The University of Exeter is a member of the Russell Group and a top UK research university.

Research and Impact Strategy

Exeter is the UK’s fastest growing and fastest rising research university and REF 2014 confirmed our status as a leading research intensive university. Set against this success, and completion of all of the goals set in the Research and Knowledge Transfer Strategy 2010-15, we are setting our sights on taking Exeter to new heights over the next five years, as a world-class research intensive institution aiming to build research power to tackle global challenges. 

Continuing to increase the quality and impact of our research is vital. We will achieve this by growing our academic community, and investing in new initiatives to create opportunities for researchers to excel in the global research field.

Download the full Research and Impact Strategy.pdf (login required)

How will we do this?

To enable this to happen we will:

We will set up a dynamic ideas-based Institute to bring together the best researchers, from across our disciplines and from around the world, to examine themes of major intellectual, scientific, political and practical significance. Through the creation of an Institute of Advanced Study, we will become a world centre for curiosity-driven ideas led by the next generation of world-leading researchers.

This will harness our academic community’s enthusiasm and energy by uniting around a single vision: for our research to deliver a better world by 2050. Global Vision 2050 will strengthen our global reputation, ensuring our research has a demonstrable international impact through collaboration with communities, external organisations, industry and global partners. Together we will combine education, research, engagement and action to help societies understand and find ways towards a sustainable, flourishing future, rich in human wellbeing, where we live within environmental limits.

We will further develop our Doctoral College as a vibrant research hub for our post-graduate research students and early career researchers. Through the college, we will provide training and support to our early career researchers so they can get on the funding and publication track as soon as possible. We will also encourage progression from post-graduate taught to PhD programmes through a range of funded scholarships. Linked with the Institute of Advanced Studies, the Doctoral College will become a powerful showcase of research excellence.

A world-class research environment is vital to maintain Exeter’s top 10 UK position and to achieve global top 100 status. It is important that the University continues to invest in scientific platform technologies, such as genome sequencing, high-performance computing and data storage. Such investment needs to be strategic and a roadmap will be developed to direct the provision of future large-scale infrastructure. 

We will also invest in the University Library to create a 21st century research resource. Exeter has one of the finest groupings of humanities and social science scholars anywhere in the UK. Our investment will provide access to necessary journals and datasets from around the world; specialist research collections and digital archives designed to meet the needs of world-leading researchers and drive new ways of publishing research.

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the key system for assessing the quality of research in UK Higher Education Institutions through a process of peer-review. It provides accountability for public investment in research, enables the allocation of flexible funding, and informs national rankings. 

The University of Exeter aims to be a broad-based research intensive university able to command a strong position in each of the next REF main panel areas. We plan to submit more than 1000 academics to the next REF, and our goal is to enhance our research performance across disciplines, growing our research power particularly in science and medicine.

Our new Innovation, Impact and Business Directorate enables the University’s world-class research and education to make a difference in society. You can find out more about how the Service can help with Impact development, connect partners, create opportunities and generate new value for academic teams. See more about the service on the Innovation, Impact and Business website.

We will promote research-inspired and inquiry-led learning by linking together our research and education strategies, allowing research and knowledge transfer to inform both our UG and PG education practice and providing opportunities for our students to get involved in research projects.

Who is leading the strategy?

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Impact, Professor Nick Talbot FRS led on the creation of the Research and Impact Strategy, along with significant input from the academic community. Nick will continue to work closely with our academic community to overseeing the future development and implementation of this strategy. 

The Director of Research, Drs. Astrid Wissenburg, is responsible for oversight and implementation of the strategy.

I would like to be more involved in the implementation of this strategy, who can I contact?


Doctoral College

Strategy strand: Develop our Doctoral College

Professor Michelle Ryan, Professor of Social and Organisational Psychology/ Dean of Postgraduate Research and Director of the University of Exeter Doctoral College
Emma Stephenson, Doctoral College Manager

Research Impact, Creation, and Evaluation

Strategy strand: Establish a new Innovation and Business Directorate

Professor Andy Jones, Associate Dean Research and Knowledge Transfer / Professor of Applied Physiology
Ruth Stansfield, Senior Commercial and Business Programmes Manager - Portfolio and Programmes
Claire Packman, Research Impact Manager

21st Century Library

Strategy strand: Invest in facilities and technologies

Professor Jane Whittle, Professor of History
Nela Kapelan, Research Development Manager - AHRC
Caroline Gale, Library Liaison Manager/Head of Subject Librarian Team

Institute of Advanced Studies

Strategy strand: Create an Institute of Advanced Study

Professor James Clark, Associate Dean for Research and Knowledge Transfer, Professor of History
Nela Kapelan, Research Development Manager - AHRC

Global Vision 2050

Strategy strand: Launch our Global Vision 2050

Professor Angela Shore, Vice-Dean (Research) and Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences
Dr Beccy Mitchell, Senior Impact and Partnership Development Manager – Environmental Themes
Dr Helen Butler, Research Development Manager – Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

Scientific Platform Technologies

Strategy strand: Invest in facilities and technologies 

Professor Alex Pavic, Professor of Vibration Engineering
Dr Andy Richards, Head of Research Development and Strategic Partnerships

Research-inspired, inquiry-led teaching

Strategy strand: Ensure our teaching is research inspired, enquiry-led

Professor Anne Barlow, Professor of Family Law and Policy: Associate Dean Research and Knowledge Transfer
Claire Packman, Research Impact Manager

Research Excellence Framework

Strategy strand: Submit at least 1000 academics to the next REF

Allison McCaig, Head of Research Performance, Impact and Integrity