The University of Northampton has been awarded Higher Education Institution (HEI) of the Year 2016 in UnLtd’s prestigious annual SEE Change Recognition Awards, for its wide-ranging and successful work in the areas of social enterprise, social impact, and social innovation.
The award was presented at the ‘Universities as Catalysts for Social Innovation in their Community’ conference jointly hosted by UnLtd – the leading provider of support to social entrepreneurs in the UK – and the University of Oxford, held at Oxford’s Wolfson College on 7 July 2016.
The University came ahead of significant competition to win the award, which was judged by a panel comprising of senior managers from Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), UnLtd, and Universities UK, as well as wider strategic partners from across the higher education and social enterprise communities. The University was recognised for its high quality and impactful work in the areas of social enterprise support, social innovation, and delivery of social impact, and its strengths in being able to excel in these areas locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. The University’s outstanding work in embedding a culture of social innovation across the institution was highly commended.
Social impact is embedded in the University’s 2015-2020 institutional strategy Transforming Lives + Inspiring Change, which demonstrates a unique example of how a HEI, working with students, staff, partners, and the local community, is using innovative ways to deliver maximum social impact. This is demonstrated through its work with the Northamptonshire County Council on the development and delivery of a holistic health and wellbeing service called ‘First for Wellbeing’; the inclusion of social impact clauses into the contractors’ tendering processes for the new Waterside Campus build; the support for the national social enterprise and business sector through Inspire2Enterprise and Northamptonshire Growth Hub, as well as its internationally leading research expertise to support social entrepreneurs globally and to support local stakeholders to foster supportive ecosystems.
As the UK’s first AshokaU Changemaker Campus, the University provides a supportive environment for its students and staff to develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in a socially enterprising world.
Also, this year, the University launched its first in-depth Social Impact Report to showcase just some of the ways in which it delivers social impact and innovation locally, nationally and globally.
Professor Simon Denny, Director of Research, Impact and Enterprise commented: “The University of Northampton has demonstrated that universities can be a major force for positive change in their communities; locally, nationally and internationally. I am delighted that the actions that all parts of the University have taken to deliver our social impact mission have been so publicly and positively recognised by the key organisations supporting the UK HE sector.”