University unveils new research flagships to tackle biggest global challenges

  • Sheffield has a longstanding and world-leading reputation for research excellence which helps to influence policy and change lives.
  • The four new multidisciplinary research flagships focus on the most urgent challenges facing humanity today including; clean energy generation, sustainable food, improving health and quality of life.

The University of Sheffield has launched four flagship research institutes which will address some of the biggest global problems through pioneering real-world solutions.

Sheffield has a longstanding and world-leading reputation for research excellence which helps to influence policy and change lives.

The four new multidisciplinary research flagships focus on the most urgent challenges facing humanity today including; clean energy generation, sustainable food, improving health and quality of life.

Professor Dave Petley, Vice-President for Research, at the University of Sheffield, said: “We have a bold and ambitious vision for our new research institutes. By working together across the traditional boundaries of our research fields we can solve some of the most pressing social, economic and health challenges facing society today.

"I am proud of the work we do at Sheffield and I hope we can capture Sheffield’s collegiate spirit and culture in our research by working together.”

The University of Sheffield’s Energy Institute, Healthy Lifespan Institute, Neuroscience Institute and the Institute for Sustainable Food will bring together multidisciplinary teams of researchers who are passionate and focused on making a difference through real-life impact.


The Energy Institute is finding low-carbon solutions to the world’s biggest energy challenges. Home to more than 300 of the best minds in energy research from around the world, the institute is one of the largest research teams in Europe focusing on energy storage, circular economy, nuclear, wind power and conventional power.

At the Healthy Lifespan Institute medical and social experts will tackle the rapidly increasing global epidemic of multimorbidity – the presence of two or more chronic conditions. More than 130 experts from across the University will combine medical approaches with evidence-based social policy to develop and promote strategies on improving health by preventing multimorbidity and age-related frailty across the life course.

The Neuroscience Institute aims to harness advances in neuroscience and improve the lives of patients and families affected by devastating disorders of the nervous system including motor neurone disease, Alzheimer’s disease, chronic pain and stroke. To deepen our understanding of function and dysfunction of the nervous system, the institute will support over 100 neuroscientists and their teams in translational neuroscience, computational and systems neuroscience and sensory and developmental neuroscience.

Creating dynamic solutions to the challenges of food security and sustainability is the key vision of the Institute for Sustainable Food. The institute’s innovative research from more than 100 leading minds will draw on the fields of science, engineering, social sciences, and arts and humanities, focusing on plant production and protection, translational and transformative research, and food consumption, health and sustainability.


We have a bold and ambitious vision for our new research institutes. By working together across the traditional boundaries of our research fields we can solve some of the most pressing social, economic and health challenges facing society today.

Professor Dave Petley, Vice-President for Research

The research flagships cross the boundaries of academic disciplines, and connect a wealth of internationally recognised expertise with state-of-the-art research facilities - all with the vision to make change happen.

Each flagship has existing and strong links in each of their fields - with industry, government, people directly affected by the issues, and other experts across the globe.

Professor Koen Lamberts, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “The University of Sheffield delivers exceptional research across many areas of global importance.

“These multidisciplinary flagships will bring together expertise from across all faculties to focus on translational research and delivering real-world solutions to some of the biggest global challenges.

“The individual institutes will tackle the global epidemic of multimorbidity; develop affordable and clean energy that is safe and sustainable; improve the lives of patients and families affected by devastating neurological disorders; and create new solutions to sustain and improve the world’s future food supplies.

“The new flagships are a key opportunity to gain more recognition for our world-leading research strengths.”

The University of Sheffield's research flagships

Additional information

The University of Sheffield
With almost 29,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2018 and for the last eight years has been ranked in the top five UK universities for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

Contact

For further information please contact:

Amy Huxtable
Media Relations Officer
The University of Sheffield
0114 222 9859
a.l.huxtable@sheffield.ac.uk