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Review of the Year 2018

  • Date

    Thu 13 Dec 18

International Day on campus

What a year! So much has happened and to cap it all we were named University of the Year at the Times Higher Education Awards. Here are some of the highlights.

Highlights from 2018

Winning our University of the Year Award

Opening our new Essex Sport Arena with the help of Olympic legend Max Whitlock and our Chancellor John Bercow MP.

Unveiling STEM Centre, new accommodation at The Copse and improved facilities at our Loughton Campus. We also put the finishing touches to our Innovation Centre and next phase of Parkside Office Village.

Volunteering by the vTeam programme run by the Students’ Union (SU) having an impact and transforming people's lives from beach cleans to language support for refugees.

Thousands of students joined us and made a commitment to their future through the SU’s Heirloom project. And the SU also listened to the views of their members through Change Week.

We might not have won Derby Day, but we had a great time competing and supporting our team.

Our award-winning Think Series continued to ask difficult questions, encourage provocative discussions and welcome brilliant speakers to enrich debates.

Our students love making a difference and campaigned on all kinds of issues important to them. The annual chalking of the steps is one of the most famous events of our year with students and staff writing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on the steps at our Colchester Campus and in Colchester town centre to mark its 70th anniversary.

We’re one of the most international universities in the UK so of course we love bringing our community together. This includes events for Holi, Chinese New Year and One World Week.

Big things happened in 2018

We went big in 2018. We saw our biggest Welcome Week, our biggest Open Day and our biggest Summer Ball. We also went big on recruiting more staff and celebrating our female academics within Stem subjects.

Graduation 2018 was our biggest graduation ever giving us the chance to celebrate our 100,000th graduate and welcome inspirational honorary graduates into our community.

Research that matters

Our Queen’s Anniversary Prize for social science research was presented at Buckingham Palace and our academics continued to break boundaries across many fields. You can find our more in our news pages.

Highlights included:

There are too many research successes to cover here so here is a flavour of our work:

  • People from ethnic minorities coming to live in the UK tend to have healthier lifestyles than those who were born here, but the longer they stay the more bad habits they pick up, according to research from the ESRC Research Centre on Micro-Social Change, based at Essex, which set out to understand the paradox of why immigrants’ life expectancy decreases as they become more immersed in their new country. 
  • Essex academics co-wrote and edited the definitive new book on the 2017 General Election, None past the post: Britain at the polls, 2017. It discussed some of the most pressing questions about the election including: How did the Conservatives lose their parliamentary majority in 2017? Where did UKIP go? What really happened in Scotland and what does it mean for Scottish independence? And just how complete is Labour’s move to the left?
  • An Essex historian, whose research was crucial in helping to identify the remains of Richard III, has discovered the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of the so-called ‘Princes in the Tower.’ The discovery, by honorary graduate and alumnus Dr John Ashdown-Hill MBE, who died in May, made it possible for the first time to prove whether bones held in Westminster Abbey are those of Edward V and his brother Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, the only sons of Edward IV.
  • A new interactive, online tool made possible by an Essex project to digitise census data, has revealed stark regional divides in childbirth and child mortality in Victorian England and Wales. Populations Past allows users to view maps of England and Wales by measures such as marriage, fertility, child mortality and household composition.

Our latest rankings

We are in the top 30 of The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide yet again and we were also ranked number one for drama, dance and cinematics.

We are in the top 50 for social sciences in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings by Subject 2019 and in the top 40 for politics and sociology in the QS World University Rankings by Subject.

We are 14th for international outlook in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019.

We are in the top 15 for the sixth year running for overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey. Source: NSS 2018, English mainstream universities.

We are ranked 251st to 300th in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019.