution also witnessed major improvements in three prominent university rankings. They made the Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021’s list.

They went up two places, ranking 14th in the United Kingdom and holding their position at 2nd in Scotland. In the World University Rankings, the educational institution went up seven places, landing it on the 92nd rank.

The Guardian University Guide also moved the university up to two places, ranking it in the 12th position in the United Kingdom.

Remarks by University of Glasgow’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor

The principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow stated that it was a great honour to be awarded as the Times Higher Education University of the Year 2020 for the educational institution’s work on reparative justice and historic slavery and thanked the judging panel and THE for awarding them with the prestigious.

He also remarked that the University of Glasgow was the first educational institution in the United Kingdom to recognise their historical roots to slavery by performing intensive research on their past and being open and transparent about their findings with everyone.

One of the main reasons why the University of Glasgow is deserving of this award is that they were brave enough to have a conversation about it, as slavery is a difficult topic to discuss. However, the university says that having an open dialogue about their past was not only necessary, but it was the right thing to do. For this reason, they introduced the programme of reparative justice.

The Programme of Reparative Justice

The University of Glasgow aimed to address the issues of racial justice and race happening in the United Kingdom and all over the western world. They created the programme of reparative justice to show the steps to achieving racial justice and promote it in the university.


Through the programme, the university can shape itself as an educational institution in the United Kingdom that focuses on and prioritises justice and equality. According to the University of Glasgow, this programme is just the start, and they plan on developing it more and coming up with even more initiatives in achieving race and racial justice.

The University of Glasgow made this programme a reality by working with their staff, students, and collaborators in the University of West Indies, including their advisory board and the city of Glasgow. Through this programme, the educational institution strives to send a positive message to all their past, present, and future students about owning its history, no matter how negative it was, and then taking appropriate action to correct the errors of the past.

Although you can’t erase history, you can make amends with your past by ensuring your educational institution is built on racial justice and equality. From now on, the University of Glasgow will work tirelessly to represent every student and work alongside others to help them succeed by distancing themselves from their past and rebuilding a fair and equal future for all.

List of Winners of the Times Higher Education Awards 2020 in All Categories

University of the Year

  • University of Glasgow

THE Outstanding Achievement Award

  • Admissions teams, UK higher education 

Outstanding Support for Students

  • Nottingham Trent University 

Outstanding Contribution to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

  • University of Worcester 

Business School of the Year

  • Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University

Research Project of the Year: STEM

  • Heriot-Watt University

Research Project of the Year: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

  • Royal Holloway, University of London

Outstanding Research Supervisor of the Year

  • Tara Moore, Ulster University

Knowledge Exchange/Transfer Initiative of the Year

  • University of the West of Scotland

Technological or Digital Innovation of the Year

  • University of Exeter

Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community

  • University of Manchester

Outstanding Entrepreneurial University

  • Aston University

THE DataPoints Merit Award

  • University of Surrey

Outstanding Library Team

  • University of Edinburgh

Outstanding Technician of the Year

  • John Waters, University of Liverpool

Outstanding Estates Strategy

  • University of Birmingham

Widening Participation or Outreach Initiative of the Year

  • Royal Northern College of Music

Outstanding Marketing and Communications Team

  • Staffordshire University

Most Innovative Teacher of the Year

  • Judith Francois, Kingston University

International Collaboration of the Year

  • Swansea University, in collaboration with the UK and international partners

Next year, the Times Higher Education University will have another award season for the year 2021. Perhaps next year’s show will be in person instead of virtually. If you want to base your decision on the winners for the year 2020, you can refer to our list of winners.

Times higher education

If the year you will be applying for a UK university is 2021, we will have a new list for you with the updated winners, so do check back.


What does Times Higher Education stand for?

The Times Higher Education (THE), which used to be called The Times Higher Education Supplement (The Thes), is a British magazine that focuses on higher education news and problems.

How does Times Higher Education decide which universities to rank?

The rankings are based on the quality of an institution’s teaching, knowledge transfer, research, and worldwide viewpoint, as measured by 13 precisely calibrated performance factors.

Which university ranking is the most effective?

The Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), Times Higher Education (THE), and Shanghai Ranking Consultancy Rankings have been around the longest and have the most weight (the Academic Ranking of World Universities; ARWU).

What are the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings?

THE IMPACT RANKINGS claim to be the “world’s only rankings that measure universities’ commitments to the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).” It measures universities’ dedication to sustainability in four broad areas: research, outreach, stewardship, and teaching.