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Nick Clegg said he was "proud" of the resolve his party had shown since it joined the Coalition two and a half years ago.
He added: "We’ve had some real disappointments:tough election results, a bruising referendum, my song not making it into the top ten.
"But through it all, we have remained focused, determined, disciplined. It hasn’t always been easy, and, when we’ve made mistakes, we’ve put our hands up. But we’ve stuck to our task – and to the Coalition Agreement – even as others have wavered."
Nick Clegg described the Liberal Democrats as the "party of education" during his keynote speech.
Hailing a series of successes in securing Lib Dem-inspired policies, he announced that the latest was a £50 million-a-year "catch-up premium" for extra tuition for pupils failing to make the grade in English and maths.
Nick Clegg pledged to block any Tory bid to further reduce the top rate of income tax, following controversy over his acceptance of a cut from 50p to 45p.
Nick Clegg warned the Liberal Democrat Party conference there is "no silver bullet that will instantly solve all our economic problems".
He said the journey from austerity to prosperity begins with economic rescue, dealing with debts and delivering growth.
Nick Clegg has opened his keynote speech remarking on the difference between the Olympic Games this summer and the riots in London the year before.
He paid tribute to the founder of the family-run Reeves furniture shop in Croydon, 81 year-old man called Maurice Reeves, which burnt down in the riots.
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has arrived on stage to deliver his keynote speech at the party's conference in Brighton.
The Deputy Prime Minister is due to begin speaking just after 3pm. He is expected to warn against a return to the "comfort zone" of being a party of opposition. He will also set out his vision of the party's future beyond the 2015 general election.
In an interview with regional newspapers ahead of his speech, Nick Clegg urged people interested only in "protest politics" to vote Labour.
Latest ITV News reports
Ten things we learnt from the Deputy Prime Minister's keynote speech at the Liberal Democrat party conference.
The central theme of Nick Clegg's speech was that he and his colleagues are the moderators in a government dominated by Conservatives.