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Surrey Sports Park

University of Surrey
Established 1966 – gained University Status by Royal Charter
1891 – Battersea Polytechnic Institute
Type Public
Endowment £ 48.7 million[1]
Chancellor HRH The Duke of Kent[2]
Vice-Chancellor Sir Christopher Snowden[2]
Pro-Chancellors The Rt Hon The Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone
Dr J R Forrest
Penelope Keith
Sir William Wells[2]
Admin. staff 2,338
incl. 1,403 academics and 150 researchers[3]
Students 15,705[4]
Undergraduates 9,600[4]
Postgraduates 6,105[4]
Location Guildford, England, UK
Campus Suburban
Colours Blue      and Gold     
Affiliations PATA
Universities UK

The University of Surrey is a public research university located within the county town of Guildford, Surrey, in the South East of England. It received its charter on 9 September 1966, and was previously situated near Battersea Park in south-west London. The institution was known as Battersea College of Technology before gaining university status. Its roots however go back to the Battersea Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1891 to provide further and higher education for London's poorer inhabitants.[5]

The university conducts extensive research on small satellites and has a high number of staff who are members of learned societies. The Research Assessment Exercise 2001 awarded nine departments at the university 5 or 5* ratings.[6] The university has recently expanded into China by launching the Surrey International Institute with Dongbei University of Finance and Economics.[7]

The university's main campus is located on Stag Hill close to the centre of Guildford and adjacent to Guildford Cathedral. A second campus, at Manor Park, is located a short distance away and has been developed to expand upon existing accommodation, academic buildings and sporting facilities.[8]


The University of Surrey was preceded by the Battersea Polytechnic Institute which was founded in 1891 and admitted its first students in 1894. Its aims were to provide greater access to further and higher education for some of the "poorer inhabitants" of London.

In 1901, Evening Classes consisted of some of the following; Mechanical Engineering and Building, Electrical Engineering, Chemical and other Trades, Physics and Natural Science, Maths, Languages, and Commercial subjects, Music. Special classes for Women in Domestic Economy subjects. Day Classes in Art, Science, Women's subjects and Gymnastics. Classes in preparation for University and Professional Examinations. Also. Science day School for Boys and Girls, Commercial School for Girls, Training School for Domestic Economy and Training for Teachers.

The Institute focused on science and technology subjects, and from about 1920 taught some classes for University of London students.[9] The Institute awarded University of London external degrees.[10]

In 1956, the Institute was among the first to receive the designation "College of Advanced Technology" and was renamed Battersea College of Technology. By the beginning of the sixties, the College had virtually outgrown its building in Battersea and had decided to move to Guildford. In addition to this, the Robbins Report of 1963 proposed that the Colleges of Advanced Technology, including Battersea, should expand and become degree-awarding universities.[9]

In 1965, the university-designate acquired a greenfield site in Guildford from Guildford Cathedral, Guildford Borough Council and the Onslow Village Trust. The following year, on 9 September 1966 the University of Surrey was established by Royal Charter and by 1970 the move from Battersea to Guildford was complete.[9]

Early visitors to the new campus were Led Zeppelin, who performed their very first gig at the university on 15 October 1968.[11]

In 1982, the university became the trustee of the building of the Guildford Institute and uses parts of the building for its adult education programme which ensures a university presence in the heart of Guildford. The Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (formerly Associated Examining Board) moved from Aldershot to its own headquarters building on the Stag Hill campus in 1985.

The university marked its Silver Jubilee in 1991, an event celebrated by the publishing of Surrey – The Rise of a Modern University by Roy Douglas[5] and by a Service of Thanksgiving in Guildford Cathedral attended by HM The Queen in March 1992.

The university celebrated its 35th anniversary year in May 2002 with a major event in Guildford Cathedral. It was also marked by the unveiling of the Surrey Scholar sculpture (by Allan Sly FBS) to mark the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen and as a gift to the people of Guildford. The Surrey Scholar is located at the bottom of Guildford High Street. Understanding the Real World, a visual history of the university, by Christopher Pick, was published to coincide with this anniversary.[9]

On 1 July 2005, Prof. Christopher Snowden became Surrey's fourth Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive. Like his predecessors Prof. Dowling and Prof. Kelly, Prof. Snowden is a fellow of the Royal Society. He was appointed in recognition of his pioneering work in the fields of microwave engineering and compound semiconductors.

In 2007, the university saw a major increase in overall applications by 39% compared with the previous year.[12] This was followed by a further increase in applications of 12% in 2008.[13]

In October 2008, the university lost out to Royal Holloway in a bid to merge with London medical institute St George's, University of London.[14]

From September 2009, the Guildford School of Acting became a subsidiary of the university and relocated from Guildford town centre to the university campus.


The university moved in 1968 to a new 30 ha (74-acre) site on Stag Hill in Guildford, adjacent to Guildford Cathedral (see picture, below). A further 90 ha (222 acres) allocated to the university remained undeveloped until 2005. The new Manor Park campus, designed as a car-free village, is 1.6 kilometres (1 mi) from the Stag Hill campus and on the other side of the A3 trunk road.[15] It combines residences for students and staff, buildings for research and teaching, and sporting facilities.

The BBC's local radio station for Surrey and North-East Hampshire, BBC Surrey, has its studios on the campus.[16] In addition the university has a student-run medium wave radio station, GU2 Radio (GU2 is the local postcode prefix).

In November 2007, the university was given planning permission to build the Surrey Multifaith Centre at the University of Surrey. This will be the first building in Britain to have a Synagogue, Muslim Prayer Hall, Gurdwara and Chapel built separately under one roof.[17]

In April 2010, a £35 million new sports centre named the Surrey Sports Park opened.[18]

On 8 July 2009, a temporary Amigo convenience store opened in the BB Building on the campus, replacing the previous One Stop store which was situated near the library. The new store is operated by the Compass Group, and will see the University enjoy 'guaranteed rental income and share of turnover'.[19] The project is part of wider work which will see a new building, housing a larger shop and library extension, opening on the One Stop site in April 2011.[20]

In September 2009, the Guildford School of Acting moved into a new purpose built facility on the main Stag Hill campus as part of a strategic merger between the two organisations. After the opening of the new Surrey Sports Park in April 2010, the old Sports Centre has been converted into the Ivy Arts Centre, a performing arts facility housing a 200 seat theatre and studio and workshop space.

A £35 million research centre for the development of the first worldwide 5G network is schedule to open on January 2015.[21]


The academic activities of the university are divided into the following four faculties:



The university conducts extensive research on small satellites, with its Surrey Space Centre and spin-off commercial company, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. In the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise, the University of Surrey received a 5* rating in the categories of "Sociology", "Other Studies and Professions Allied to Medicine", and "Electrical and Electronic Engineering" and a 5 rating in the categories of "Psychology", "Physics", "Applied Mathematics", "Statistics and Operational Research", "European Studies", and "Russian, Slavonic and East European Languages".[6]

In addition, the Surrey Research Park is a 28 ha (69-acre) low density development which is owned and developed by the university, providing large landscaped areas with water features and facilities for over 110 companies engaged in a broad spectrum of research, development and design activities. The university generates the third highest endowment income out of all UK universities "reflecting its commercially-orientated heritage."[22]


In 1991 the university was granted the Queen's Award for Export Achievement,[9] and in 1996 it was awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher & Further Education in recognition of the university's outstanding achievement in satellite engineering and communications, teaching and research by the Centre for Satellite Engineering Research and its associated companies.[23] In 1998 Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) was awarded the Queen's Award for Technological Achievement. This was presented in person by the Queen on her second visit to the university, accompanied by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Duke of Kent, Chancellor of the University.[24]

More recently the university was awarded the 2002 Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher & Further Education, this time for its internationally renowned research and development on optoelectronic devices and ion beam applications.[23] The university has a high number of staff who are academicians of the learned societies: 10 Fellows of the Royal Society, 21 Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering, one Fellow of the British Academy and 6 Fellows of the Academy of Social Sciences.[25]

In July 2007, the university was awarded Fairtrade University status by the Fairtrade Foundation.[26]

In 2011, the university won the 2011 Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher & Further Education, for its research into the fields of safe water and sanitation.[27]


(2013, national)
(2013, world)
(2013/14, national)
(2013/14, world)
(2013/14, national)
(2013/14, world)
(2014, national)
The Guardian[32]
(2014, national)
Times/Sunday Times[33]
(2014, national)
= 12

University of Surrey is a leading institution in southeast England and is ranked highly nationally. For the most recent domestic university league tables, the university is ranked 8th overall by The Guardian,[34] 13th overall by the Complete University Guide, 12th overall by the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2014. Subjects ranked in the top 10 include Hospitality & Tourism, Electronic Engineering, Food Science, Sociology, Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Economics and Psychology.[35] In world rankings, Times Higher Education ranked the university 190th in 2007.[36]

Academics and Alumni


Academics to work at the university include Alf Adams, pioneer of the strained quantum-well laser;[37] Jim Al-Khalili, the nuclear physicist, author and broadcaster;[38] Aleks Krotoski, the technology journalist and broadcaster;[39] Sir Martin Sweeting, founder of Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd;[37] and Nigel Gilbert, the sociologist pioneer in the use of agent-based models in the social sciences.[40] On 20 May 2009, Andreas Mogensen, a researcher at the Surrey Space Centre, was announced as a new member of the European Astronaut Corps, part of the European Space Agency and in doing so, will become the first Danish astronaut.[41] In February 2011, terrorism and Northern Ireland expert Marie Breen Smyth, joined the Politics department, as Chair in International Relations.[42] In March 2005, Breen-Smyth, (then Smyth) gave evidence to the House of Commons Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Inquiry into Dealing with Northern Ireland's past. Her evidence was based on her work with victims, through the "Cost of the Troubles Study".[43] Another notable academic was the late translation studies scholar Peter Newmark.[44]

One notable academic, who is known for his work in Nanotechnology, is Prof Ravi Silva. Ravi Silva is the current Director of the Advanced Technology Institute at the university. In 2003, he was awarded the Albert Einstein Silver Medal and the Javed Husain Prize by UNESCO for contributions to electronic devices. The largest Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Portfolio award for £6.68M was also given to Prof. Silva and his team on Integrated Electronics, which was followed in 2004 by a SRIF award for £4M to set up a Nano-Electronics Centre for multidisciplinary research. In 2008, Prof. Silva was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, UK.[45] In 2011, Professor Silva was invited to give a lecture to the Royal Society. The 2011 Clifford Paterson Lecture was given by Professor Silva for his outstanding contributions to basic science and engineering in the field of carbon nanoscience and nanotechnology. The lecture is given annually on any aspect of engineering. The General Electric Company Limited endowed the lecture in 1975 in honour of Clifford Paterson. Clifford Copland Paterson FRS undertook the creation of the GEC Research Laboratories in 1919. This followed a career at NPL, Teddington where he became a world expert in the measurement of photometric units. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1942. [46] Other notable academics who have delivered the lecture include Frank Kelly from the University of Cambridge and Richard Friend who is also from the University of Cambridge.[47]

Surrey's Centre for Environmental Strategy (established by Roland Clift in 1992) gained a lot of attention with the publication of Prosperity Without Growth by University of Surrey academic Tim Jackson, Professor of Sustainable Development and Director of the ESRC Research Group on Lifestyles, Values and Environment.[48]


Notable students of the university (or its predecessor, Battersea Poytechnic) include:

Educational links

Since its foundation, the university has fostered links with other educational bodies in the local community and region. For example, in recent years it has validated courses at and subsequently accredited Saint Mary's College (now an independent institution called St Mary's University College, Twickenham),[61] Wimbledon School of Art,[62] and Farnborough College of Technology.[63] The university currently validates courses at North East Surrey College of Technology (NESCOT), Guildford School of Acting, Guildford College of Further & Higher Education, King Edward VII Hospital Department of Staff Development, The Nuclear Department at HMS Sultan, St John's Seminary, Southern Theological Education & Training Scheme (STETS), the Pre-Retirement Association and SHL (UK) Ltd.[64]

In 1998, as a result of the continuing development in the relationship between the university and the nearby Roehampton Institute, it was decided to form an academic federation. In November 1999, the Privy Council approved the necessary changes to the university's Charter and Statutes and the Roehampton Institute became The University of Surrey Roehampton at the beginning of 2000. Between 2000 and 2004, the university and Roehampton worked together as the Federal University of Surrey.[65] In June 2004, the Privy Council granted Roehampton an independent university title, and it became Roehampton University from 1 August 2004. This move ended the federal partnership between the two institutions, although collaboration between the two is being maintained.[66]

In 2007, the university and Dongbei University of Finance and Economics in Dalian, China, launched the Surrey International Institute, DUFE.[67] The SII at DUFE offers Surrey degrees and dual-degree programmes in China.[7] A placement year link with University of North Carolina is currently being initiated in 2009, where each institution places students from the other with companies located nearby, in the South East of England and the Carolinas, respectively.

International partners

The university holds a number of formal links with institutions from around the world to share teaching and research and facilitate staff and student exchanges.

Global Partners

Surrey Sports Park

The Surrey Sports Park is situated close to the main University campus on its Manor Park site. It houses a 50-metre pool, three sports halls, a squash centre, 700 metres of fitness facilities, two artificial floodlit pitches, outdoor and indoor tennis courts, four real tennis courts and a climbing centre.[70]

The 1,000 seat indoor arena is home to Guildford Heat basketball team, who have been using the venue since 2010 following a move from their previous home at the Guildford Spectrum. Heat are one of the leading teams and former winners of the British Basketball League, the country's top division.

It played host to all but 4 matches of the 2010 Women's Rugby World Cup (the semi finals, 3rd place play off and final were held at the Twickenham Stoop). It is also the official training facility for Harlequins rugby club, with plans to add a private gym for the club in addition to the already available facilities.

It will also be the home ground of UniS Old Boys F.C., a football team for alumni of the university, which competes in the Surrey County Intermediate League (Western), at the 12th level of the English football league system.[71]

It is the home ground for the Surrey Spartans Hockey Club that competes in both the Men's and Ladies South Hockey Leagues. The team is predominantly made up of students and alumni of the university although is now attracting increasing numbers of public members.

Surrey University participates in an annual sports festival called the Varsity Games. The university competes against other institutions such as Royal Holloway University of London and Kingston University. Over the years, there has been stiff competition between Surrey and Kingston for the Varsity Cup, that has made both universities arch-rivals at the Games.[73]

Students' Union

The University of Surrey Students' Union is the sole representative body of Surrey students to the university. It consists of a membership department (representing students on academic and welfare issues, as well as administering sports clubs and societies) as well as a commercial department. The organisation is non-profit, meaning any takings from the Union's four commercial outlets are invested in supporting the membership side of the business.

The Union was incorporated as an independent charity in July 2011. It has a trustee board consisting of four external trustees, a member of University staff, a student trustee, and five full-time student sabbatical officers (President, VP Education, VP Welfare, VP Sports, VP Societies).

The Union hosts many Balls throughout the academic year. The Union ball is a formal event, where students are smartly dressed. There is a Winter Ball at the end of the Autumn term. The Ball season begins in the Summer term with the Colours Ball. Colours Ball is an event organised for all sports activities done at the university. It is done at the end of the sports season, where members of various sports' clubs are honoured for their contribution to Sports at Surrey. There is a break in the middle of the season for students to sit their final examinations. After the examinations, the season continues with events from several Union societies. The season ends with the Graduation Ball at the end of the year for the graduating class.

Former Presidents include Sir David Varney.


External links

  • Surrey Sports Park – official website
  • University of Surrey Students' Union – official website
  • Guildford School of Acting – official website
  • Brief History, a brief history of the University of Surrey.

Coordinates: 51°14′35″N 0°35′22″W / 51.24306°N 0.58944°W / 51.24306; -0.58944

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