The world’s leading centre for the study of Scotland’s national poet is being recognised today (Thursday 22 February 2024) at Buckingham Palace with the highest national Honour in further and higher education. 

The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes celebrate excellence, innovation and public benefit in work carried out by UK colleges and universities. 

Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, are to present the Prize to the University of Glasgow in recognition of the scholarship, range and impact of the projects undertaken at the Centre for Robert Burns Studies, chiefly Editing and Curating Burns for the 21st Century. 

Prizes – which showcase the positive impact of research on education, the economy and wider society – are the highest national Honour awarded in UK further and higher education and are granted every two years. They are run by the Royal Anniversary Trust, an independent charity. 

Speaking outside Buckingham Palace today, academics from the Centre for Robert Burns Studies said: “It is wonderful to see the importance and impact of the Centre for Robert Burns Studies’ scholarship recognised here today. It means a great deal to us that our interdisciplinary work to research and sustain the educational, cultural and economic value of Burns’s phenomenal legacy has been awarded this very great honour. The Queen’s Anniversary Prize also emphasises Glasgow’s standing as a University at the forefront of the study of Scottish Literature and Culture.” 

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, who will be presented with the prize on behalf of the University and Centre, said: “Today’s presentation is a testament to the outstanding scholarship our University provides to the world. The Centre for Robert Burns Studies is home to exceptional scholars who have rewritten our understanding and knowledge of Scotland’s national bard. I know they will continue their exceptional scholarship to better understand Scotland’s greatest poet and song writer.” 

He added: “The University is delighted to have the efforts of its Burns scholars recognised and this wonderful news means that the University of Glasgow now has six Queen’s Anniversary Prizes and has been successful in four of the past six rounds of the Prizes. I am proud of – and grateful to – everyone across the University who has played a part in this success.” 

Professor Jo Gill, Vice-Principal, and the Head of the College of Arts & Humanities at the University of Glasgow, said: “This prestigious prize deservedly honours the dedication and breadth of work of our world-leading staff and students over the last near two decades. Receiving the highest Honour in UK higher education is a remarkable achievement and reflects the College’s continued and ongoing commitment to support our outstanding research in the Arts and Humanities.” 

This is the 6th time that the University of Glasgow has won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize. Previously the University won in 1994, 1998, 2013, 2017 and 2021. 

The Queen’s Anniversary Prize scheme is unique in the honours systems in that it is granted to an institution as a whole (irrespective of the area of work recognised). This is the 15th round being celebrated with 22 Prizes awarded.  

The Prizes are managed by The Royal Anniversary Trust, which is an independent charity. The Trust was established in 1990 to create a national programme of educational activities and other events marking the 40th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession in 1992 and in appreciation of her many years of service as Head of State.  

Sir Damon Buffini, Chair of Royal Anniversary Trust said: “The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education are an integral part of our national Honours system, shining a light on the groundbreaking work taking place in universities and colleges across the UK. Congratulations!”  

Born in 1759 in Alloway, Ayrshire, Robert Burns is one of the world’s most celebrated and commemorated poets. His poems and songs have been translated into every major language including Russian, German, French and Chinese. Burns’s influence has extended far beyond Scotland with some 9.5 million people worldwide estimated to attend Burns Suppers annually. Burns’s version of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ – the New Year anthem – has been performed by everyone from Elvis Presley to Jimi Hendrix. 

In January 2020, a report by the Centre for Robert Burns Studies revealed Scotland’s national bard is worth just over £200 million a year to the Scottish economy and the poet’s brand is worth nearly £140 million annually. 



Notes to Editors 

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