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Our strategies

Our mission is to make the exceptional happen by challenging traditional thinking and defying conventional boundaries.

Our Strategy, Making the exceptional happen 2016 - 2021, establishes how we will work towards achieving our mission and lay the foundations for our future success as a Global 100 research leader. 

» Visit the Our Strategy website to find out more

A number of strategies underpin and support Our Strategy. These supporting strategies outline how we will deliver world-class research and teaching, extend our international influence, enrich our students’ experience and invest in our estate, facilities and infrastructure.

Supporting strategies

To support the achievement of Our Strategy 2016-2021, we have a series of key supporting strategies, known as our sovereign strategies. These sovereign strategies lead and direct our core activities to achieve our vision for the University.

Research and Impact Strategy 2015 - 2020

Building upon Exeter’s success in the Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF2014), our Research and Impact Strategy 2015-2020, aims to increase our research volume, quality and impact across our disciplines. It sets out how we will enhance our research environment, growing our academic community, and investing in new initiatives such as the Global Vision 2050 Project and the Global Systems Institute, to create opportunities for researchers to excel in the global research field.

Education Strategy 2019 – 2025

The Education Strategy details how we will deliver an internationally exceptional educational experience for our students and enable them to make a positive difference in the world. We will deliver this through the provision of research-inspired learning, the development of employability, empowering and engaging learners, and multi-disciplinary learning.

Global Strategy 2018 - 2022

The overarching aim of the Global Strategy 2018-2022 is to raise the University’s international reputation and achieve our aim of becoming a sustainable Global 100 research institution. The strategy defines how we will create a global culture and broaden excellence across our research and education – it supports all our strategies; Our Strategy, sovereign and enabling strategies, all of which depend in part upon how global we are as an institution.

Our sovereign strategies are underpinned by a platform of enabling strategies. These enabling strategies focus on creating the capability, scale, organisational excellence, facilities, resources and reputation that are critical for success.

Our People Strategy 2016 - 2021 (Attract, Perform, Retain)

Our People Strategy 2016-2021, seeks to support the University by attracting, developing and retaining a talented and diverse workforce from around the globe. The strategy outlines six themes which together will help to secure our position as a high-performing global institution and enhance the global reputation of the University internally and externally as a good employer.

Capital Strategy 2016 - 2021

The University's Capital Strategy outlines our commitment to invest £428.5m in our estate, facilities and infrastructure over the next ten years as long as we meet the planned financial savings targets we have set ourselves. The strategy sets out the capital programme of work to be undertaken in this period and is supported by an Estates Strategy that details the development of our estate and buildings, IT infrastructure, equipment, and funding for risks and opportunities. 

Business Engagement Strategy 2017-22 

The University seeks to build exceptional partnerships through our Business Engagement Strategy. We work collaboratively with industry on research and development, enable organisations to recruit and train talented staff, and drive a thriving innovation eco-system in the South West.

Regional Skills Strategy

The Regional Skills Strategy is being produced in recognition of the important role that the University plays in the local economies of Devon and Cornwall. The strategy will include the University’s approach to widening participation in the region, degree apprenticeships to support strategically important sectors, graduate employability opportunities in the region, student entrepreneurship and continuing professional development.


The University has a range of strategies and policies in place to support our environmental sustainability. Our Environmental Sustainability Strategy, Sustainable Travel Plan and Low Carbon Commitment Strategy outline the University’s environmental objectives.

Humanities and Social Science Strategy

Our Humanities and Social Science (HASS) Strategy builds on our research excellence to combine six interdisciplinary themes that are challenging and innovative. They are all priority research areas where the University can demonstrate world-leading excellence. The themes address major global challenges and are closely linked to the priorities of major UK and international funding bodies.

Arts and Culture Strategy

The Arts and Culture Strategy aims to activate creativity across the University. By providing time and space for provocative and purposeful engagement across and between different disciplines, places and audiences, its purpose is to stimulate new approaches to research and enhance the student experience, whilst playing a leading role in the social, cultural and economic development of the South West region and beyond. Find out more at the University’s Arts and Culture website.