We are University of the Year



We are delighted that Birmingham is The Times and The Sunday Times University of the Year 2013–14. But why did we receive the title and what does it mean for our students, staff and alumni?

Five members of the University community share their views:


The leader: 

Professor Adam Tickell,  Provost and Vice-Principal

‘Elated is the only word to describe  my response when I heard Birmingham  was named University of the Year. I  believe our ability for enabling innovation  and entrepreneurial ideas is one of the  main reasons we were chosen.’


The undergraduate student: 

Edem Cleland-Awity  (First year, International Relations  with Economics) 

‘I heard the news before I arrived  here for my first year and I was very  happy because it confirmed I’d  made the right choice. I hope my  time here will be unforgettable and  intellectually stimulating.’


The postgraduate student: 

Becky Hair (Physiotherapy,  Pre-registration) 

‘This is a brilliant accolade for the  University that will certainly help with job  applications. My experience here just  confirms the University’s quality; from  lectures to placements, everything has  been of a really high standard.’


The researcher: 

Doug Ward (Senior Research Fellow,  School of Cancer Sciences) 

‘With more than 100 universities in  the UK competing for research funding  and the best students, anything that  improves our reputation is valuable.  For me, Birmingham stands out because  of the quality of the biomedical research  and the infrastructure to translate our  findings to patient care.’ 


The alumna: 

Dr Carla Skinner (BSc Geological  Sciences, 1966) 

‘I felt a mixture of pride and satisfaction  when I heard Birmingham had won  the title; it was good to see our  achievements being recognised.  I’d like to think that the A2B scheme,  which I have supported since its  inception, was one of the innovations  influencing the decision.’

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Why Birmingham?

In addition to overall quality and  performance against all the key measures,  it was Birmingham’s approaches to  challenges including student recruitment  and graduate employability that impressed  The Good University Guide expert panel. 

Campus:  Ask an alumnus what makes  Birmingham so special and the  response will almost certainly include  the campus. Thanks to our incredible  supporters and University investment,  the Aston Webb semi-circle has  been transformed with the completion  of the spectacular Bramall Music  Building. Plans are now under way  for campus developments including  a brand-new library, sports centre,  University Training School and  modern student accommodation.  This investment in facilities will  transform the University’s famous  Edgbaston home, improve the student  experience and extend services  available to the local community.

Student recruitment:  Birmingham addressed the impact  of higher tuition fees on student  recruitment by making unconditional  offers to 1,000 students predicted  AAA grades at A level in 2013. This  helped the University recruit some  of the brightest school-leavers in the  UK, while taking the pressure off  the sixth-formers when they sat their  summer examinations in June.

Alumni:  Alumni support is crucial and has a  huge impact, from mentoring students  to making gifts to the Circles of  Influence fundraising campaign.  Just one example of alumni support in  action is the Access to Birmingham  scholarships programme; through  which your donations have given  435 students from families with little  experience of higher education the  chance to study at Birmingham  since 2007.

Birmingham Fellows:  The Birmingham Fellows scheme was  introduced to help give early-career  academics security to develop their  ideas. Since 2011, your gifts have  helped more than 60 outstanding  post-doctoral researchers come to the  University on a trajectory to become  the next generation of research and  academic leaders.

Employability:  The University is determined to give  its students the best chance of  success and 92.8% of graduates are  employed or in further study six months  after leaving. Students are offered  extensive support through our Careers  Network with initiatives including  mentoring and internships provided by  alumni, and a range of bursaries helping  to fund work experience placements.  Many other universities are following this  example by introducing similar schemes. 

International:  With almost 5,000 international students  from more than 150 countries, and  31% of academic staff from overseas,  Birmingham is a truly global university.  Centres and research collaborations exist  in key territories including Brazil, China,  India and the US, and the introduction  of Massive Open Online Courses  (MOOCs) is digitally disseminating  research expertise from Birmingham  across the globe. 

World-leading research:  Research at Birmingham has led to  the development of new cancer drugs,  innovative materials used in aerospace  and automotive industries and better  techniques to help entrepreneurs succeed  in business. Collaborations with academic  colleagues both within and outside  the University, and partnerships with  businesses turn academic ideas  into projects that benefit society.




Spread the word 

Birmingham is University of the Year until September 2014 so please tell friends, colleagues, your family and anyone interested in studying here.