Internationally-leading research

Challenging conventional wisdom has been fundamental to the University’s ethos for over 200 years.

Today our research activity continues to be of central importance in everything we do – informing our teaching and enabling us to translate outcomes for the benefit of business, industry and society as a whole. In keeping with our reputation and status as a leading international technological University, we are continually advancing the intensity, quality and international competitiveness of our research.

We will achieve our strategic objectives by increasing our research intensity in all areas and creating and adopting innovative approaches to connect high-quality fundamental research to outcomes that have impact in contemporary global society and industry. Firmly positioned among the leading research-intensive universities in the UK*, we will maintain a strategic focus on our major research themes, making significant contributions towards improving health, transforming energy, setting new standards in manufacturing, and shaping future cities.

* We are in the UK’s top 20 universities for research intensity according to the Times Higher Education’s analysis of REF2014.

"Our distinctive mission and emphasis on joint-working with industry, government and international partners are exemplified by our current and growing range of unique research collaborations."

Reflecting the essential human and social dimensions of our purpose as ‘the place of useful learning’, we will also focus our research efforts on the systems, institutions, cultures and behaviours that shape and give meaning to people’s lives. In this way, we will continue to contribute to the global advancement of knowledge about people and their societies and improve and enrich the human experience in our highly technological age.

Our distinctive mission and emphasis on joint-working with industry, government and international partners are exemplified by our current and growing range of unique research collaborations. These innovative initiatives underline our status as a leading international technological university and are set to double in scope over the next decade, contributing £1.4 billion to the Scottish economy by 2021/22.

We will strengthen our strategic focus on collaborative research by actively pursuing and developing further collaborative opportunities with leading academic, business, government and third sector partners.

Continuing to enhance the quality of our research outputs is crucial to our success. With this in mind, we will prioritise efforts and pursue appropriate strategies to improve our performance in key citation metrics over the next five years. This will ensure that the new knowledge we generate has maximum impact by reaching the widest possible audience, delivering important reputational benefits and clearly demonstrating the quality and value of our research to potential partners and funders.

We have rightly set ourselves challenging targets – the recruitment and retention of outstanding staff and aspiring students are vital to the achievement of our ambitions. We will maintain and enhance an excellent research culture and environment that attracts high-calibre staff, researchers and students.

To support our objectives of high-quality research and increased research intensity, we will provide seamless, useful and relevant researcher development opportunities in order to grow and support our current and future research talent.

Objectives Strategies
What do we want to achieve? How will we do it?
  • High-quality research
  • Increased research intensity
  • A critical mass of well-trained researchers
  • Focus on agreed major research themes
  • Maximise the impact and value of our research across all areas
  • Grow our population of high-quality postgraduate researchers (PGRs)
  • Enhance researcher development training provision for research staff and students
  • Build our research collaborations with leading academic partners, business, government and the third sector
Key Performance IndicatorsCurrent PerformanceTargets
How will we measure progress? What is our baseline What are our ambitions

6. Total competitively won research income (spend)

£52 million Increase to £70 million by 2020
7. Field-weighted citation impact: the number of citations our publications 
receive compared to the world average for comparable publications
39% greater than the world average Achieve an overall citation rate 50% greater than the world average by 2020
8. Total PGR population 1,135 FTE Increase to 1,750 FTE by 2020

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