No matter what you look for in a university, here are the best in the UK for each criteria. Source: Shutterstock

The winners of The Guardian University Awards 2018 were announced this week, showcasing the very best of what the UK has to offer in terms of equality, employability, curriculum design and much more.

The awards are given out on an annual basis to recognise the most innovative universities in the UK in ways typical rankings just don’t showcase.

So, no matter what attracts you to a university, you’re likely to find it below. Here are the universities topping the UK charts in a range of criteria. Here are the results in full:

Category Winner Runner(s)-up
Advancing staff equality University of Strathclyde Glasgow Caledonian University

University of Sheffield

Buildings that inspire University of Hull Newcastle University

Norwich University of the Arts

Business collaboration Heriot-Watt University University of Kent

University of Lincoln

Course and curriculum design University of Huddersfield University of Salford

University of the West of Scotland

Digital innovation Open University Imperial College London

University of Greenwich

Employability and entrepreneurship Falmouth University Sheffield Business School

The Royal Agricultural University

Internationalisation University of Central Lancashire Birmingham City University

The University of Nottingham

Marketing and comms campaign London School of Economics and Political Science De Montfort University Leicester

Loughborough University

Research impact University of Exeter Heriot-Watt University

University of Glasgow

Retention, support and student outcomes University of Strathclyde Solent University

York St John University

Social and community impact


Swansea University De Montfort University Leicester

University of Manchester

University of Sheffield

Student experience University of Surrey University of Stirling

York St John University

Sustainability project University of Plymouth University of Manchester
Teaching excellence


Open University Coventry University

University of Surrey

Widening access and outreach


Birkbeck, University of London Nottingham Trent University

University of Sunderland

Inspiring leader award Mary Stuart, Vice-Chancellor, University of Lincoln

The Guardian added new categories this year, including ‘widening access and outreach’ and ‘course and curriculum design’, in order to keep up with the rapidly-evolving world of higher education.

The social and community impact category received the most submissions this year and was won by Swansea which helped out local National Health Services (NHS) by running an open clinic maintained by students and staff.

The employability and entrepreneurship categories were merged together this year to test how universities marry the two – educating and encouraging students to find suitable employment or to create it for themselves. Falmouth University came in first place with a photography agency set up by students which allows students to gain valuable experience working with real clients, including Sony.

You can read the full details of the universities’ projects in The Guardian’s ideas bank.

Are there any other factors you think should be considered when picking a university? Let us know at or tweet us at @Study_INTNL

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