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A note about applications in 2024

Due to the number of applications we have received last year, and the very limited capacity of the part-time Universities of Sanctuary coordinator, we are no longer accepting any new University of Sanctuary applications until the new academic year, when we will be implementing application cohorts and a new staggered application process. This process will start in September 2024 – information about this will be circulated during the summer semester. This is to help us complete ongoing appraisals, as well as manage and re-accredit existing universities that are due to renew their award before we can welcome applications from new universities. 

We appreciate your ongoing patience and understanding. If you have any questions about this please contact us at [email protected].

The Application


Pledge your commitment to work towards the values and principles of the City of Sanctuary charter by signing up as a Supporting Organisation. The award is a whole-university initiative, so securing leadership support at this stage is helpful.


Sign up to the regular Universities of Sanctuary newsletter to hear the latest updates from our network, learn about upcoming events and trainings, see job opportunities and more! Read and review the resource pack and the guidance document for ideas and inspiration. Sign up to our JISC email list for universities of sanctuary, HE practitioners, students and individuals interested in the network to share information about best practice, upcoming events and new resources, as well as ask any questions.


Undertake an audit of what the university has done to date to meet the award criteria. Each university will have varying needs and priorities but take time to map positive initiatives and already existing relationships with community and support organisations.


Produce a plan (with support of local group) using the process of LEARN, EMBED, SHARE. Include how you plan to incorporate the City of Sanctuary network principles (where applicable) within the organisation and what can be appropriately embedded within your context. Create a plan to fulfil or develop outstanding criteria. Consider linking this to, or embedding the plan into university development plans or strategies. 


At the application deadline, submit a written application for an award using this Application Form. Please send the application to the Universities of Sanctuary coordinator at [email protected]. (Please note we are not currently accepting further applications during this academic year – sign the pledge and subscribe to our newsletter to be notified about the next application opportunities).

The Appraisal

STEP 6 – Your application will be appraised by a panel which will normally include as a minimum, a local member of a local City of Sanctuary group, a person with lived experience of seeking sanctuary, a member of the national University of Sanctuary steering group, and a representative from an accredited university. The panel may request a visit as part of the appraisal, and will usually require a conversation between key members of staff, students and partners.

STEP 7 – Once the award is agreed, ensure the award fee* is transferred to City of Sanctuary UK. As soon as the fee has been received, plans can be made for the award presentation and you will receive the University of Sanctuary certificate and logo. We encourage you to plan a celebratory event and engage with the media to celebrate your achievement.

STEP 8 –The conversations begun during appraisal will continue between the awarded university, local group, and the University of Sanctuary coordinator. This informs a review every three years, and as a way to stimulate further development of sanctuary work across the University.


Case studies

We welcome case studies to use as guidance and inspiration for others around the UK applying for Sanctuary Awards. If you would like to submit a case study, please use this form.


Accreditation is valid for three years. An accreditation fee* is applicable. The fee can be paid in one sum or in three annual installments. Following the three years, a review and re-accreditation fee is applicable. For more information about the accreditation fee, please click here.

Please contact [email protected] for information regarding the fee and payment options. In situations where difficulties arise and adjustments to fees may be required, each request will be assessed on its own merits by the University of Sanctuary Steering Group.