Research Strategy: Initial Thoughts

Along with a few colleagues I am currently trying to identify the headlines of our new research strategy, one of several sub-strategies which which make up BU’s Fusion Strategy.  At this stage we are simply coping out ideas before putting pen to paper.  Once a draft is written it will be iterated through BU’s Research & Enterprise Committee and subject to much wider consultation.  The starting point is our new Vision & Values [] and the key statements around research.  These are:

C2 Create a world-class learning community

C3 Develop strategic local, regional, national and international partnerships

C4 Build strong professional and academic networks worldwide

S1 Fuse research, education and practice to create a unique academic experience where the sum is greater than the component parts. As part of that fusion…

S2 …undertake world-class research in recognised areas of academic excellence

S5 Be recognised internationally as a thought-leader

I5 Inspire our staff and students to enrich the world


These statements are underpinned by:

P1 Recruit, retain, recognise, and develop a high performing workforce;

P2 Engage and inspire staff to deliver an outstanding student experience and to fulfil their potential;

E2 Provide world-class facilities


Over the last few months I have trailed a range of ideas on the blog and elsewhere but the key one is the importance of societal relevance and impact; the research that we do should have an impact on the world and society in which we live.  To be clear this is not to say that we should only do applied research, but that we should focus our energy however abstract or applied on tackling the societal challenges of our day.  Using this context it is possible to frame a strategy that is  shaped by societal challenges and through the impact of our research  in turn shapes society’s future agenda.  One could summarise this via the strap-line: driven by societal need, shaping societies future.   In order to deliver on such a mission we would need to create a world-class learning community focused on research excellence and through knowledge exchange enter into a dialogue with society.  The model shown below is a way of illustrating this and identifying the key elements which need attention within the strategy, if you prefer the key sections within the strategy.  I am very interested in hearing your views on this; for example things that are missing or different perspectives?  I am also keen to know your views on where the ‘levers for change’ are within this model, or put another way where should we focus or energy?  Either post a comment or e-mail me directly, I would also be happy to arrange to meet with indivdiual research centres or groups of staff to discuss this if you would like.

2 Responses to “Research Strategy: Initial Thoughts”

  1. Matthew Bennett

    Just been suggested to me that Inputs, Throughputs and Outputs are not quite the right words; the alternative suggestion is ‘Drivers’, ‘Research process’ and ‘Outcomes’

  2. Chris Shiel

    Just a few immediate thoughts. I particularly like the idea of highlighting ‘societal need’ – a great topline heading.

    Should there be something about ‘enablers’ in the model? Business Excellence models always talk about ‘enablers’ and ‘approaches’
    Perhaps ‘inspire are staff and students to enrich the world’is an enabler which might lead to increased output.

    ‘World class facilitites’ is an aim in itself as well as an enabler. The middle section is the one that seems to work less well to me. Also there is a realtionship between being recognised as a ‘thought leader’ with the quality of the outputs. I am not sure how well this sits in the middle box, as to me it seems like a goal which does not happen until outputs are valued by external stakeholders.