Sunderland University in the running to be named best of the year

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SUNDERLAND University is in the running to be crowned the country’s top university.

The University of Sunderland is one of only six institutions to be shortlisted for The Times Higher Education Awards’ University of the Year category.

It has also been shortlisted in the outstanding employer engagement category.

Professor Peter Fidler, University of Sunderland vice-chancellor, said the nomination is a ringing endorsement of the work everyone has put in over the past year.

He said: “To win the University of the Year would be extremely special. To be shortlisted is in itself a tremendous achievement, of which we should be proud.

“The Times Higher announcement is recognition of delivery against our vision – to be recognised as one of a new generation of great civic universities – innovative, accessible, inspirational and outward looking; with international reach and remarkable local impact.

“We are committed to supporting our city and region, educationally, socially, culturally and economically.”

Recognition from the Times Higher is for the University of Sunderland’s contribution to the city and the region’s economy during the past 18 months, which has received widespread praise.

Support for business and industry has been particularly significant. The university’s employer engagement has also had a wider impact in the region.

In 2008/09 the university received £1.4million from the Economic Challenge Investment Fund to support business in what was a tough economic climate and established an internship programme, sending out 120 interns to support organisations and about 80 per cent of the interns have been retained by their host employer.

The success of this programme has led to the university establishing an Intern Factory, where businesses can call upon a pool of resources. It is the next step in the university’s ambitious programme to support the economy of Sunderland and the wider region.

The university’s importance to the city was shown when Sunderland City Council launched its Economic Masterplan, which placed the university at the heart of Wearside’s economic development.

The other UK institutions shortlisted for University of the Year are: Brunel University, University of Strathclyde, University of Nottingham, University of Exeter and Plymouth University.

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