Research Strategy 2016—2021

Our Vision in Research

Our vision is to be recognised across the world as a University that addresses the needs of society through innovative interdisciplinary research and by sharing our knowledge with the world.

We strongly believe that the most effective universities are those that embrace a strong research ethos benchmarked against international standards.

There is a direct connection between research and excellence in learning and teaching. The best educators are more often men and women who are working at the frontiers of knowledge in their subject areas.

 Ground-breaking research is one of the ways we make an impact on society at home and abroad. It is central to our mission. It allows us to shape the future, impacting on people’s health, education and well-being; allowing people to better understand and engage with the world around them; and providing opportunities to create wealth and stimulate growth.

Academically, it gives us global reputational reach and connectivity, improves our ability to attract the highest-quality staff, and helps us inspire our students.

This in turn has a direct impact on our ability to achieve income growth targets from research, knowledge exchange and student recruitment activities.

Our Strategic Actions in Research

To achieve our research objectives, we will:


  • Collaborating with business and industry, other universities and the public sector to ensure our research directly benefits society, nationally and internationally.
  • Extending and strengthening our research partnerships and collaborations, nationally and internationally.
  • Ensuring our research contributes to economic, social and cultural growth and gains the recognition it merits.
  • Transferring knowledge by maintaining a culture of openness and accessibility. 


  • Utilising our established interdisciplinary focus to address real-world problems and find creative solutions.
  • Promoting the impact of our research on society and the economy.
  • Supporting the commercialisation of research and building our reputation for applied research.
  • Using our research profile to support curriculum development, ensuring our learning and teaching is informed by current and new knowledge.


  • Building on the success of REF2014 and expanding our current levels of research activity.
  • Developing and enhancing research leadership across all academic areas by creating an ethos that encourages personal development, interdisciplinary work, and mentoring.
  • Nurturing a culture of success by developing our research talent and providing an environment in which early career researchers thrive.
  • Instilling in our undergraduates an understanding of the importance of research, and creating opportunities for those who have the potential to develop research careers.


We will measure success with the following outcomes and targets:

  • Securing a place in the global top 200 for our research and deepening our relationships with international universities with strong research reputations.
  • Increasing the number of research-active students, maintaining our recognised Doctoral Training Centres, and creating a critical mass of researchers.
  • Increasing our external grant income by 100 percent during the lifetime of this strategy, and increasing externally funded research-only staff numbers by 30 percent.
  • Growing the number of teaching and research staff towards a target of 500 – in line with growth in student numbers.
  • Achieving an annual year-on-year increase in income from our enterprise activities.


By doing these things, we will increase our research profile by 100% and make a substantial contribution to becoming a top 25 university and growing our income by £50m.

© University of Stirling FK9 4LA Scotland UK • Telephone +44 1786 473171 • Scottish Charity No SC011159
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