Strathclyde University claimed the title at a ceremony in London ahead of five other shortlisted institutions.
The judges described Strathclyde as a "bold, imaginative and innovative institution", and said the university's dedication to working with industry "took concrete form in the past year, giving a modern slant to its 18th-century founder's vision of a place of useful learning".
University principal and vice-chancellor Professor Sir Jim McDonald received the award.
He said: "This has been a transformational year for the University of Strathclyde and to be recognised by the Times Higher as university of the year is a great honour. The award reflects the hard work of staff across the university."