University Strategic Update
Russ Langley, Chief Performance Officer

The new academic year is in full swing and it’s fantastic to have so many students and staff back on campus studying and working. When you walk around the Atrium at our Kedleston Road site there is a real buzz and excitement about the place – one that makes you realise how inspiring our university is – and that this is what the University experience is all about.

There have undoubtedly been many challenges to overcome since the start of the pandemic, including ensuring our students continue to have a great experience even while studying at home, but we have made significant progress across a number of different areas, so it feels timely to bring you up to speed on this.

Headshot of Russ Langley smiling

The new academic year is in full swing and it’s fantastic to have so many students and staff back on campus studying and working.

Russ Langley
Chief Performance Officer at the University

University of Derby 2025

Our Strategic Framework 2018-2030 provides a long-term blueprint in which to plan and move the University forward, and to support this we have a vision for 2025 designed to provide real strategic focus and ensure we’re delivering impact where it’s most needed in the next few years. They key elements to highlight are:

University Pillars

Our Strategic Framework clearly sets out our intention to be ‘an applied university of today and for tomorrow’, promising that ‘everything we do will be driven by delivering excellence and opportunity for our students, our staff and our region’.

Accompanying this are three Pillars, to which we align our focus and against which we have been making great progress:

At Derby we are committed to supporting the local community and work closely with businesses and organisations to deliver applied research and knowledge exchange. While it’s true that the pandemic has meant our short-term focus had to shift in places, it has also provided us with an opportunity to move some of this work forward at greater pace.

Our efforts to support the economic recovery of the city and county, in collaboration with key stakeholders, continues. Initiatives such as Ascend, a £5 million business growth programme, and Help to Grow, are making a real impact on businesses – supporting them to innovate, improve their productivity and expand.

As a result, we are now in the top ten per cent of universities in the Knowledge Exchange Framework for ‘Working with Business’ and ‘Local Growth and Regeneration’ (2021) – national recognition for the impact we are having on these important government agendas.  

We continue to raise our research profile, moving up the Times Higher Education Global Rankings into the 601-800 bracket as a result, and we were delighted to see an increase of 147% in the number of staff (full-time equivalents) submitting to the Research Excellence Framework 2021 – a reflection of the investment we have made into research and our researchers at Derby.

We couldn’t be prouder of our students – many award winners, innovators, and budding entrepreneurs – who have all shown true resilience and determination throughout the pandemic and never fail to impress us with their ambition and work ethic.

There has also been plenty of work happening behind the scenes to develop our Civic University Agreement. We’re currently finalising our signatories – stakeholders we will need to work with to deliver on our civic ambitions – with the intention of launching the agreement publicly in the New Year.

There is much more I could share with you, but with only a limited amount of space to do so I would encourage you to look out for our Annual Impact Report 2020/21. This is due to be published at the end of this year, and as recipients of this bulletin you will all receive a copy which I hope you will read with interest, as it will give you an even greater insight into our achievements and impact.