Excellence Awards

Excellence Awards

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

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!

Eligibility requirements differ for each award, please read the 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 2024

Alumni of the Year

The Alumni of the Year is intended to recognise outstanding contributions of University of Aberdeen alumni. Details of all categories and sub-categories are provided below.

Please review the Terms of Eligibility before submitting a nomination.

Alum of the Year

University of Aberdeen alumni make outstanding contributions in every walk of life and this award recognises an alum who has made an impact through their professional, voluntary, or charitable role be that locally, nationally, or internationally.  This graduate will be a strong leader, inspirational to current students and their fellow alumni and have shown excellence in their field.

Alumni Volunteer of the Year

We are so grateful to all the Aberdeen alumni that give up their time to help, support and guide our current students as well as their fellow graduates. This award goes to an alum who has volunteered their time and expertise to support the activities of our students and other members of the Aberdeen family.

Young Alum of the Year

This award recognises an alum aged 35 or under who has graduated within the last 10 years and has already made a positive impact locally, nationally, or internationally in their professional, voluntary, or charitable roles. They can be showcased as an inspiration to current students and their fellow alumni and have shown excellence in their field.


Nominations for the Excellence Awards are now closed. 

Students' Union and the University of Aberdeen Excellence Awards

The Students' Union 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. Personal Tutor of the Year Has your Personal Tutor provided exceptional support, advice or guidance?
  5. Most Accessible Lecturer A champion for students with disabilities
  6. Mental Health Champion Any member of staff that has shown a strong commitment to improving the students’ mental health.
  7. Most Inspiring A member of staff who has inspired you in a memorable way
  8. Funniest Lecturer
  9. 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
  10. Best Support 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
  11. Best Student Class Rep
  12. Best Student Ambassador 
  13. Best Overall Course
  14. Most Creative Assessment

Nominations for the Excellence Awards are now closed. 

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.

Nominations are welcome from line managers, colleagues, students and representatives from external organisations.

  • 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.

Winners will receive a personal award and will be announced at the annual Principal’s Excellence Awards Ceremony. The judging panel will be made up of university staff, students and external representatives to review all applications.

Nominations for the Excellence Awards are now closed. 

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)


Outstanding Research Awards: Interdisciplinary Research

The Interdisciplinary Research Award recognises one or more researchers who have recently worked as part of an interdisciplinary team and carried out innovative research or made a significant breakthrough or a major contribution to their field through interdisciplinary working.  The research must demonstrate using and integrating knowledge and methods from different disciplines and teams to generate new approaches to create new knowledge or innovation. 

Outstanding Research Awards: Outstanding Research Team

The aim of this award is to recognise the achievements of a team of researchers who have worked together on a number of projects.  The nomination must demonstrate the benefits of team working to the creation of new knowledge or to innovation.

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. 

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.

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.

Positive 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.

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.

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.

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.

Find out more here

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 25 October 2023.
  • Nominations close at 12noon on Wednesday 21 February 2024.
  • Judging panels will select winners and runners-up (shortlisted nominees) in most categories by Thursday 21 March 2024.
  • A list of shortlisted nominees will be shared in the staff newsletter March 2024.
  • Winners will be announced at an Excellence Awards ceremony on Thursday 18 April 2024. Winners and runners-up will be announced to the wider community on Friday 19 April 2024.   


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