Building research power to tackle global challenges


Our world faces many challenges. These challenges include improving health, securing our food and water supplies, and making a positive impact upon environmental changes, global conflicts and terrorism. World-class research can make real inroads into finding solutions for these and other issues.

Exeter already has a strong track record in delivering excellent research across all disciplines with 98 per cent of our research being assessed as of international quality in the most recent industry-recognised analysis, the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF).

We believe in looking at new ways of carrying out research, such as bringing together academics from all subject areas to tackle a problem in the round; known as interdisciplinary research. For example, understanding the role of communities in tackling environmental issues alongside engineering, policy and/or economic solutions.

Our ambition is to generate research power; to build up our already strong research teams by increasing their numbers and the collaborations we have with other organisations around the world.

We will achieve this by:

  • Increasing the number of academics, particularly within science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. We will continue to develop partnerships with other organisations around the world across all our disciplines;
  • Continuing to build interdisciplinary research to tackle the most urgent problems of the 21st century. Our innovative Living Systems Institute and Environment and Sustainability Institute will lead the way;
  • Creating a new Institute for Advanced Study. The job of its researchers will be to pioneer creative, innovative approaches to help build Exeter’s international reputation;
  • Demonstrating through a project called Global Vision 2050, our long-term commitment to solving the challenges of environmental change from a scientific, societal and cultural perspective;
  • Working closely with other academics, business and industry experts across the globe to deliver research which has value and impact.
  • Investing in state-of-the-art specialist buildings and equipment. We will create world-class new facilities for Digital Humanities, our special collections and digital library resources;
  • Creating a vibrant, supportive culture for the next generation of leading researchers, led by the Exeter Doctoral College;
  • Giving students more opportunities to carry out their own ground-breaking research and work alongside world-leading academics

We’ll know if we’ve succeeded by:

  • By the end of 2020, we will be recognised as a world leading university for research and will be consistently ranked within the top 15 UK Higher Education Institutions within the global league tables;
  • Putting forward at least 1000 colleagues to the next REF exercise, with high levels of internationally excellent and world leading research and impact;
  • Growing the number of postgraduate researchers and achieving satisfaction levels higher than the Russell Group average in the Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES).

Supporting strategies

  • Research and Impact Strategy
  • Humanities and Social Science Strategy