HESPA Award Winners 2024

09 February 2024      Monica Madeley, Projects and Engagement Officer

We were delighted to congratulate our HESPA24 Award winners at the annual conference dinner yesterday, and to share in celebrating their hard work. We received a record number of submissions this year and the judges were incredibly impressed by the quality and range of activity represented; all the nominations are worthy of recognition and celebration. 

Details of our award winners and their work can be found below. 

The Innovation Award

Winner: The University of Aberdeen

The University of Aberdeen developed an innovative and effective tool enabling them to report on the emissions data associated with students’ travel from around the world.  Having identified that the sector had no agreed methodology for calculating these ‘relocation’ emissions, a student internship post was created to develop a robust reporting framework for use within the institution.

Following completion of the internship, the EAUC (the Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education) approached the University with a partnership proposal to develop a user-friendly tool that is now openly available to the UK Higher Education sector. This innovative and collaborative approach and the willingness to support the wider community is exemplary and something our sector should be hugely proud of. We are delighted to recognise this achievement with a HESPA award. 

The Data Story Award

Winner: Aston University

Aston University has developed real-time data products to provide insight into their applicant population, helping them to better understand the student recruitment journey for home undergraduate students. Their data products enable them to give a proactive response to applicants, improving the student’s experience by creating more tailored journeys. With in-depth analysis available they can support their social mobility agenda by reducing access barriers, supporting both student success and graduate outcomes. Congratulations to Aston University on winning a HESPA Award. 

The judges also wanted to recognise the work of The Open University for their Early Alert Indicators Dashboard which supports online teachers to help their students succeed. They received a Highly Commended certificate in recognition of the standard of their entry. 

The Strategic Planning Award

Winner: The University of Liverpool 

The Unviersity of Liverpool have developed an ambitious new strategic plan - essentially a high-level framework setting out their aspirations for the next 10 years. Despite a tight timescale, staff across several teams worked together on a project-based approach to hit their challenging deadline of just nine months. A key aim was for the process to be truly collaborative and supportive of maintaining day to day operations alongside the project and as a result they produced a robust strategy implementation phase with well-informed plans to support meaningful change.

Their project impressed the judges in its thoughtful use of communication and engagement mechanisms to act as a joining force between people and activities as they worked to deliver impact. 

The judges also wanted to recognise the work of The University of Manchester for an extensive piece of work reviewing their size and shape leading to collaborations both internally and across the sector. They received a Highly Commended certificate in recognition of the standard of their entry. 

The Paul Youngson Award 

Winner: Adam Campbell, Kingston University

Nominated by the Head of Planning, judges were told that Adam started at Kingston University less than a year ago and in that very short space of time has established himself as a go-to expert whom stakeholders want to approach due to his collaborative and solution-finding approach. It was noted in his nomination that it is testament to his personal approach to delivering work, inviting others along on the journey and driving constructive conversations which challenge the status quo, that the Institutional Performance team have contributed to a wide range of transformation within the institution. To say that this person has made a real difference is a significant understatement. The Head of Planning also noted ‘It’s not just what we do but how we do it that is important. And it’s in this measure where Adam Campbell has been exemplary; he is liked, respected, and sought out." Congratulations Adam, on your HESPA Award!

The Special Honour Award 

Winner: Estelle King, Nottingham Trent University

This year, we had a one-off additional award to allow us to recognise the contribution that Estelle has made to HESPA and to the sector. Estelle has worked tirelessly to ensure that the voices of those undertaking the Data Futures return are heard and that the issues surrounding it are much more widely understood. She has been instrumental in getting mitigations in place, raising the profile of the challenges encountered with institutional senior managers and achieving active responses and change from HESA/JISC and statutory and regulatory bodies.

She is generous with her time, empathy and advice. At a time of considerable stress amongst Planners across the sector, she has successfully created a supportive community of practice which has been indispensable to colleagues’ well-being. Thank you so much, Estelle, a well-deserved HESPA Award Winner. 

Our Judging Panel

Thank you again to our wonderful judging panel who generously gave their time and expertise to read and assess the nominations, we greatly appreciate it. Our judges this year were:

  • Alec Bennett, Head of Data & Insights at Bath Spa University
  • Mary Daly, Strategic Planning Manager at Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Josh Gulrajani, Director of Planning, Performance, and Student Statutory Returns at Aston University
  • Mark Humphreys, Interim Director of Strategic Insights and Planning at the University of Derby
  • Cathy Mitchell, Associate Director of Strategic Planning at Imperial College London
  • Min Song, Joint Programme Assessment and Record Officer at Queen Mary University of London 
  • Rob Strick, Senior Data and Insight Analyst at University College London
  • Hulda Sveinsdottir, Director of Planning at the University of Aberdeen
  • Alex Tiffany, Head of Market Insight at the University of Exeter 

We hope you have enjoyed reading about our HESPA Award Winners. Our Awards Ceremony is an annual event, and details of how to enter can be found on our main awards page once nominations for 2025 Awards open in Autumn 2024. 

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