Policies, achievements and commitments


94 per cent of our staff say that they are proud to work for the University of Sheffield.

Staff Survey 2016

For our University, social and public responsibility is integral to our education, research, partnerships and place-making.

Our policies, partnerships and affiliations help us address challenges locally and globally. Our awards highlight some of the ways in which we're making a positive difference.


Student holds We are international card

Awards and accreditations


The Queen's Prize – we've been awarded four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes, an award given to recognise the outstanding contributions to the intellectual, economic, cultural and social life of the nation.

Duke of York Award for University Entrepreneurship shortlist – the University is recognised as a national leader in enterprise education. In 2016 we were shortlisted for the Duke of York Award for University Entrepreneurship. University of Sheffield Enterprise (USE) supported the formation of 46 businesses in 2015-16, raising almost £2.5m in investment funding.


Grey to Green won the Open Spaces Award at the Sheffield Design Awards 2016 – Grey to Green is a partnership between our University, Sheffield City Council and local businesses. It aims to transform 1.3 kilmeters of redundant inner city dual carriageway between West Bar and Exchange Street into a linear green route for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. Grey to Green was recognised for its commitment to transforming public space and helping forge a sustainable future for our city.

Foodhall won the Small Projects Award at the Sheffield Design Awards 2016 – Sheffield graduates Louis Pohl and Jamie Wilde launched this freecycle food network to trial new ways of engaging the wider community through shared food. The project was recognised for its innovative design and flexible space, all created on a minimal budget.


We're ranked in the top 50 most international universities by the Times Higher Education 2018 – the list celebrates institutions that have an outstanding international reputation, in turn helping to attract the very highest calibre of staff and students. The University of Sheffield was ranked 42nd out of the 800 leading universities worldwide.

University of Sanctuary – this pledge confirmed our long-standing commitment to doing all we could to empower people fleeing conflict or tyranny. We were the first University of Sanctuary.

Award-winning #WeAreInternational campaign – our global campaign demonstrates the importance of providing the best support for learners from across the world. The campaign, which is now backed by more than 100 universities, education institutions and international organisations, was jointly founded by the University’s President and Vice-Chancellor and the Students’ Union. Supported by cross-parliamentary MPs, the campaign highlights the crucial value of international students to the UK. Awards include:

  • Internationalising the Student Experience winner (NUS/UKCISA Internationalisation Awards 2014)
  • Outstanding International Student Strategy winner (Times Higher Education awards 2014)


Building Magazine Sustainability Award (runner-up) 2007 – for our Information Commons building, which provides a state-of-the-art learning environment for students. The Information Commons is designed to have a low environmental impact for a building of its size and function.


The UK's no. 1 students' union – Our students' union is consistently recognised as the best in the country (Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey and National Student Survey). The awards reflect how effective our students' union is at representing students and delivering the services they ask for.

2014 Enactus UK champions – Enactus Sheffield. Enactus Sheffield is a student-run, not-for-profit social enterprise company based at the University of Sheffield. The team were crowned Enactus UK champions in 2014 after helping 150 people transform their lives. They went on to represent represent the UK at the Enactus World Cup in Beijing, where they reached the semi-finals.


Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) Green Gown awards 2016 – Highly Commended for our partnership with Our Cow Molly Dairy


Investors in People quality standard – all of the University’s professional services departments hold this quality standard, which recognises outperforming places to work and clear commitments to sustainability.

Sunday Times best 100 organisations to work for – The University of Sheffield has been named one of the best places to work in the UK for a third year in a row by The Sunday Times (2018). 


Group of University staffA top employer for workplace equality

Our investment in equality has been recognised by LGBT charity Stonewall. We've been named a top-100 employer for the fifth year running, moving up 64 places to achieve our highest ever ranking of 24th.

Working with Stonewall, the University uses the index as a way to measure its efforts to tackle discrimination and create an inclusive workplace for lesbian, gay, bi and trans+ employees. This year, the charity received 92,000 responses making it one the largest national employment surveys in Britain. Sheffield will now use the results of the survey to help continue its focus on LGBT+ equality.

University moves up 64 places

Equality is a hugely important issue for me personally. I believe people should be accepted for whoever they are and they should be able to bring their whole selves to work in a warm and welcoming environment.

The University of Sheffield’s Senior Diversity Champion, Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Gill Valentine


Silver institutional Athena SWAN award – recognises our ongoing commitment to gender equality. We are now one of nine of an elite group of universities holding silver institution awards. Individual awards are held by all of our science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics (STEMM) departments as well as the Department of Archaeology.

Stonewall top 100 employer for workplace equality – a definitive list showcasing the best employers for lesbian, gay, bi and trans staff. Read article: The University has achieved its highest ever ranking of 24th (2018)


Student support: Student Barometer Survey (2016) – an overall satisfaction with our support services of 93 per cent, compared to a UK average in this category of 90 per cent. Our Services Information Desk was placed first across the whole barometer, with an exceptional 98 per cent student satisfaction score.

Juice wellbeing programme – won the Wellbeing Special Award, 2016 (a Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work for award). Over 2,400 staff members attended an activity on the Juice wellbeing programme in 2016.

Investors in People quality standard – all of the University’s professional services departments hold this quality standard, which recognises outperforming places to work and clear commitments to sustainability.

University Counselling Service (UCS) accreditation – our free, confidential service is available to all our students. The service has been honoured through the Accreditation Programme for Psychological Therapy Services (APPTS), a partnership between the Centre for Quality Improvement at the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the British Psychological Society. The quality standards look at whether a counselling service is safe, effective, caring, responsive to people's needs, and well led. UCS scored 100 per cent in all type one standards, which are considered to be essential for the safety and dignity of service users.

HR Excellence in Research Award – the University holds the Excellence in Research Award from the European Commission. The award recognises an institution's progress towards a high-quality research environment for research staff and postgraduate researchers.


A sustainable partnership

In our bid to reduce emissions and minimise the negative effects of transporting goods long distance, we developed our existing partnership with Our Cow Molly.

Prior to developing the partnership, all milk was produced in Yorkshire but had to be transported to London to be pasteurised and bottled, as the dairy in Yorkshire was not large enough to accommodate these services.

Through our continued investment, Our Cow Molly has been able to build a brand new £500,000 dairy in Yorkshire. Now all milk is produced, pasteurised and bottled in Yorkshire.

We were highly commended for our sustainable partnership at the Green Gown awards 2016.

Our Cow Molly vans

The University of Sheffield and Our Cow Molly have demonstrated how creative procurement practices can revitalise local supply chains.

Green Gown awards 2016


Festival of the Mind event at the train station



Council for at-risk academics (CARA) – member of. As a member of CARA we have supported a number of CARA-sponsored PhD students and academics with placements here. In partnership with CARA, we're striving to host more refugee academics in danger or facing exile, giving them financial and practical help to continue their careers in a safe place.

#WeAreInternational campaign – the University of Sheffield and our Students' Union, led by our Vice-Chancellor and the Students' Union President, launched the #WeAreInternational campaign in 2013. So far, over 160 universities, education institutions and international organisations have backed it. The campaign highlights and celebrates the positive impact of international students.


Our Fair City campaign (Sheffield’s unique approach to tackling inequalities) – working with. We have run events such as a national conference on fairness with the Our Fair City campaign. The University of Sheffield's Rowland Atkinson, a professor of Urban Studies and Planning, is a champion of the campaign.


Local Enterprise Partnership – Sir Keith Burnett, University of Sheffield President and Vice-Chancellor, is a board member of the local enterprise partnership (LEP). LEPs are the government's model to promote economic development and provide the strategic leadership required to set out local economic priorities.


Sheffield Culture Consortium and Renew Sheffield – Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City and Cultural Engagement at the University of Sheffield, chairs Renew Sheffield and the Sheffield Culture Consortium.

Fairness Champion – Professor Rowland Atkinson, a professor of Urban Studies and Planning at the University of Sheffield, is a champion of the Our Fair City campaign.


Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership

Sheffield City Region Vision

Sheffield Culture Consortium

UTC Sheffield

UTC Doncaster


The earth



Joint statement on climate change and fossil-free investment

Investment policy (PDF, 61KB)


Carbon action plan

Sustainable Food Policy (PDF, 99KB)

Sustainability initiatives

Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges (EAUC) – member of

Environmental impact - reducing

Environmental policies – including recycling and waste

Environmental policy statement (2013) (PDF, 102KB)

Green Impact electricity: lighting and equipment management plan (Word, 647KB) – for departments to create their own switch-off plan

Green Impact – an important part of our energy strategy. All around the University we have groups of staff and students working together to create positive change. It was first implemented at the University of Sheffield in 2009–2010 and since then has grown exponentially, with Green Impact teams in around 70 per cent of departments. Departments across the University showcase their Green Impact initiatives and awards on their web pages.


Availability of Fair Trade products at the University (2012) (PDF, 117KB)


My Sustainable Campus

Our staff website showcases University sustainability initiatives and research.

The My Sustainable Campus toolkit highlights resources staff can use and steps they can take to be green on campus. The toolkit includes:

  • an electric car scheme for staff meetings
  • a dockless bike rental scheme: we're collaborating with Ofo, which runs a bike rental scheme in the city
  • a switch-off plan for departments and teams to reduce their electricity usage
  • tips on making the most of our University-wide recycling scheme

Ali Mallick