Research priorities

Our distinctive and innovative research will be world-leading and world-changing. We will produce the highest quality research to drive intellectual advances and address global challenges.

Research TEST

Priority #1: Excellence

We will enable and actively promote a culture of research excellence across our University community, delivering internationally recognised output quality supported by sector-leading research income and facilities. 

We will:

  • Drive forward our distinctive and high-quality research capability to ensure we are well positioned to exploit emerging and future research opportunities. We will capitalise on our disciplinary excellence and foster novel ways of working across disciplines.  
  • Develop outstanding research environments that deliver fundamental discoveries, and, in collaboration with our knowledge exchange and innovation activity, enable demonstrable research impact.
  • Identify areas of potential and invest in them, and in their research leadership and facilities. For areas where we can improve, we will put in place the support required to achieve our ambitions. 
  • Build world-leading research centres and institutes by targeting resources in areas of real strength and future opportunity.
  • Develop strategic partnerships with other institutions that add value and are aligned to our areas of research strength. We will focus on regional, national and global partnerships where our research expertise will support new funding opportunities, influence the research agenda and deliver impact.  
  • Confidently champion our areas of research strength and promote them internally and externally, informing our curriculum and enhancing our reputation for research excellence.
  • Create a research culture that values a range of contributions and delivers the highest standards and best practice in research integrity and ethics. We will adhere to the FAIR principles to the benefit of society (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable).
  • Provide the research expertise, facilities and environment that will make us an attractive institution for early career researchers and independent fellows. As signatories of the Researcher Development Concordat, we will commit to mentoring, supporting and training the research leaders of the future. 

Examples of this in action:

Priority #2: Postgraduate Research Students

Our research excellence, innovative training, and commitment to researcher development and wellbeing will make us the institution of choice for Postgraduate Research Students (PGRs). 

We will:

  • Recognise PGRs as a vibrant, core part of our research community and integral to our research excellence, ensuring that they feel valued, supported and have a strong sense of belonging. 
  • Enhance the PGR experience and offer them an innovative and intellectual environment in which they can thrive, make the best possible contribution to our research agenda, and which prepares them for a range of career possibilities.
  • Champion the value of innovation, knowledge exchange, and research impact as part of the PGR experience, in training that develops disciplinary depth but recognises the value of collaborative interdisciplinary approaches in delivering solutions to global challenges. 
  • Clearly define the essential criteria and competencies required to achieve a PhD by building on the recent review of our provision.
  • Ensure that a greater proportion of our PGR community are funded in a way that enables them to submit their thesis during the funded period.
  • Provide exceptional support and development opportunities to our PGR community and their supervisors, including training in best practise for supervisors and applying this consistently across the institution. 
  • Recruit the most able PGR students, raising the quality of our recruitment experience. Our PGR recruitment strategy will be aligned with our research strengths and demonstrate our commitment to meeting the needs of students and equipping them to obtain the maximum benefit from access to our world-class research expertise and facilities.
  • Increase the diversity of our PGR community, widening participation and recruiting a broad range of individuals, ensuring we develop their potential to undertake excellent research and provide them with the opportunity to flourish.

Our vision

We are the University of Sheffield. And this is our vision.