The University of Exeter has been named as The Times and Sunday Times Sports University of the Year 2016, it has been announced.
The award, which is part of The Times Good University Guide supplement, was given to Exeter on the basis of “excellence in sports performance, education and research.”
The sports award also takes into account Exeter’s “outstanding support for athletes, very high student satisfaction in sport-related programmes and world leading research, which enhances athletic performance at all levels.”
The University has invested more than £20million into sporting developments in the past decade, including the new £9million investment in the Sports Park on Streatham Campus. £4.6million is also currently being spent to upgrade sports facilities on Exeter’s other campuses.
The standard of sport at Exeter was also a contributing factor in receiving the award. Exeter is the top ranked institution nationally for Rugby, Golf and Men’s Hockey, and finished 3rd in BUCS cup and league competitions in all sports in the 2014/15 season.
The University also had 28 athletes represent their country internationally in 2014/15, and award more than 30 tailored scholarships to athletes annually.
Student satisfaction in Sport and Health Sciences at the University was at 99% according to the recent National Student Survey, the 2nd highest in the higher education sector.
In the Research Excellence Framework 2014 Exeter was ranked 3rd of 51 universities for research quality and intensity, with 89 per cent of research rated as “world-leading”or “internationally excellent.”
The institution is also one of only nine UK universities to have indoor tennis facilities to national competition standards.
Previous winners of the Sports University of the Year award have included Durham and Loughborough.
Speaking about the award, University Vice-Chancellor Sir Steve Smith said: “Receiving the Sports award is an outstanding achievement and one which recognises the tremendous talent and effort of a wide range of staff and students on the sports field, in the lecture theatre and in the laboratory.
“I’d like to congratulate and thank everyone who has contributed to this award – it really is a victory for us all to celebrate.”
AU President Jack Bristow commented: “Every member of the AU should be extremely proud of their contribution towards Exeter receiving this award.
“It’s great to have it confirmed that we are the best university for sport, even if it is something we already knew.”
Alison Davidson, Director of Sport at the University said: “This fantastic news recognises the success of our ethos of working alongside academically gifted students to help them achieve their full potential as student athletes.
“We aim to engage, empower and encourage staff and students to be physically active”
The University also maintained its 7th placed position in The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016, making it the highest ranked university in the South West for the second year in a row.