January 26, 2017, by Michael Jennings

Significant investment in our world-changing research

Professor Dame Jessica Corner, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange, introduces the new Beacons of Excellence – leading research areas that will have a far-reaching impact on some of today’s global challenges.

In my previous blog post, I wrote about our vision for the future of research here at the University.

This vision is exciting, ambitious and unprecedented in our history: we aim to be among the world’s top 60 universities and in the UK’s top five. We will increase our research portfolio to £700m.

How will we achieve these goals?

We already have a robust and diverse research base, featuring many distinctive areas of excellence delivering truly transformative work of substantial global importance.

To further raise this reputation we have reviewed and refocused the University’s Research Strategy. This will soon be unveiled in detail – including the very significant financial commitment underpinning our vision.

This investment will support a key goal of the Research Strategy – attracting and retaining the highest quality researchers. World-class researchers, working in multidisciplinary teams and with inspiring leaders, are at the heart of capturing new ideas and translating these into world-changing solutions.

We will create teams and nurture individual researchers and support staff across the University at every stage of their career, alongside supporting early career researchers by recruiting 100 Nottingham and Anne McLaren research fellows over the next five years.

We will deliver continuous investment in world-class facilities, infrastructure and digital systems that are essential in delivering our goal of supporting individuals to deliver a substantial increase in 4* research and research impact.

Our ambition is for The University of Nottingham to be recognised as among the very best in the world and we are looking at ways of generating this global reputation.

This brings me to our Beacons of Excellence. These will build upon our existing world-class research areas.

The Beacons will champion our response to global challenges and, while remaining within our diverse research base, will stand as exemplars.

The Beacons will also be models and drivers of the Nottingham Research Accelerator and its mission to generate funding, drive impact and enhance reputation.

The Beacons of Excellence have been selected with careful consideration, following proposals from 22 research areas. A panel of senior representatives from industry and the academic community assessed the proposals, and, initially, five Beacons have been selected as those that will solve critically important challenges. The full title of each beacon, and the scope of work to be undertaken, will be announced shortly, but brief details are provided below:

Nottingham Industrial Biotechnology Institute
Securing a sustainable, low carbon future through integrated biological and chemical technologies

Imaging in Precision Medicine
Using imaging to drive the development of personalised therapies in mental health and other chronic diseases

The Rights Lab
Measurement, intervention and evaluation for Human Rights and Social Justice, focusing on ending modern slavery

Propulsion Futures
Developing sustainable materials and systems for greener, electrified transportation

Future Food
Addressing Food security for a changing world

The Beacons of Excellence will receive significant funding from the University, and will help drive the University’s ambitious vision by increasing collaboration, strengthening networks and partnerships, attracting diverse funding, and raising the reputation of our world-changing research.

The Beacons of Excellence will work alongside our existing Global Research Themes and Research Priority Areas, which were introduced last year to make the best use of our resources, and to bring together expertise across disciplines.

It is important to stress once again that our Beacons are just part of a significant investment in the resources, people, infrastructure and environment essential for the delivery of world-leading discovery.

Our commitment is to all researchers, in all disciplines, who are committed to delivering excellent work.

Our Research Strategy will be unveiled soon, and touches on every area of research here at the University. We will keep you updated about our plans for the future, and I look forward to continuing to work with you to make our research environment the most varied, wide-reaching and exciting it has ever been.

Posted in research