New report sets out blueprint for the future of university research

17th March 2015

A new report published today by University Alliance and supported by Sheffield Hallam University sets out for the first time what is needed to future-proof Britain's research ecosystem, in particular the need for greater collaboration and connectivity.

Alliance universities are working collaboratively to deliver a new doctoral training scheme. The Doctoral Training Alliance will be built around joint research strengths and embed close relationships with industry from design to delivery. Sheffield Hallam will be one of the key partners in delivering the doctoral training scheme, University Alliance has confirmed. The scheme follows Sheffield Hallam's excellent performance in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) where 65 per cent of its research received the prestigious 4* and 3* rating as world-leading and internationally excellent, moving the University up 25 places in the national research league tables. To back up its growing pedigree, the University has launched the Changing Lives campaign looking at the impact its research has had on society. Go to www.shu.ac.uk/changinglives for more information. The University Alliance report, Evolve. Connect. Succeed. Funding a healthy research and innovation ecosystem, establishes four key findings. The UK's research ecosystem must be: selective so we continue to develop world-leading expertise, collaborative to maximise complementary strengths, responsive and relevant to the rest of society and industry, and committed to nurturing future capability. Paul Harrison, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at Sheffield Hallam, said: "The release of the report today and our work towards a doctoral training alliance demonstrate our passion for research and having an impact on society." Maddalaine Ansell, Chief Executive of University Alliance, said: -This is an important report. A world-class research and innovation ecosystem is critical to the UK's competitiveness and well-being. -The challenge is to ensure it remains excellent through responding and adapting to fast-paced change and increased competition. This requires not only continued investment in universities but also efficient and effective use of the existing excellence and capability in the system. -Alliance Universities understand this. They are working collaboratively to deliver a new doctoral training system. This shows our commitment to maintaining the pipeline of researchers with relevant skills for the research ecosystem of the future. The Doctoral Training Alliance will be built around joint research strengths and embed close relationships with industry from design to delivery. Professor Steve West, Chair of University Alliance and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West of England Bristol, said: -The UK has a smart way of funding research. Identifying where excellent research exists and then funding it ensures we have a strong research ecosystem and are able to compete globally. "We recognise that the ecosystem's future success relies on balancing stability and dynamism. Long-term commitment to investment, distributed through our successful dual support system, is the right way to maintain this balance." The report will be launched at a high-profile event attended by parliamentarians, businesses and researchers in the Royal Institution, London. University Alliance will also launch a new website resource at www.unialliance.ac.uk/research of more than 60 impact case studies submitted by our universities to the REF 2014 exercise. They showcase the excellent research happening in Alliance universities and our impact both on here in the UK and around the world. These case studies show how we are finding new ways to overcome socio-economic challenges: growing industries, improving healthcare, building sustainability and shaping society.

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