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Higher education institutions should make nominations by Thursday 8 September 2016.

Dear Vice-Chancellor or Principal

Birthday 2017 Honours nominations

1. This letter invites nominations for the Queen’s Birthday 2017 Honours list. The deadline for nominations is Thursday 8 September 2016.

2. We will shortly begin to compile our list of people whose names might be put forward to 10 Downing Street as possible recipients of a national honour in the Queen’s Birthday 2017 Honours list. I am seeking fresh citations from the heads of all HEFCE-funded higher education institutions for this purpose.

3. Recognising the contribution of people working in higher education, in both academic and other roles, is extremely important. We would therefore like you to put forward recommendations for your colleagues, undoubtedly among the best in their field, from all areas of the sector including research, scholarship, teaching, administration. We also welcome nominations for those involved in philanthropic activities.

4. We would encourage nominations at all levels within institutions, particularly staff in manual, clerical or other support roles, who have made an outstanding contribution and had a positive impact on both students and colleagues. However, we are keen to encourage more diversity in the nominations we receive and would especially welcome recommendations for female candidates, particularly those at senior level, and for black and ethnic minority candidates.

5. We would also draw your attention to the British Empire Award Medal (BEM). This is intended to recognise those candidates who are actively engaging in work to build a bigger, stronger society. It is likely that more junior or support staff would be suitable recipients of this award.

6. As well as recognising the contribution the nominee has made to higher education, it is important to recognise any involvement they may have in charitable or voluntary activities, and we would encourage you to detail this on the relevant part of the citation form.

7. All nominations must be made electronically on the Cabinet Office citation form which can be downloaded from the HEFCE publications website alongside this circular letter ( together with further Cabinet Office guidance on ‘How to Write an Honours Citation’. I would draw your attention to pages 9 to 14 in the guidance which detail restrictions on the length of citations and provide advice on how best to present the case by highlighting how nominees have gone above and beyond the requirements of their day job.

8. Each nomination should be accompanied by at least two letters of support from individuals who know and can comment on the personal impact of the work of the nominee.

9. Completed forms and letters of support should be emailed to Paula McLeod ( no later than Thursday 8 September 2016.

Yours sincerely

Professor Madeleine Atkins

Chief Executive



  • Nominations submitted to HEFCE will normally go forward to be considered by the ‘Education’ or the ‘Science and Technology’ Honours Committees. The remit of the ‘Science and Technology’ Committee covers all the academic subject areas of the Science and Technology Research Councils, including medical research and economic and social sciences. Arts and humanities scholars will continue to be considered for submission to the ‘Education’ Committee. Those involved in medical education will be considered by the ‘Health’ Committee.
  • The honours system is designed to recognise outstanding contributions at whatever stage in a person’s life rather than as a reward for a whole career. This means that nominations for younger candidates will certainly be considered. The BEM also offers the opportunity to recognise the achievements of more junior staff.
  • All nominees submitted should be eligible to receive an award, i.e. they are still active in the area to which the nomination relates. In order to be eligible for consideration in the Birthday 2017 round, nominees should still have been in post or active in scholarship up to 30 June 2016.
  • The long citation is very important. It is to the benefit of the nominee that as much supporting evidence as possible is included in the space allowed (see pages 9-14 of the Cabinet Office guidance). In addition to details about the work contribution of the nominee, further information on any wider involvement beyond their paid role should be provided in the ‘Voluntary and Charitable Services’ section of the form. This could include voluntary activity within an institution or the local community, or a significant contribution at a national level.  This also includes any philanthropic work the nominee is involved in.
  • It is in the interests of the nominee if people who know the nominee’s work can be identified and encouraged to write to HEFCE by the prescribed deadline in support of the nomination. This should also include any voluntary or community activity that the candidate is involved in. Each nomination should be accompanied by at least two letters of support.
  • If an honour has been awarded within the last five years it is very unlikely that a second honour of a higher rank would be considered. It is normal to leave a gap of at least five years, and even then a second honour would be given only for exceptional additional service.
  • In view of the large number received and the time needed to check each one, late submissions are not normally accepted by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Date: 5 July 2016

Ref: Circular letter 14/2016

To: Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions