University of Lincoln Wins Queen’s Anniversary Prize – UK’s Highest National Honour for Universities

16 November 2023

Written by: Hannah McGowan

The University of Lincoln has been awarded the prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize for its work supporting the success and sustainability of the UK’s food and farming industries through innovations in research, education and technology.

The University of Lincoln has been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its work supporting the success and sustainability of the UK’s food and farming industries through innovations in research, education and technology.

The Queen’s Anniversary Prize is the highest National Honour in UK further and higher education, recognising outstanding work by UK colleges and universities showing excellence, innovation and benefit to the wider world.

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

The University of Lincoln is one of 22 winners in the 15th round of the scheme, announced at St James’s Palace on 16 November 2023. The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes will be presented at a formal Honours ceremony in February 2024.

The accolade recognises the work of the University’s Lincoln Institute for Agri-food Technology (LIAT) – a specialist research centre focussed on improving productivity, efficiency, and sustainability across the food chain “from farm to fork”.

Professor Neal Juster, Vice Chancellor of the University of Lincoln, said: “We are immensely proud, thrilled and humbled to win the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Further and Higher Education – the highest National Honour for UK universities and colleges.

The award recognises the outstanding contribution our research and teaching is making to supporting innovation across the UK’s £100bn agri-food industries.

It also demonstrates how the focus of our research is aligned to the needs of key industries in our region, not only helping businesses to enhance productivity, but also producing skills and opportunities that create prosperity in communities across Greater Lincolnshire.

Winning the Prize is all the more remarkable given our Lincoln Institute for Agri-food Technology was founded less than a decade ago. It is now recognised as one of the world’s leading centres of R&D excellence in this crucial specialism.

LIAT’s multi-disciplinary team of researchers brings together sector-leading expertise in a diverse range of disciplines, including agriculture, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, engineering, crop science, environmental sustainability, food manufacturing, and supply chain management, among many others.

They are engaged in internationally significant research in collaboration with a range of academic and industry partners, from family-run businesses to multi-national corporations. This industry-focussed R&D includes the development and deployment of world-first automation, machine learning and robotics systems.

The University of Lincoln hosts the UK’s first global centre of excellence in agri-robotics research, Lincoln Agri-Robotics. Along with the University of Cambridge and University of East Anglia, Lincoln is also a partner in the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training for Agri-food Robotics (AgriFoRwArdS) – a first-of-its-kind advanced training centre.

Professor Simon Pearson, Founding Director of LIAT at the University of Lincoln, said: “The sustainable supply of high quality, nutritious food is a foundation of successful societies and economies all over the world. The way we produce food is also a major contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions. Improving productivity, efficiency and sustainability across the global food chain is therefore not just good business, it’s vital to maintaining food security.

The Lincoln Institute for Agri-food Technology unites partners from across the food eco-system — farmers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers and consumers – alongside world-leading researchers from an array of academic specialisms and institutions to design and deliver impactful, applied R&D for the agri-food industries here in the UK and internationally.   

We are absolutely delighted that this work has been recognised in this prestigious National Honour.”

Sir Damon Buffini, Chair of The Royal Anniversary Trust commented: “The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education are an integral part of our national Honours system, shining a light on the groundbreaking 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!