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Our awards

Our awards

Athena SWAN Bronze Award

In 2015, we were recognised for our achievement and commitment to tackling gender inequality in Higher Education with the Athena SWAN Bronze Award. We received this award at an institutional level for enhancing women's representation at senior academic levels, supporting a family-friendly working environment and improving women's representation in the Research Excellence Framework. Athena SWAN is a national scheme designed to support, advance and celebrate positive employment practices for women in higher education and research. It was initially set up to promote women's careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine, but in April 2015 was opened up to include arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law.


In 2013, we became the first UK university to receive ‘commended’ status for the quality of our learning opportunities. The status, awarded by the QAA (the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education), recognises the many ways we provide students with the opportunity to succeed. The QAA looked at the many different ways we support our students, including the quality of teaching they receive, academic support, resources such as libraries and IT facilities, and the general support available.

HR Excellence in Research award

BU has held the European Commission HR Excellence in Research Award since 2013. The Award demonstrates BU’s commitment to aligning process and practice to the UK Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and, therefore, improving the working conditions and career development for research staff.

Find out more about BU’s actions to support our researchers.

Queen’s Anniversary Prize

In 2012, we were awarded The Queen’s Anniversary Prize in recognition of our contribution to world-leading excellence and pioneering development in computer animation. The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes are part of the national honours system, and are the most prestigious awards in UK education. The award celebrates our National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA), based in The Media School, which has been at the forefront of computer animation education and research since 1989.


We have become a Stonewall Global Diversity Champion because of the commitment at BU to being an inclusive organisation. Being a member of Stonewall provides the university with the tools to take a strategic and structured approach to LGBT equality initiatives globally. Find out more about Stonewall.

EcoCampus Platinum Award

Our EcoCampus Platinum Award is the highest accolade we can achieve that demonstrates excellence in sustainability. We are one of just 16 universities to hold this award alongside ISO14001 certification. It demonstrates our commitment to the environment, and acknowledges our environmental practices, procedures and management systems. To achieve the platinum standard, our environmental management system had to be of the highest standard. The auditors were particularly impressed by the effort that went into implementing our management system, as well as the level at which sustainability has been embedded in the strategic direction of the university. We will continue to work on minimising our negative impacts on the environment as an institution, and maximising the positive impact we can have through teaching and research.

Matrix Standard

This award is the unique quality standard for organisations to assess and measure their advice and support services. It assesses four elements of the service: leadership & management, resources, service delivery and continuous quality improvement. Traditionally, the Matrix assessment covers careers departments and frontline information, advice and guidance services, making our accreditation unusual, as Student Support Services also encompasses sports and residences. A number of areas of good practice were identified during the assessment, including a clear link from the overall organisational structure to individual objectives; regular departmental-wide staff development events; good examples of innovative practice such as our animal assisted learning service; and a good use of shared resources and support across the service.

We also hold the Matrix Standard for our Library & Learning Support Service. During the assessment, the following areas of good practice were identified: our Peer-Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme, the clarity of help and advice available from the Library tab in myBU, and the range of technology initiated and developed by the service to support the needs of students and academic staff. 

Fairtrade University

BU was awarded 'Fairtrade University' status in 2006; there are now over 170 Fairtrade Universities and Colleges in the UK, with many more working towards status and it demonstrates the detailed commitment we have made to promoting the consumption of Fairtrade products. Find out more about our Fairtrade status.

Other awards

Time to Change Organisational Pledge

We signed the Time to Change Employer Pledge in 2011. It is a scheme that aims to tackle the stigma and discrimination around mental health, particularly in the workplace.

Mindful Employer Charter

We signed this charter in 2010 and take our commitment as an employer that is positive about mental health seriously. By joining this scheme, we demonstrated our open and accessible policies, and showed that we value teh contribution of every one of our employees.

Disability Employer

This is a quality mark which we achieved in 2019. It is awarded by the Department of Work and Pensions for our positive commitment to the employment, retention, training and career development of disabled employees.

You can learn more about Athena SWAN, Time to Change, Mindful Employer and Disability Confident in our Dignity, Diversity and Equality section.