Excellence Awards

Excellence Awards

The Principal’s Excellence Awards are an annual celebration of the outstanding achievements of University of Aberdeen staff and students.

Staff and students are invited to nominate members of our community who have made significant contributions in categories ranging from: excellence in teaching; exceptional contributions in professional and support services; outstanding research and engagement; and more!

Nominations for the 2022 award are now closed. The 2023 Award will be launched to staff and students in October 2022. 

Note: The eligibility requirements differ for each award, please read the summary of terms and eligibility before you submit your nomination. For most awards, sections of the nomination forms will be shared with the nominee, including who has nominated them and why.

Principal's Excellence Awards 2022

AUSA and the University of Aberdeen Excellence Awards

The AUSA and University of Aberdeen Excellence Awards recognise excellence shown by University staff and students in supporting students through their learning.

Please review the eligibility criteria for these awards before submitting your nomination. 


Award Categories:

  1. Best Undergraduate Lecturer
  2. Best Supervisor (Undergraduate)
  3. Best Postgraduate (Taught) Lecturer
  4. Best Supervisor (Postgraduate Research)
  5. Personal Tutor of the Year
  6. Most Accessible Lecturer: A champion for students with disabilities
  7. Outstanding Innovation in Digitally Enhanced Learning: A member of staff who has provided you with new way of digital learning
  8. Outstanding Interdisciplinary Course Team: A course that has been really well designed, and has engaged you with students or topics from across different disciplines
  9. Best non-academic team or service: A team from professional or support services who have made a big impact on your life at university, or preparing you for life after university
  10. Best Support Staff (individual award): A member of professional services or support staff who have provided outstanding support, advice, guidance or contributed towards a positive student experience
  11. Mental Health Champion: Any member of staff that has shown a strong commitment to improving the students’ mental health.
  12. Most Inspiring: A member of staff who has inspired you in a memorable way
  13. Outstanding Commitment to Social Justice: A member of staff who has been a champion in creating a social justice change or challenging injustices
  14. Outstanding Commitment to Sustainability: A staff member who has gone above and beyond to help you, or the community, to be a more sustainable
  15. Best Student Class Rep
  16. Best Student Ambassador 
Principal's Awards for Excellence in Professional and Support Services

The Principal’s Awards for Excellence in Professional and Support Services recognise the exceptional contributions made by individuals and teams. They recognise the positive impact staff can have on others and highlight the significant contributions of staff in fulfilling the objectives and values of the University. The judging panel will be made up of university staff, students and external representatives to review all applications.

Please note: With the exception of the “Outstanding Team Award”, nominations in these categories can only be made for an individual member of staff. Nominations are welcome from both staff and students. Only staff in Professional Services & Support Services are eligible for these awards.

Award Categories

  • Excellence in Customer Service
    A member of staff who has consistently delivered an outstanding level of customer service.
  • Excellence in Leadership
    A manager who has demonstrated outstanding leadership which encouraged, motivated and inspired others.
  • Excellence in Partnership Working
    A member of staff who has worked consistently and effectively with partners, or collaborated with others to support the University's strategic priorities.
  • Excellence in Equality, Diversity & Sustainability
    A member of staff who has championed and advanced equality and diversity, or a member of staff who has made an outstanding contribution to enhancing the local community or the environment.
  • Excellence in Creativity & Innovation 
    A member of staff who has created or implemented a new and innovative approach within their area of responsibility, which has supported the achievement of strategic ambitions
  • Rising Star 
    A new member of staff (<2 years service) who has shown continuous commitment, enthusiasm and dedication to deliver outstanding services.
  • Outstanding Contribution to a Team or Role
    A member of staff who has made an outstanding contribution through an ‘above and beyond’ attitude as well as dedication and willingness to promote wellbeing and help and support other colleagues.
  • Outstanding Team
    A team who has made an outstanding contribution to the University in achieving their objectives. This team could be an existing business unit or an ad hoc team put together to achieve specific objectives.
Principal's Prizes for Research and Engagement

The Principal's Prizes for Research and Engagement are intended to recognise outstanding contributions in research, impact and engagement. Details of all categories and sub-categories are provided below.

Please review the Terms of Eligibility and Summary of Terms before submitting a nomination.

Outstanding Research Awards

Prizes will be awarded for innovative research or significant breakthrough or a major contribution to your field.

  • Postgraduate / Early Career Researcher Award (STEM)
  • Postgraduate / Early Career Researcher Award (Arts, Humanities and Social Science)
  • Individuals at Further Stages of Career Development (STEM)
  • Individuals at Further Stages of Career Development (Arts, Humanities and Social Science)
  • The Outstanding Research Project – COVID-19 Response and Recovery Award.
  • Interdisciplinary Research Award (for researchers from different fields working on an interdisciplinary project – team or individual)
  • The Outstanding Research Team Award.

Outstanding Postgraduate Research Supervisors Award

The Outstanding Postgraduate Research Supervisor Award recognises an individual who has delivered outstanding supervision to one or more doctoral research students. We are seeking nominations of supervisors who are providing a supportive, stimulating and inspirational research environment for doctoral students.

We are particularly keen to receive nominations of supervisors who demonstrate:

  • Innovative (or pioneering) approaches to supervision (e.g., students from non-traditional backgrounds)
  • Outstanding support for students during challenging times
  •  Genuine enthusiasm for supervising students
  • Development of outstanding career paths for their students

Postgraduate students are also invited to nominate their supervisor for this award.

Success in Engagement with Industry Award

This prize will recognise successful engagement with industry through impact on an industry partner’s processes, products or services. 

Development Trust Award for Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement

The University of Aberdeen Development Trust and the Alumni Engagement team are delighted to recognise the contributions of staff and students to philanthropic fundraising and alumni engagement. We have received tremendous support over the past year and this award will recognise any of the following activities that have contributed to the University’s strategic aims

  • engagement with our alumni, including events, visits and other activities;
  • engagement with donors and potential donors;
  • personally giving or fundraising in aid of University initiatives;
  • raising awareness of the impact and importance of philanthropic giving.

The benefits of fundraising and alumni relations impact the whole University community and this Award is intended to recognise the people that enable this across the institution. Self-nominations or nominations from the Development Trust and Alumni Engagement team are welcomed.

Public Engagement with Research

Prizes will be awarded to researchers to recognise outstanding achievement in research-led public engagement. By research-led public engagement, we mean interaction with communities outside academia that has been inspired or is driven by research activity.

  • Early Career Researcher
  • Main Prize

Applications linked to biomedical research will also be considered for an Outstanding Achievement in Biomedical Sciences prize.

Research Culture Award

The University of Aberdeen promotes the highest standards of research, and strives to provide a working environment that supports and rewards a positive research culture.

The Royal Society’s definition of research culture is “Research Culture encompasses the behaviours, values, expectations, attitudes and the norms of research communities.  It influences who is doing research, what research is done and how it is communicated.  Research culture impacts on … integrity, diversity, career paths, reward and recognition, open science and the ethos of collaboration.”

As part of our work on promoting a positive research culture, the University of Aberdeen is seeking nominations for staff members leading initiatives, programmes or projects that are positively influencing our research culture.

Research Impact Award

The Impact Award recognises a project or projects carried out by individual researchers or teams of researchers that resulted in significant non-academic impact.

Non-academic impact is defined as the demonstrable effect that the research has had on society or the economy, and the benefit that the research has had on individuals, organisations or nations.

The Emily Drouet Award

The Emily Drouet Award is an annual celebration of kindness. Part of the University’s Excellence Awards, the Emily Drouet Award recognises a University of Aberdeen student who has gone above and beyond to support others.

Principal’s Teaching Excellence Award (Staff)

More information on the Principal's Teaching Excellence Award is available on StaffNet via the link below.

Key Dates

  • Nominations open Wednesday 27 October 2021.
  • Nominations close at 12noon on Monday 31 January 2022.
  • A list of all nominees will be shared in the staff newsletter by Thursday 10 February 2022.
  • Judging panels will select winners and runners-up (shortlisted nominees) in most categories by Friday 18 February 2022.
  • Please note important change of date: Winners will be announced at an Excellence Awards ceremony on Wednesday 20 April 2022. Winners and runners-up will be announced to the wider community on Thursday 21 April 2022.   



For more information or questions about the awards, email excellenceawards@abdn.ac.uk