Queens Anniversary Prize

Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Outstanding Space Engineering Programme

  • 6th Mar 2024

Following the announcement they had received a prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize, Loughborough College and National Space Academy staff and students were recently invited to Buckingham Palace to receive their award.

Presented by Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the accolade was given for the College’s unique Space Engineering programme with the National Space Academy.

The ground-breaking programme offers a world-class qualification to aspiring engineers, physicists, and astronauts. As the only course of its kind, the academically intensive programme blends A-Level Mathematics and A-Level Physics with a BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Engineering, which is equivalent to four A-Levels.

Heather Clarke, Acting Principal and CEO at Loughborough College said: “It was such an honour to receive the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for our fantastic Space Engineering Programme in partnership with the National Space Academy. This is a truly unique and innovative course, so it was fantastic to celebrate the achievements and successes of the programme with our staff and students during the ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

“As our most academically demanding course, the Space Engineering programme prepares our students for the rigours of studying and working in the thriving aerospace industry, something which is evident in the destinations of work and study our learners go onto. We are so proud of all that we’ve achieved - there really is no higher award in education.”

Students on the programme enjoy high quality teaching which covers various aspects of engineering co-delivered at the Loughborough College campus and the National Space Centre, giving learners access to cutting-edge technology and innovation. Throughout their time at the College, they receive masterclasses conducted by space industry experts and gain insights from leading astronauts.

Sophie Allan, NSA Head of Teaching and Learning, said: “It has been such a privilege to help develop and teach this course. From the beginning, our aim was to provide experiences, insight and skills development which would make our students ready to excel in their next steps within the space, aerospace, and wider STEM sectors. The course was designed, and is continually adapted, with space and aerospace industry partners’ input, ensuring that our students are as equipped as possible to deal with the ever-changing needs of the sector. We are still in touch with many of our former students, and it is wonderful to see how they are progressing through their varied and exciting careers.

“We hugely value our partnership with Loughborough College, and together we have crafted something incredibly unique and special. Combining outstanding teaching and facilities at the college with first-class teaching and space sector knowledge at the National Space Academy, our students are encouraged and challenged to become the best they can be, all while learning about the UK's thriving and growing space sector. We look forward to continuing to adapt the course to meet industry needs, and to nurture and inspire our students to become the engineering leaders of tomorrow.”

Sir Damon Buffini, Chair of Royal Anniversary Trust, added: “The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education are an integral part of our national Honours system, shining a light on the ground-breaking work taking place in universities and colleges across the UK. All 22 Prize-winners demonstrate excellence, innovation and impact, with many tackling some of the toughest problems we as a society face today. They are to be commended for reaching this pinnacle of achievement in the tertiary education sector. Congratulations!”

The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes are part of the UK’s national Honours system, recognising outstanding work by UK colleges and universities which demonstrates excellence and innovation and delivers real benefit to the wider world. Open to eligible universities and colleges of Further and Higher Education in the United Kingdom, the Prizes may be awarded in any field of study.

First awarded in 1994, the Prizes are granted every two years by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister following a rigorous and independent process of review carried out by The Royal Anniversary Trust, an independent charity.

By Emily Howett, Loughborough College