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Research and Engagement

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We conduct innovative and impactful research to transform lives and make a difference, globally and locally: research to empower and inspire.   

Through our refreshed Strategy we aim to continue increasing our world-leading research outputs across our academic departments, research institutes and centres.

We will have a strengthened focus on our research performance, including income and impact, business engagement and on providing our students with the skills to prepare them for a changing world. 

Our research will have a positive impact on our local region, nationally and globally, while benefiting culture, society, health, the economy and the physical environment.

University Strategy

What we are already doing well: 

  • We have produced high-impact research. Examples include:
    • The Durham Infancy and Sleep Centre (Anthropology), revolutionising research into infant sleep safety and helping to reduce rates of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome 
    • Climate modelling produced by the Conservation Ecology Group (Biosciences), which is helping to understand how different species adapt to the effects of a changing climate.
  • We have appointed a new Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor (PVC) for Postgraduate Research Students, responsible for our postgraduate research (PGR) scholarship strategy and a strategy for the University-wide management of PGR matters.
  • Appointed an Associate PVC for Regional Development and Business Engagement and expanded the business innovation team within Research and Innovation Services to support these areas.
  • Recruited a Senior Responsible Owner to scope and lead our Science Transformation Project and enhance our strength in science. 

We will:   

  • Continue to strengthen our base for teaching and research across academic disciplines by further bringing together researchers from across different areas of the University to collaborate. 
  • Set clearer expectations for Durham as a research-intensive university, including research income growth.  
  • Align staff incentives and rewards to success in research and impact. Continue to develop our new Strategic Research Fund and other internal, response-mode funding.   
  • Support research success through investment in infrastructure and equipment, and the “Flourish” project supporting a collaborative research culture (for example through the new Leading Researchers Programme).  
  • Position ourselves as a UK and International leader for cultural heritage research.
  • Deliver our strategy, via the NHS and other partnerships, for Health@ Durham, across Science, Social Sciences, Medical Humanities and other related research areas.
  • Establish a Doctoral College and a target intake of postgraduate research students and scholarship funding.
  • Build on our partnerships with both Durham County Council and the newly formed North East Combined Authority and continue to expand our footprint at the NETPark science and technology park and in other innovation facilities.
  • Seek external venture capital to support greater commercialisation of our research and staff and student entrepreneurship.
  • Establish our Business School, newly relocated to the heart of Durham City, as the region’s premier hub for executive education, informed by its globally influential, horizon-scanning research.
  • Develop further our strengths in Science and increase our competitiveness. Our Science Transformation project will scope and establish an investment path for a major new interdisciplinary science facility at Upper Mountjoy, as part of a long-term transformational programme.
  • Make ongoing investments in areas of strength in Arts and Humanities and in Social Sciences and Health.