The PIEoneer Awards

The PIEoneer Awards are the only global awards that celebrate innovation and achievement across the whole of the international education industry. 

With a distinguished judging panel representing geographical and professional diversity, The PIEoneer Awards recognise both individuals and organisations who are pushing professional standards, evolving their engagement or redefining the international student experience.  

2021 is the fifth year the awards have run. Entries will open on 22nd February 2021. To register your interest in entering or sponsoring the 2021 awards, please fill out your details here. 

We are planning on holding the awards as an in-person event on Friday 3rd September at London's historic Guildhall, with a virtual element included for those that can't travel. 

Watch our 2020 highlights video here

Award Categories

Accommodation provider of the year

This award is applicable to any type of accommodation provider who houses international students. The key to winning this award will be to demonstrate a pro-active effort to provide services that are specifically designed for or oriented to an international student audience. How do you ensure there is appropriate provision for international students from a range of nationalities and with varying needs? What considerations do you make for the social life of international students, how do you listen to students’ feedback and understand what they want? How do you prioritise student welfare, support student learning, or encourage cross-cultural integration? As accommodation is becoming as competitive and wide-ranging as the education sector it supports, we’re keen to honour those who can show high levels of international student satisfaction.

This category is now closed

Association of the year

What makes you, as an association, vital to your membership? Is your advocacy action gaining traction? Do you represent and campaign for a collection of companies or organisations that would otherwise be un-unified and unrepresented? What have you achieved for your members, in terms of cohesion, engagement with students, with government or the general public? We’d like to hear about much of the commendable (and often, unpaid) work that happens within associations to augment the interests of their members which operate in the international education industry. 

This category is now closed

Championing diversity award

International education and study abroad experiences can be life-changing but also expensive. How does your organisation help to encourage students from backgrounds that are traditionally less likely to lead to study abroad participation? Do you have a scholarship scheme? Do you encourage ethnic minorities to study abroad? What about families from financially disadvantaged backgrounds, or refugee students whose lives are on hold while they live in an unfamiliar country? We are keen to hear about successes in widening participation and diversity that organisations involved with international education have achieved.

This category is now closed

Digital innovation of the year - technology

We're keen to hear how a new digital innovation is solving a problem faced by professionals working within the international education sector. This might be using software to better identify international students who need extra support, or to reach and identify potential students in their own country while they are considering their study options. There are many more examples though and we look forward to hearing about them.

This category is now closed

Digital innovation of the year - learning

Using technology to lead learning, or implementing online or blended modules, can have a significant impact on the way teachers teach and students learn. We'd like to uncover innovative uses of technology that have a clear success story of their impact on international students of any age.

This category is now closed

Employability international impact award

Students study for a multitude of reasons, but one overriding factor as to why students choose to undertake an international study experience is to improve their long-term employment prospects. In this category, we want to hear from organisations at any level who are proactively changing what and how they teach their students, to ensure they have a genuinely improved chance of finding and securing meaningful employment post-graduation.

This category is now closed

Education agency of the year

Education agencies are a vital part of the international education industry and essential partners to educators, reporting on local student trends and market factors quickly, and helping shape the evolving international education market. Many are run by innovative business people who have evolved to offer language testing, visa counselling, study abroad fairs and non-education related travel advice and products. 

This category is an opportunity for agencies to submit their own entry, or for schools, colleges and universities to nominate an agent partner for the award. 

We want to hear about exceptional service, innovative collaborative campaigns or beyond-the-call-of-duty support for student clients. Other ideas for nomination-worthy agencies include those trying new ideas to recruit students in a depressed market, or those building productive relations within their domestic agency industry or with embassies in their country. Expansion into new territories or new product lines will also be considered as innovative.

This category is now closed

International alumni of the year

There are many great examples of international students who have made a huge contribution to either their institution and/or the wider community in which they live. We’d like to hear examples of super assimilation and inspiring achievement. The award will be presented to the host institution of the student if they are not able to attend our awards event in person. Alumni must have graduated from 2016 onwards. 
This category is now closed

Language educator of the year

In this category we want to hear from language providers around the world who are going the extra mile to provide international students with a stand-out experience, whether they are studying for one week or one year. How do you ensure students are engaged and motivated for the duration of their course? How do you tailor your provision so that students have support that is specific to them? Do you facilitate interactions with your local community so students gain confidence speaking to people outside of your institution? Even if you have a limited budget available to develop course materials or invest in your facilities, we want to hear about how you are innovating the student experience to deliver an exceptional level of service to your students, so that they develop their language skills alongside becoming confident communicators. 

This category is now closed

Marketing campaign of the year

We would like to hear about inventive and inspirational marketing campaigns from across the international education sector, that deserve recognition for their reach, success, message or impact. Campaigns can have been run by any type of organisation operating in the industry, such as education providers, agencies, or a service provider offering support to the sector via language testing, housing support or insurance for example. We will take into consideration the success of the campaign within the context of budget and other resources available.

This category is now closed

Outstanding contribution to the industry

In this category, we accept nominations on behalf of others. We are looking for nominated individuals who have helped evolve or shape the international education sector in a significant way. They do not have to have worked in the industry for a minimum period, but their influence in the field and how the international education industry has developed as a result of their work must be clearly evidenced.

This category is now closed

PIEoneer of the year

This award is open to both organisations and individuals who can demonstrate their commitment to improving some facet of the international education industry. This could be: a new program, service, charitable mission, agent relations, quality accreditation, marketing, teaching, social engagement, visa advice, widening participation, recruitment or retention achievement, career planning etc. There is no timeframe around this award, it can be awarded to an organisation or person who has been working on their nominated project, business or idea for more than one year. Entrants in other categories can enter this category, which is considered the ‘crowning achievement’ award, if they believe their entry demonstrates genuine change and innovation that can impact the wider industry. 

This category is now closed

Progressive education delivery award

How does the way you teach work? How do you ensure your students significantly gain in confidence in speaking a new language and have a workable language use, rather than just learning to pass a test? How do you ensure your pathway program prepares your students for success: not just matriculation to a degree program, but for a rewarding degree education that they fully profit from and succeed at? And at any education level, have you developed a program that is brave, different, and focused on the student’s life journey in the 21st century? In this category, we’re keen to hear from educators that believe they offer something that is unique, important or successful in their approach to teaching. 

This category is now closed

Public / private partnership of the year

Public/private partnerships have been one of the defining trends of the last decade, with assets such as recruitment expertise or tech capabilities around remote delivery of education making private sector operators strong partners for universities and colleges, which are seeking to expand and innovate, and may wish to leverage the expertise of private companies. Some partnerships take more subtle forms, such as market-entry facilitation via a specialist company or the white labelled outsourcing of accommodation or conversion activity. We’re keen to hear about some of the many successful partnerships and their achievements that occurred between 1st January - 31st December 2019.

This category is now closed

Real life learning award

In this category we’d like to hear from organisations who offer real life learning programs or products overseas, comprising for example a short-term study abroad program with an outside classroom element; volunteering program or internship. How do you approach the placement of students to ensure a good fit on both sides? How do you go the extra mile to ensure students are well-supported throughout their program and once it finishes? What positive impact does the program or product have on the local community or organisation where the student is placed? As increasing numbers of students are seeking learning experiences that take place beyond a classroom, we are keen to hear about the innovative work being done in this sector of the industry.  

This category is now closed

Secondary learning international impact award

This is a chance for K-12 or secondary educators, who specifically serve the 11-18 year old age range, to showcase the work you're doing to support your international student body. Any type of institution teaching 11-18 year olds is welcome to enter, as long as you have a minimum 10% students whose parents primarily reside overseas or who would be considered expats in-country. We want to hear about how you’re innovating the delivery of learning and support of international students to ensure their experience is first-rate, and that they leave your establishment ready for further education or the world of work as global citizens.

This category is now closed

Student support award

What has your company or institution set in place to ensure that international students feel welcomed, integrate with students from nationalities other than their own, or with domestic students, and are able to assimilate successfully? Lunch clubs, education programming that necessitates co-working with partners, SMS helplines, specific activities for international students such as away-days, Meet-the-Mayor initiatives, mentoring, buddy-systems. There are a myriad of initiatives around the world and we would love to hear about the success of yours in this category. You don’t have to be an educational institution but you have to have developed a product or service that is primarily targeted at international students.

This category is now closed

Sustainability international impact award

International education as an industry inherently involves many activities that impact negatively on the environment. Now that climate change and sustainability are at the forefront of everyone’s minds, we are keen to recognise organisations working in our sector that are proactively making positive changes to reduce the impact of their international operation on a global and/or local scale.

This category is now closed

2020 Judges

The PIEoneer Awards 2020

The PIEoneer Awards 2020 will be held online on Friday 2nd October