University of the Year Although research, teaching, access and business performance will be taken into account, the main criterion will be evidence of particular bold, imaginative and innovative initiatives that have advanced the institution's reputation between 1 July 2011 and 15 June 2012 Plymouth University is defined by a spirit of boldness; its commitment to partnership and serving the community; and to its distinctive student experience that is focussed upon real world issues and opportunities. In 2011/12, it brought all three of those together in an innovative Student: Staff Partnership Agreement that established a new culture: no longer do students study at Plymouth University; they study with Plymouth University. The partnership is, based on the premise that students and staff are members of an academic community, with complementary roles and responsibilities. From being involved in the recruitment and selection process of academic staff (including the Board of Governors), to inputting into the curriculum and playing key roles in major projects such as the rebranding of the University, its new campus space strategy, and the ‘one-stop-shop’ Student Gateway employability facility – the student voice is now heard at all levels of the decision-making process. This partnership resonates with the University’s enterprise mindset, in which students, staff and community partners are empowered to use their creativity and ideas for wider societal and economic benefit. This year alone, staff and students have taken the academic lead in the launch of the national Social Enterprise University Enterprise Network; led the Leadership, Management and Governance project that has generated great insight into mission group structures and the importance of differentiation; become the first university in the country to receive and distribute Regional Growth Fund money; and exported its enterprise expertise to support government projects in Sri Lanka and Nigeria. Plymouth University can chart its heritage back to 1862 and the founding of the School of Navigation, which provided vital vocational training and development in seamanship. 150 years on, the University is working to make the seas safer through innovative projects such as the Hydrographic Academy, a first-of-its-kind distance learning programme for the off-shore sector, delivering Degree and Postgraduate programmes from a single memory stick. The University’s Marine Institute boasts the broadest research portfolio of any institution in Europe, and this year won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education – a year in which its academics have reported to the UN on issues such as ocean acidification, marine protected areas, and climate change. Plymouth is leading the sector in sustainability, winning a Green Gown Award for continuous institutional improvement in November, and was ranked at number two in the People and Planet Green League. This year it launched the country’s first research institute focussed purely on solutions for today’s sustainability grand challenges, and is leading a £1 million inter-disciplinary project to develop innovative energy visualisation techniques. Through its Centre for Sustainable Futures it is embedding this expertise across the curriculum, and acts as an exemplar to other HEIs. Plymouth was recently placed in the THE’s Top 100 Under 50 list – the highest ranked post ’92 institution. Through its focus on student experience, partnership and impactful research, it is our contention that Plymouth is redefining the term ‘modern university and rendering irrelevant the divide between ‘post-92’ universities and the rest.