Derby crowned University of the Year at SOMO Awards

Image courtesy of the University of Derby

The University of Derby has won a prestigious national award for its commitment to social mobility.

The UK Social Mobility Awards were announced via a virtual ceremony on Thursday afternoon (8 October), and Derby took the University of Year title ahead of entries from The Open University, City University of London, Exeter, Lancaster and Worcester universities.

The SOMOs recognise and encourage action that will promote and increase social mobility within Britain’s companies and institutions.

They acknowledge best practice and innovation, and elevate social mobility as a cause equal to the level of other diversity issues.

In its award entry, Derby highlighted its growing reputation as a leading institution for social mobility, demonstrated by its HEPI Fair Access Table ranking (2nd in the country), and its strong record in improving the life chances of people within and beyond the region by addressing barriers to access and student success through a number of innovative and inclusive activities.

In 2018, 24.3% of young undergraduate entrants (4th in UK) and 28.3% of mature undergraduate entrants (3rd in UK) to the University were from low participation neighbourhoods, and the number of mature undergraduate entrants has continuously increased (63% increase since 2015) through targeted professional programmes.

Derby also emphasised its focus on innovation and collaboration within its Strategic Framework, which structures the University’s activity and ambition around three Pillars – Game Changers, Positive Impact and Opening Doors.

Speaking about winning the award, Professor Warren Manning, Provost Innovation and Research at the University of Derby, said: “I am delighted that the University of Derby has been named University of the Year at the UK Social Mobility Awards. To be acknowledged as the leading institution for social mobility is recognition of the fantastic work our staff, students and stakeholders are undertaking.

“At Derby we firmly believe in the transformational nature of education and are committed to ensuring that everyone receives the high quality education they deserve. With the impact of coronavirus further widening the gap between the most and least advantaged, it is more important than ever that we continue to break down barriers, support achievement and create opportunities for all across our region and beyond, regardless of age, background or location.”

For more information about the University’s Widening Access work, visit the website.

Find out more about the UK SOMO Awards.