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From its campuses in Devon and Cornwall, and through partnerships around the world the University of Exeter is delivering solutions that protect and restore our planet, prevent illness and improve wellbeing and tackle issues such as social mobility and domestic violence. 

University of Exeter puts climate emergency, healthcare and social justice at heart of new ten year strategy

The University of Exeter has today launched a new ten year strategy setting out how it will use the power of its education, research and partnerships to address the major challenges of our time – climate change, healthcare provision and social justice.

The University is home to the UK’s 5 most influential climate scientists, and Exeter houses more of the world’s top 100 climate scientists than anywhere else in the world*. A global top 150 University, Exeter is also home to over 1000 researchers in environment, data science and computing; it leads the way in areas such as dementia, diabetes and the impact of the environment on human health; and is known for outstanding arts, humanities and social science expertise that enhances lives and knowledge around the world.

Through partnerships regionally, nationally and internationally, the University will combine its expertise, skills and talents to focus on being a force for good in three priority areas:

  • The climate emergency and ecological crisis
  • Breakthroughs that transform human health and wellbeing
  • Creating a fair, socially just and inclusive society.

From its campuses in Devon and Cornwall, and through partnerships around the world the University of Exeter is delivering solutions that protect and restore our planet, prevent illness and improve wellbeing and tackle issues such as social mobility and domestic violence. The University of Exeter is committed to working with governments, businesses and communities to create system change.

The University has grown significantly in recent years and in the decade ahead will focus on widening access to higher education to people from all backgrounds and ages, supporting lifelong learning and adaptation to the jobs of the future. The University will invest in digital skills and is a key partner in the new South West Institute of Technology. It will support more degree apprenticeships and short courses to enable more people to learn while they work. A new Exeter Education Innovation Institute will keep the University at the forefront of teaching and learning excellence as well as preparing Exeter graduates to be the leaders of tomorrow.

In the South-West region, the University of Exeter will work with partners to help businesses innovate, grow and adapt, with an ambition to create a ‘Net Zero Plus Innovation Hub’ to support organisations in the race to net zero, clean growth and nature recovery. The University’s work with partners like the Met Office and World Health Organisation make it a world-leader in Environmental Intelligence which will increasingly become business critical for many sectors in adapting to climate change, including energy, transportation, agriculture, critical infrastructure, telecommunications and healthcare.

In Exeter, the St Luke’s Campus will prioritise health and wellbeing innovation, scaling up biomedical and clinical research power as well as training the doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals of the future. The University will further invest in its Cornwall campuses and operations to enhance education, skills and healthcare services as well as support sustainable economic growth in the region alongside Cornwall Council and local partners. The University will imminently sign a series of Civic University Agreements to set out its role and commitment to work together with regional partners to overcome the major social, economic and environmental challenges in south-west England. A recent report by Frontier Economics found that universities in the South West of England are critical to their communities and currently contribute £9.2 billion to the economy and support 85,000 jobs.   

The University of Exeter Vice-Chancellor, Professor Lisa Roberts who started in the role in September 2020 said on the launch of the strategy:

“Universities must play a central role in shaping a better future as we face up to the biggest societal challenges since the Second World War. The COVID-19 pandemic, a climate emergency, Brexit and an increasingly technologically advanced and connected world is changing the fabric of our society. Through education, research and partnerships, the University of Exeter is determined to use its expertise to improve lives and support communities build a sustainable, healthy and socially just future.

“In the decade to 2030, we must address irreversible environmental damage, increasing societal and international division, and a crises in healthcare provision and mental health following a global pandemic. I strongly believe that universities like Exeter, who are at the heart of their communities but with global connections, can help transform communities and deliver the solutions we need through education, science and genuine expertise. 

“In the next ten years, we plan to build on our strengths in priority areas where we can make the most difference to society. The University of Exeter is a powerhouse of education and research and we plan to use that power to benefit far more people in the world, opening up opportunity and possibility as never before. Partnership and inclusion will be at the heart of everything we do, working with governments, councils, businesses and communities to build the greener, healthier and fairer future we all want to see.”  

The University of Exeter 2030 strategy was developed in partnership with students, staff, alumni and a wide range of stakeholders locally, national and internationally with over 85,000 contributions. You can read the full strategy on the University of Exeter website.

*Reuters Hot List of most influential climate scientists

Date: 4 October 2021

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