Criteria for University Research Centres

The University Executive Board have agreed a process and criteria to identify, or establish new, cross-faculty University Research Centres.


Beyond external funding awards, high quality outputs and impact and PGR supervision, the hallmarks of effective research institutes and centres are:

  • Additionality - able to deliver activity which would not happen without it. This added value could take the form of generation of new collaborations or partnerships, increased income, research outputs or impact beyond what individual PIs or research groups can achieve. They should enable adaptability and/or agility, allowing them to respond to opportunities not accessible to an academic department on its own, such as those requiring interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • Critical mass and long-term sustainability - clear aims and objectives with plans to support them, with a view to both financial and intellectual viability. This requires evidence of an effective staffing strategy with a critical mass of engaged researchers willing to make a substantive intellectual contribution, which is likely to be additional to their substantive role, and a robust strategy for medium and long term evolution.
  • Effective leadership - is critical to success but should consider succession planning and guard against being so dependent on one individual as to endanger longer-term sustainability. This leadership should be ‘generous’, valuing the careers of others, supporting achievement and engagement from a range of career stages.
  • External recognition - with esteem based on an evidential track record of intellectual advances, added value and academic excellence. 

Faculty Directors of Research & Innovation and Faculty Vice Presidents have oversight of the creation,  objective setting and monitoring, support for and closing of faculty research centres, as well as any which operate within departments. They will undertake periodic assessments to ensure they are delivering against their plans and in line with the criteria set out here.

Proposals to establish a new cross-faculty University Research Centre will be made by the relevant FDRIs to the VP(R&I), will be peer-reviewed by Vice-President’s Strategy group before seeking approval from the Research and Innovation Committee.

Once established URCs will be reviewed at the midpoint and endpoint of each five year period of any agreed institutional support.