LEADING figures from the Scottish higher education sector have been recognised for their achievements at the inaugural Herald Higher Education Awards.

The awards, held in association with the University of the West of Scotland (UWS), celebrated the impact colleges and universities have on national life and their role in society.

The big winner at last night’s event at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow was the University of Glasgow. Staff were presented with the prestigious Higher Educational Institution of the Year award, supported by Anderson Strathern, and the prize for Outstanding Employer Engagement, sponsored by the SQA. Awards were also won by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the University of Dundee and Edinburgh Napier University.

Keynote speaker Professor Craig Mahoney, principal and vice-chancellor of University of the West of Scotland, said: “I am a strong advocate of transformative learning and am excited by the extraordinary developments that are happening across Scotland’s universities and higher education institutions.

“These awards highlight this work and it was a pleasure to see the standard of entrants. I would like to congratulate all institutions for their fantastic work.”

Fiona Killen, Governance Lead for Anderson Strathern’s Education Group and the head of the firm’s Parliamentary and Public Law Unit said: “Education is at the heart of the future of Scotland and at Anderson Strathern we work in partnership with our education clients in schools, colleges and HE institutions to build that future. We would like to congratulate all the winners.”

Hosted by BBC Scotland newsreader Catriona Shearer, there were more than 250 guests. Other supporters were City of Glasgow College, technology provider Jisc, the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education in Scotland (QAA), the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).

Professor Maggie Kinloch, vice principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for more than 30 years of dedication to the arts and higher education.

Presenting the award, Paul Little, principal and chief executive officer of City of Glasgow College, said “Given that one fifth of higher education is delivered in colleges like ourselves, we are delighted to have been involved with the awards.”

The University of Dundee scooped the Innovation Technology Excellence Award and Jason Miles-Campbell, head of Jisc Scotland and Jisc Northern Ireland, who sponsored the category, said “The team at Dundee has grasped digital opportunity, giving us an excellent example of how innovative practice can make a real difference to students who might otherwise be excluded.”

Director of QAA Scotland, Rowena Pelik said: ‘QAA Scotland is delighted to have been involved with the inaugural Herald awards.  The quality of entrants in the Enhancing Student Learning Award is testament to the creative and innovative approaches to learning and teaching in higher education in Scotland, the shortlist demonstrates how effectively learning is being linked to employability and future career skills.  We would like to congratulate Napier University on winning’

Laurence Howells, Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council said: “We are delighted to have been part of the first Higher Education Awards. The quality of entries for the Widening Access Award was very high, which is testament to the great work going on in our colleges and universities to open up opportunities for people across Scotland. Congratulations to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland on winning the award and the well-deserved recognition for all their hard work.”

Dr Janet Brown, SQA's Chief Executive said, "SQA is delighted to be sponsoring the Employer Engagement category at tonight's Higher Education Awards. We have heard about some great work from the finalists in the category and how they engage with employers. I'd like to congratulate all the finalists and in particular the category winner, University of Glasgow, on their success."

Edinburgh Napier Univer-sity took the Enhancing Student Learning Award, supported by QAA Scotland.

Full list of the winners

Student Support Team of the Year

City of Glasgow College - Keeping Warm Campaign

Academic Support Team of the Year

Robert Gordon University - Study Support Team

Outstanding Contribution from a Student

Ruby Shorrock, University of Glasgow

Enhancing Student Learning Award – Supported by QAA Scotland

Edinburgh Napier University - The Get on Board Pilot

Research Project of the Year

Personalised Foot Orthotics

Outstanding Employer Engagement – Supported by SQA

University of Glasgow - MSc Stratified Medicine

Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community

The Open University and Asda - Developing Dementia-Friendly Communities in Scotland

Campaign of the Year

Queen Margaret University - Recipe for Success – Scottish Centre for Food Development & Innovation

Widening Access Award - Supported by Scottish Funding Council

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland - Transitions 20/40

Innovation Technology Excellence Award – Supported by Jisc

University of Dundee - Medical School Technology and Innovation in Learning

Lifetime Achievement Award – Supported by City of Glasgow College

Professor Maggie Kinloch

Higher Education Institution of the Year – Supported by Anderson Strathern

University of Glasgow

Research Project of the Year

Glasgow Caledonian University – 3D Printed Personalised Foot Orthotics