About the Prizes
The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes recognise outstanding work by UK colleges and universities that shows quality and innovation and delivers real benefit to the wider world and public through education and training. The Prizes are the highest national Honour awarded in UK further and higher education. Prizes are granted by The Queen every two years.
Colleges and universities throughout the UK do outstanding work year after year. All of it has impact and benefit well beyond the institution – positively affecting education, the economy and wider society in many different ways.
Past winners of The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes have been recognised for work in a wide range of disciplines – science, engineering, arts and the creative industries, education, the humanities, the environment and medicine. Prize-winning work has involved vocational training, research and development, resourcing and new facilities, and new approaches to teaching and learning. Direct benefits have been delivered at local, regional, national and international level.
The scheme is unique in the Honours system in that it provides valuable external recognition to the institution as a whole, irrespective of the particular subject selected for the entry. The entry therefore represents the whole university or college, which then has freedom to turn this recognition to its future advantage.
The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes scheme runs on a two-year cycle. The most recent (13th) round started in 2018 and concluded with the Buckingham Palace ceremony in February 2020. More information on the Prize-winners can be found here. The 14th round will open for applications in the Autumn of 2020.
Institutions submit a short narrative description of an aspect of their work that they believe meets the criteria for the award of a Prize. The main test is that it is of high quality, is distinctive and innovative, and brings specific benefits to the institution and public benefit in the wider world.
Entries are assessed in an independent review process taking several months and involving a wide range of consultations with experts, specialists and organisations in the public and non-governmental sectors. A shortlist is considered by the Awards Council of the Trust (trustees, senior officials from across the UK and others) and a list of recommended institutions is presented to The Queen for approval on the Prime Minister’s advice.
The winning entries are formally announced at St James’s Palace in the November of the year of entry. Prize-winners receive the award early the following year from senior members of the Royal Family at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace which is modelled on a personal investiture. See CELEBRATING WINNING section.
The creation of The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes was announced in Parliament in 1993 by the Prime Minister, with Her Majesty’s consent and with all-party support. Prizes in the first round were awarded in 1994 and there have been 13 biennial rounds to date.
The 13th round (2018-20) of the scheme concluded in February 2020. A total of 275 Prizes have been awarded since the start of the scheme.
The Prizes are managed by The Royal Anniversary Trust, which is an independent charity. The Trust was established in 1990 to create a national programme of educational activities and other events marking the 40th anniversary of The Queen’s accession in 1992 and in appreciation of her many years of service as Head of State. See our video.