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The University of Nottingham

University of Nottingham
Coat of Arms of The University of Nottingham
Motto Sapientia urbs conditur (Latin)
Motto in English "A city is built on wisdom"
Established 1881
University Status Awarded: 1948
Type Public
Endowment £32m[1]
Chancellor Sir Andrew Witty[2]
Vice-Chancellor Professor David Greenaway[3]
Visitor The Lord President of the Council ex officio[4]
Undergraduates 21,093[5]
Postgraduates 13,284[5]

Nottingham, England, UK
52°56′20″N 1°11′49″W / 52.939°N 1.197°W / 52.939; -1.197Coordinates: 52°56′20″N 1°11′49″W / 52.939°N 1.197°W / 52.939; -1.197

Colours Blue and White                 
Affiliations ACU
Association of MBAs
Russell Group
Sutton 13
Universitas 21
Universities UK
Virgo Consortium
Sutton Trust

The University of Nottingham (informally known as Nottingham University) is a public research university based in Nottingham, England, the United Kingdom. It was founded as University College Nottingham in 1881 and granted a Royal Charter in 1948.

Nottingham's main campus, University Park, is situated on the outskirts of the City of Nottingham, with a number of smaller campuses and a teaching hospital (Queen's Medical Centre) located elsewhere in Nottinghamshire. Outside the United Kingdom, Nottingham has campuses in Semenyih, Malaysia and Ningbo, China. Nottingham is organised into five constituent faculties, within which there are more than 50 departments, institutes and research centres. Nottingham has around 34,000 students and 9,000 staff and had a total income of £520 million in 2012/13, of which £100 million was from research grants and contracts.[6]

Nottingham is currently ranked 20th nationally by The Times and 72nd internationally by the QS World University Rankings.[7][8] According to a recent survey, it is the second most targeted university by the UK's top employers.[9] Nottingham is ranked 13th in the world in terms of the number of alumni listed among CEOs of the Fortune Global 500.[10] It is also ranked 2nd (joint with Oxford) in the 2012 Summer Olympics table of British medal winners.[11] In the 2011 GreenMetric World University Ranking, Nottingham was the world's most sustainable campus.[12]

The university names literary legend DH Lawrence as one of its many distinguished alumni.[13] It is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the Virgo Consortium, the European University Association, the Russell Group, Universities UK, Universitas 21 and participates in the Sutton Trust Summer School programme.



The University of Nottingham traces its origins to the founding of an adult education school in 1798, and the University Extension Lectures inaugurated by the University of Cambridge in 1873 – the first of their kind in the country.[14] However, the foundation of the university is generally regarded as being the establishment of University College Nottingham, in 1881 as a constituent college of the University of London. In 1875, an anonymous donor provided £10,000 to establish the work of the Adult Education School and Cambridge Extension Lectures on a permanent basis, and the Corporation of Nottingham agreed to erect and maintain a building for this purpose and to provide funds to supply the instruction.[14] The foundation stone of the college was duly laid in 1877 by former UK Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone,[15] and the college's distinctive neo-gothic building on Shakespeare Street was formally opened in 1881 by Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany.[15] In 1881, there were four professors – of Literature, Physics, Chemistry and Natural Science. New departments and chairs quickly followed: Engineering in 1884, Classics combined with Philosophy in 1893, French in 1897 and Education in 1905; in 1905 the combined Department of Physics and Mathematics became two separate entities; in 1911 Departments of English and Mining were created, in 1912, Economics, and Geology combined with Geography; History in 1914, Adult Education in 1923 and Pharmacy in 1925.[14]


The university college underwent significant expansion in the 1920s when it moved from the centre of Nottingham to a large campus on the city's outskirts. The new campus, called University Park, was completed in 1928, and financed by an endowment fund, public contributions, and the generosity of Sir Jesse Boot (later Lord Trent) who presented 35 acres (140,000 m2) to the City of Nottingham in 1921.[16] Boot and his fellow benefactors sought to establish an "elite seat of learning" committed to widening participation,[17] and hoped that the move would solve the problems facing University College Nottingham, in its restricted building on Shakespeare Street. Boot stipulated that whilst part of the Highfields site, lying southwest of the city, should be devoted to the University College, the rest should provide a place of recreation for the residents of the city, and by the end of the decade the landscaping of the lake and public park adjoining University Boulevard was completed. The original University College building on Shakespeare Street in central Nottingham (known as the Arkwright Building), now forms part of Nottingham Trent University's 'City campus'.[18]

D. H. Lawrence commented on the endowment and the architecture in the words
In Nottingham, that dismal town where I went to school and college,
they've built a new university for a new dispensation of knowledge.
Built it most grand and cakeily out of the noble loot
derived from shrewd cash-chemistry by good Sir Jesse Boot.[19]

University College Nottingham was initially accommodated within the Trent Building, an imposing white limestone structure with a distinctive clock tower designed by Morley Horder and formally opened by King George V on 10 July 1928. During this period of development, Nottingham attracted high-profile lecturers including Albert Einstein, H. G. Wells and Mahatma Gandhi,[20] and the blackboard used by Professor Einstein during his time at Nottingham is still on display in the Physics department.[21] Apart from its physical transfer to surroundings that could not be more different from its original home, the College made few developments between the wars. The Department of Slavonic Languages (later Slavonic Studies) was established in 1933, the teaching of Russian having been introduced in 1916. In 1933–34, the Departments of Electrical Engineering, Zoology and Geography, which had been combined with other subjects, were made independent; and in 1938 a supplemental Charter provided for a much wider representation on the Governing Body. However, further advances were delayed by the outbreak of war in 1939.[14]

University Status

University College Nottingham students received their degrees from the University of London,[22] however in 1948 the University was granted its Royal Charter, which endowed it with university status and gave it the power to confer degrees in its own name as[23] The University of Nottingham.

In the 1940s, the Midlands Agricultural and Dairy College at Sutton Bonington merged with the university as the School of Agriculture, and in 1956 the Portland Building was completed to complement the Trent Building. In 1970, the university established the UK's first new medical school of the 20th century.[15] In 1999, Jubilee Campus was opened on the former site of the Raleigh Bicycle Company, one mile (1.6 km) away from the University Park Campus. Nottingham then began to expand overseas, opening campuses in Malaysia and in China in 1999 and 2004 respectively. In 2005, the King's Meadow Campus opened near the University Park Campus.

The university has used several logos throughout its history, beginning with its coat of arms. Later Nottingham adopted a simpler logo, in which a stylised version of Nottingham Castle was surrounded by the text "The University of Nottingham". In 2001 Nottingham undertook a major re-branding exercise, which included replacing the logo with the current one.

Organisation and academic structure

The chief officer is the Chancellor, elected by the University Court on the recommendation of the University Council.[24] The chief academic and administrative officer is the Vice-Chancellor, who is assisted by six Pro-Vice-Chancellors.[24] The governing body is the University Council, which has 35 members and is mostly non-academic.[24] The academic authority is the Senate, consisting of senior academics and elected staff and student representatives.[24] The largest forum is the University Court, presided over by the Chancellor.[24] The current Chancellor is Sir Andrew Witty who became incumbent on 1 January 2013, succeeding Professor Yang Fujia who had been instated in July 2001; its current Vice-Chancellor is Professor David Greenaway who replaced Sir Colin Campbell in 2008, who as the UK's highest paid Vice-Chancellor, oversaw the university's expansion plans, leading the Times to call him "the Sir Alex Ferguson of Vice-Chancellors".[25]

The University is made up of a number of schools and departments organised into five faculties:[26] The faculty of arts, faculty of engineering, faculty of medicine and health sciences, faculty of science and the faculty of social science. Each faculty encompasses a number of smaller departments.

Academics and admissions

Nottingham is a research-led institution and the alumni of the university have been awarded two Nobel Prizes this decade.[27] Much of the work on Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) was carried out at Nottingham, work for which Professor Sir Peter Mansfield received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2003. Nottingham remains a strong centre for research into MRI. Nottingham has contributed to a number of other significant scientific advances. Professor Frederick Kipping, Professor of Chemistry (1897–1936), made the discovery of silicone polymers at Nottingham.[28] Major developments in the in vitro culture of plants and micropropogation techniques were made by plant scientists at Nottingham, along with the first production of transgenic tomatoes by Professor Don Grierson in the 1980s. Other innovations at the university include cochlear implants for deaf children and the brace-for-impact position used in aircraft. Other facilities at Nottingham include a 46 teraflop supercomputer.[29]

Nottingham had 26 departments rated 5 or 5* (internationally excellent) in the UK Funding Councils' 2001 Research Assessment Exercise,[30] and the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise found 60 per cent of Nottingham's research to be "world-leading" or "internationally excellent".,[31] ranking 7th in the UK in terms of 'Research Power'.[32] Nottingham is also in the top four universities in Britain for the amount of research income received, being awarded over £150 million in research contracts for the 2009–2010 academic year.[33] Indeed, League tables compiled by the Times Higher Education based on UK Research Councils grants have revealed that The University of Nottingham came joint second in Britain in 2009 for its success rate for grant applications, ahead of Oxford, University College London (UCL) and Imperial College.[34]

The university is home to the Leverhume Centre for Research on Globalisation and Economic Policy (GEP). GEP was established in the Nottingham School of Economics in 2001, and conducts research activities structured on the theme of globalisation.


According to the latest statistics compiled by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, Nottingham is the UK's fifth largest university based on total student enrolment,[35] with over 30,000 students from more than 130 countries.[36] In 2010, the university received over 49,000 applications for 5,500 places, placing it in the top 3 most popular universities in the UK. However, the university has traditionally been popular with many British public schools, with privately educated students making up 40% of the student body. This has proven controversial and has led Nottingham, like other middle-class dominated universities such as the University of Bristol, Durham University and the University of Edinburgh, to introduce a variety of initiatives to help widen access and participation, culminating in the introduction of a Summer School scheme open to applicants from non-traditional backgrounds.[37]

Rankings and reputation

(2013, national)
9 [38]
(2013, world)
(2013/14, national)
(2013/14, world)
(2013/14, national)
(2013/14, world)
157 [42]
(2014, national)
The Guardian[44]
(2014, national)
Times/Sunday Times[45]
(2014, national)

The university was named Times Higher Education "University of the Year" in 2006, Times Higher Education "Entrepreneurial University of the Year" in 2008, and finished runner up in the 2010 Sunday Times "University of the Year". Nottingham has consistently ranked amongst Britain's top 10 leading universities in the various national and international rankings published over the last 15 years,[46] and is described by the Fulbright Commission as "one of the UK's oldest, largest, and most prestigious universities".[47] Nottingham finished 8th in The Sunday Times 10-year average ranking of British universities based on consistent league table performance over the past decade,[48] and is ranked in the UK's Top 10 in the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) 2010 World University Rankings.[7][7] Internationally, Nottingham University was ranked 74th in the 2011 QS World University Rankings, .[49]

Nottingham is also a member of the 'Sutton Trust 13', a collection of the 13 highest ranking British universities compiled by the educational charity the Sutton Trust, which aims to challenge educational inequality at top universities.[50] Nottingham traditionally has one of the highest application to place ratios of any university in the United Kingdom, leading The Sunday Times to describe a place there as "among the most sought-after in higher education" and "with almost 10 applicants per place, Nottingham is one of the hardest universities to get into in the UK".[51][52] Therefore entry into Nottingham is extremely competitive, and as a result new undergraduates average a very high UCAS tariff score, with more than 80% of its students having at least three A grades at A-Level.[53] This had put its admissions selectivity consistently in the top 10 in Britain and has led the Times to describe Nottingham students as "the brightest in their peer group".[52][54]

Nottingham is also ranked as the 8th best international university in the global "Best Places to Work in Academia 2010" survey.[55] The University is also "one of the most employer friendly universities in the world" according to Virgin Alternative Guide to British Universities, ranking amongst the top 15 most targeted universities in the world by leading employers in the THES world rankings,[56] and in the 2008 Times High Fliers survey being named in the top 3 most targeted British universities by leading graduate recruiters.[57] Nottingham is also ranked 31st in the world, and 7th in Britain, according to a 2011 New York Times survey of leading CEO's who were asked to assess which universities they most liked to recruit from.[58] Nottingham is ranked 2nd in the UK (after Oxford University) and 13th in the world (tied with Stanford University) in terms of the number of alumni listed among CEOs of the 500 largest companies worldwide.[10]


UK campuses

University Park Campus, to the west of Nottingham city centre, is the 330-acre (1.3 km2) historic home of The University of Nottingham. Set around its lake and clock-tower and with extensive parkland greenery, the campus is widely regarded as the most attractive in the country.[59][60] University Park has won numerous awards for its architecture and landscaping, and has been named the greenest campus in the country thanks to a new Green Flag Award. The 2012 award is the tenth in a row for University Park – more than have been awarded to a UK university over successive years.[61] Nottingham has several additional campuses, all of which share similar design features to the original, being "garden campuses", consisting of grade 1/2 period houses or halls situated around a lake with extensive botanic gardens (with the exception of Sutton Bonington campus, which predates the creation of University Park Campus).

Jubilee Campus, designed by Sir Michael Hopkins, was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1999 and is 1 mile (1.6 km) from University Park. The campus's facilities house the Schools of Education and Computer Science, and The Nottingham University Business School. The site is also the home of The National College for School Leadership. Additional investment of £9.2 million in the Jubilee Campus was completed in 2004 with a second building for Nottingham University Business School opened by Lord Sainsbury.[62] The environmentally friendly nature of the campus and its buildings have been a factor in the awards that it has received, including the Millennium Marque Award for Environmental Excellence, the British Construction Industry Building Project of the Year, the RIBA Journal Sustainability Award and the Civic Trust Award for Sustainability.

The Jubilee Campus won the commendation of the Energy Globe Award judges in 2005.[62] The campus is distinct for its modern and unique architecture, culminating in Aspire, a 60 metre tall artistic structure is the tallest freestanding structure in the UK. The University plans to invest £200 million in a new scheme designed by Ken Shuttleworth, designer of the iconic and award-winning London 'Gherkin' and founder of Make Architects, and at the heart of the new scheme will be the Nottingham 'Volcano'. However, the architecture of the Jubilee Campus is not admired by all, and the newly completed Amenities buildings have been labelled the second worst new architectural design in Britain in a recent survey.[63]

The City Hospital Campus is near Bestwood and houses staff and postgraduate students specialising in respiratory medicine, stroke medicine, oncology, physiotherapy, and public health. The campus will be expanded in 2009 to house a new institute of public health and a specialist centre for tobacco research.

Sutton Bonington Campus houses Nottingham's School of Biosciences and the new School of Veterinary Medicine and Science and is about 12 miles (19.3 km) to the south of the City of Nottingham, between the M1 motorway, Ratcliffe power station, and the Midland Main Line railway. The campus is centered around the historic manor of Sutton Bonington and, like University Park campus, retains many of its own private botanic gardens and lakes open only to its students. The University Farm including the Dairy Centre is at the Sutton Bonington Campus.

King's Meadow Campus was established in 2005 on the former Central Independent Television Studios site on Lenton Lane. It mainly accommodates administrative functions but also the Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections. A functioning television studio remains at the site that continues to be rented to the film and television industry.

At the south entrance to the main campus, in Highfields Park, lies the Lakeside Arts Centre, the University of Nottingham's public arts facility and performance space.

The D.H. Lawrence Pavilion houses a range of cultural facilities, including a 225 capacity theatre space, a series of craft cabinets, the Weston Gallery (which displays the University's manuscript collection), the Wallner gallery which exists as a platform for local and regional artists, and a series of visual arts, performance and hospitality spaces.

Other facilities include the Djanogly art gallery, recital hall, and theatre, which in the past have hosted recordings and broadcasting by BBC Radio 3, the NOTT Dance and NOW festivals, and a series of contemporary art exhibitions.

International campuses

Main articles: University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus and The University of Nottingham Ningbo China

Nottingham has introduced overseas campuses as part of a growth strategy. The first stage in this strategy was the establishment in 1999 of a campus in Semenyih, Selangor, Malaysia, a short distance from Kuala Lumpur. This was followed in 2004 by a campus in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, China.

The Malaysia campus was the first campus of a British university in Malaysia and one of the first anywhere in the world, earning the Queen's Award for Enterprise 2001 and the Queen's Award for Industry (International Trade) 2006.[64] In September 2005, the Malaysia campus moved to a purpose-built campus at Semenyih, 18 miles (29.0 km) south of Kuala Lumpur city centre.

The £40 million Ningbo campus was completed in 2005 and was officially opened by John Prescott, the UK's Deputy Prime Minister, in February 2006. Like the Malaysia Campus, Ningbo Campus builds on the University Park in the UK and includes a lake, its own version of Nottingham's famous Trent Building and the Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies (CSET), China's first zero-carbon building.

In November 2012, The University launched a new joint venture in collaboration with the East China University of Science and Technology: the Shanghai Nottingham Advanced Academy (SNAA). The SNAA will deliver joint courses in Shanghai including periods of study in Nottingham UK, with teaching and research at undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral levels.[65]

Student life

Students' Union

The University of Nottingham Students' Union is heavily involved with providing student activities at the university and has more than 190 student societies affiliated to it. A further 76 clubs are affiliated to the Students' Union's Athletic Union. Nottingham participates yearly in the Varsity Series, a number of sporting events between the students and staff of the university and traditional rivals Nottingham Trent University.

The student magazine Impact is published regularly during term time. A range of student theatre takes place at The New Theatre. The Students' Union also operates a student run, professional sound and lighting company, TEC PA & Lighting, who provide services for many events such as graduation, balls and many other events, both within the University and to external clients.

The Union boasts the largest student-run RAG organisation outside of the US, 'Karnival' (abbreviated to "Karni"), which raised £1.61 million in 2012.[67] The University radio station is the URN/Student Radio for Nottingham.

The Students' Union also organises a number of activities and events involving students and staff with the local community. The Student Volunteer Centre sees more than 600 students each year volunteering in local schools and community organisations, as well as a range of other projects throughout the city of Nottingham. The Students' Union also runs an international volunteering project, InterVol, which sends student volunteers to work in rural African communities.[68] Nottingham's Active Communities initiative cooperated with the Students' Union to set up the Crocus Cafe in nearby Lenton.

Students in Free Enterprise

The Students in Free Enterprise ("SIFE") team from the University of Nottingham have won the SIFE United Kingdom National Competition for four consecutive years, making them the most successful UK SIFE team to date. Based at the Nottingham University Business School, SIFE Nottingham are the 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 national champions. They have competed at SIFE World Cups in Toronto, Paris, New York and Singapore,[69] ranking them as one of the leading SIFE teams in the world.

AIESEC Nottingham

The AIESEC team from the University of Nottingham, Based at the Nottingham University Business School, have won a range of National AIESEC UK awards for excellence over recent years, making them one of the most successful AIESEC committees in the UK. Awards won include; Unliever Award for Excellence in Business Development (ICX) 1999, Best Local Committee 2000, Best Local Committee 2001, National Service and Learning Excellence 2003, Best Careers Fair 2005 and Most Improved Local Committee 2012. More recently AIESEC Nottingham has returned to its winning streak achieving the National Business Development Excellence Award in February 2013, in recognition of the teams outstanding sales skills, with the then Head of Business Development getting recognised as a 'Global Top Seller' in March 2013.

Student accommodation

Nottingham's accommodation provides more than 6,000 rooms, owned by the university or provided by external developers, all close to the campuses and ranging from modern self-catering flats to traditional catered halls of residence.[70] Catered halls of residence provide a more "home from home" service. Fifteen halls, housing about 4,000 students across the University Park, Jubilee, and Sutton Bonington campuses, are owned and managed by Nottingham. Three meals a day are provided as part of the accommodation fee with a varied menu catering for various dietary requirements. Nottingham's accommodation features rooms on each campus that are accessible to students with disabilities, including larger rooms for extra storage or work space, adapted bathrooms and facilities for those with hearing impairments.

Most first year undergraduates live in University-owned halls on University Park. There are also other halls on Jubilee Campus and Sutton Bonington Campus, as well as several third-party student housing developments close to the university campuses.


"Nottingham Two"

Main article: Nottingham Two

On 14 May 2008, Hicham Yezza, a member of staff, and Rizwaan Sabir, a postgraduate student, were arrested at the University of Nottingham and were detained for six days under the Terrorism Act 2000. The University of Nottingham informed the police after finding an edited version of the al-Qaeda training manual the student was using for his research. Both were released without charge from terrorism offences.[71][72] In September 2011, Rizwaan Sabir was awarded £20,000 compensation for false imprisonment by Nottinghamshire Police.

The University of Nottingham came under criticism after the only professor involved in terrorism studies at the institution, Dr Rod Thornton, decided that because of the university's lack of guidance to him regarding their position over possession of terrorist publications, he was no longer willing to risk possible arrest by teaching terrorism studies at the University, although he would continue in his other responsibilities.[73] As a result, terrorism studies are no longer being taught at the University of Nottingham.[73]

For an 2011 conference of the British International Studies Association, Thornton prepared a paper which alleged the university had engaged in systematic persecution against Yezza, Sabir and junior academics in the department.[74] One of Thornton's colleagues at Nottingham complained to BISA about alleged defamatory content of Thornton's paper, and a spokesman for the university called it "highly defamatory of a number of his colleagues". The paper was removed from BISA's website.[75]

In early May 2011, Thornton was suspended by the university for the "breakdown in working relationships" caused by the paper. In an open letter published in The Guardian, 67 international researchers including Noam Chomsky asked for Thornton's reinstatement and an independent examination of the university's actions, saying that Thornton's paper "carefully details what appear to be examples of serious misconduct from senior university management over the arrest of two university members".[76] In 2011, a campaign was launched calling for the reinstatement of Dr Rod Thornton and for a public inquiry into the University of Nottingham's actions.[77]

Notable people

The University has been associated with a range of highly distinguished alumni and staff including:

See also

Notes and references


  • Fawcett, Peter and Neil Jackson (1998). Campus critique: the architecture of the University of Nottingham. Nottingham: University of Nottingham.
  • Tolley, B. H. (2001). The history of the University of Nottingham. Nottingham: Nottingham University Press.

External links

  • University of Nottingham website
  • University of Nottingham Alumni Association
  • Highfields and Nottingham University Parks - Information and pictures
  • Photographs of Highfields Park from Nottingham21
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