The University of Leicester is one of only small number of universities to have won the highly prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher Education on more than one occasion.

These prizes are awarded for excellence in research and teaching.

World-class teaching, research and consultancy programme in astronomy and space and planetary science fields. Practical results from advanced thinking.

In 1994 the University of Leicester celebrated winning the Queen's Anniversary Prize for its work in Physics & Astronomy. Leicester is home to the biggest University based space research group in Europe. The prize citation reads: "World-class teaching, research and consultancy programme in astronomy and space and planetary science fields. Practical results from advanced thinking".

The University was chosen from 200 universities and colleges that entered the prestigious national awards scheme - adding significantly to its status as one of Britain's leading universities.

Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning


The department is a member of the Pi-CETL collaboration of three university physics departments with a track record in teaching and learning innovation. The Physics Innovations CETL is the only Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in Physics. It was funded for 5 years (2005-2010) by the Higher Education Funding Council for England. Pi-CETL involved collaboration between the Open University and the Universities of Leicester and Reading, and focused on curriculum innovation, the use of modern technology, the development of personal and professional skills, positioning physics in a broader scientific context and widening access.

Awards for Individual Members of Staff

Listed below are a selection of the many national and international prizes awarded to our staff since 2002.

  • Prof. Andrew King (2014), Royal Astronomical Society Eddington medal for research in theoretical astrophysics, including major contributions to the topic of intermediate mass black holes.
  • Prof. George Fraser (2014), Royal Astronomical Society Jackson-Gwilt medal for 'invention, improvement, or development of astronomical instrumentation or techniques or for achievement in observational astronomy'.
  • Prof. Mark Lester (2014), Royal Astronomical Society award for Services to Geophysics, for  his leadership, both nationally and internationally, of the ground-based radar community.
  • The Cassini magnetometer team (2014), Royal Astronomical Society Team award for Geophysics.
  • Dr Tom Stallard (2014), title of 'Hoku Kolea' awarded by the Mauna Kea observatories, Hawaii for 'outstanding commitment to the volunteer program and nightly stargazing programs.'
  • Prof. Ken Pounds FRS CBE (2013), University of Leicester Distinguished Honorary Fellowship.
  • Prof. Steve Milan (2013), Royal Astronomical Society Chapman medal for 'investigations of outstanding merit in solar-terrestrial physics.'
  • Dr Richard Alexander (2013), Phillip Leverhulme Prize.
  • Dr Mervyn Roy (2013), University of Leicester Teaching Fellowship, for 'proactive, empathetic and innovative contributions to the teaching and student support activities of the Department of Physics and Astronomy.'
  • Prof. Derek Raine (2012), Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for 'services to science education.'
  • Dr Graham Wynn (2012), University of Leicester Teaching Fellowship, for 'contributions to teaching, learning and assessment in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, including the development of Group Industrial Projects designed to enhance the employability of physics students.'
  • Dr Paul Abel (2012), University of Leicester Teaching Partnership award, for his 'excellent contribution to the teaching of physics and interdisciplinary science students.'
  • Prof. Stan Cowley (2011), Fellow of the Royal Society.
  • Dr Emma Bunce (2011), Phillip Leverhulme Prize.
  • Prof. Tudor Jones (2011), Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for 'services to science.'
  • Prof. Andrew Blain (2010), Wolfson Merit Award.
  • Prof. Jim Hinton (2009), Phillip Leverhulme Prize.
  • Prof. Ken Pounds FRS CBE (2008), COSPAR Space Science award.
  • The Swift Gamma Ray Burst mission team (2007), Bruno Rossi Prize of the AAS High Energy Astrophysics Division.
  • Prof. Derek Raine (2006), Institute of Physics Bragg medal for 'his work on the teaching of physics in universities.'
  • Prof. Stan Cowley (2006), Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society.
  • Prof. Stan Cowley (2006), Julius Bartels Medal of the European Geophysical Union.
  • Prof Terry Robinson (2006), Royal Astronomical Society Harold Jeffreys Lecturer.
  • Dr John Remedios (2006), NASA Group Achievement Award, for 'work on the UARS project'.
  • Dr Steve Milan (2006), ESA science award, for 'work on the Cluster mission.'
  • Dr Steve Milan (2006), URSI Young Scientist Award.
  • Prof. Martin Barstow (2005) Isaac Newton memorial Lecturer.
  • Prof. Stan Cowley (2003), medal of the University of Helsinki.
  • Prof. Andrew King (2002), Wolfson Merit award.

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Fax: +44 (0)116 252 2770

Department of Physics & Astronomy,
University of Leicester,
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Leicester, LE1 7RH,
United Kingdom.


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The 2018 Ernest Rutherford Fellowships round is now open for applications. Further details on the process of applying for an ERF in the Department of Physics and Astronomy can be found here.

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