Lancashire universities shine at Educate North Awards

The University of Central Lancashire took three awards home from the Educate North Awards, while Edge Hill University claimed a pair of its own.

The Educate North Awards, which played out before an audience of 300, celebrate best practice and excellence in the education sector in the North.

UCLan was shortlisted for eight awards, winning three, the most of any university on the night. 

Winning the Business/Industry Collaboration-University Sector category, the university’s Creative Innovation Zone (CIZ) was praised for using creative thinking techniques to bring together students, academics and industry from diverse courses, backgrounds, expertise, and sectors to exchange knowledge and solve challenges set by employers.

The Research Project of the Year prize gave recognition to Professor Nicola Lowe and her team whose BIZIFED initiative is an international, multi-partner collaboration designed to explore sustainable solutions to malnutrition. The results of the research will inform government policy globally as evidence for the effectiveness of the biofortification of staples, such as wheat, as a sustainable way to address malnutrition.

The External Relations Team of the Year category UCLan’s detailed entry was praised with the judges commenting: “A very comprehensive submission showing an outstanding and extensive programme which appears ahead of the curve - well done. A super impressive range of initiatives which effectively demonstrate the positive impact they have made.”

Prof Graham Baldwin, UCLan’s vice-chancellor, said: "It’s fantastic to see the great breadth of activity at UCLan recognised through these prestigious sector awards and I would like to add my congratulations to everyone involved whose outstanding work has been justly recognised.

"To walk away with more awards than any other university is absolutely outstanding and as we emerge from the pandemic this recognition will give the whole University a real lift, continuing our mission to transform lives by delivering an outstanding educational experience."

Meanwhile, Edge Hill University’s Small and Medium Enterprise Productivity & Innovation Centre (SME PIC) won the Business collaboration and Partnerships Award for the university sector.

SME PIC runs a number of initiatives supporting local businesses, having helped 322 SMEs over the last 12 months. Launched in 2017 as a new strategic gateway and Centre of Excellence to scale-up potential SMEs, the centre enhances knowledge, skills and resources to boost products and services, and assists with business model innovation.

Prof Simon Bolton, director of SME PIC, said: "This win is not only testament to the hard work of the SME PIC team but also recognition of the impact the programme has had on helping ambitious SMEs from across the region to grow through job creation and product and service innovation."

Edge Hill’s Tackling the Blues mental health programme for children and young people also won in the Mental Health and Wellbeing Category for the university sector.