Our research partnerships

One of the key benefits of research is the creation of knowledge and expertise that can deliver positive impacts for many communities: students, academics, industry, governments, political parties, charities, not-for-profits and the general public. In order for this knowledge to be shared widely, we want as many of these groups as possible to become involved in research at our University and there are many ways to do so.

Key partners

Businesses are our key partners in creating excellent and impactful research. We have a portfolio of programmes, funded by the European Regional Development Fund and we work with industry to apply for Innovate UK funding.

So, whether it is through one of our award-winning and sector-leading Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) or other collaborative research projects, we can work together to create opportunities and overcome problems.

Our Institute for Innovation in Sustainable Engineering is a key gateway to our University’s expertise. It helps manufacturing and engineering companies in the Midlands to innovate and grow.

Many of our other research teams and individual researchers reach out to industry. They work with SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and other public-sector industries including the NHS. Besides supporting the growth and development of our local communities and economies, we are also actively seeking to expand our international partnerships as part of our International Strategy.

Find out more about how your business could benefit from collaborative research, visit our Research and Expertise page for businesses, call +44 (0800) 0015500 or send us an email. 

Inside the Institute for Innovation in Sustainable Engineering
Working inside the Institute for Innovation in Sustainable Engineering

In business

We have an international reputation for using environmental DNA (eDNA) to monitor and quantify biodiversity in the natural environment. This has led to a collaboration with forensic analysis specialist SureScreen Scientifics. Sharing our research excellence has allowed SureScreen to develop new ecological surveying services - and a new revenue stream.

The collaboration gave Surescreen the chance to work with Dr Michael Sweet, our Associate Professor in Aquatic Biology. He is an internationally renowned academic and is part of our Environmental Sustainability Research Centre.

The collaboration also included:

SureScreen has been able to diversify into the ecological surveying markets. The firm, based just outside Derby, now offers eDNA analysis for rare species such as great crested newts and crayfish. The technique could also be used to detect and monitor invasive species that can affect native populations.

The business was also able to access funding for new facilities for its eDNA work through our Invest to Grow programme. The new facilities cost £228,000 and led to the creation of 10 jobs.

Darley Park, Derby

University of Derby recognised in UK’s Best Breakthroughs list

Our research into nature connectedness led by Professor Miles Richardson has been named as one of the UK’s 100 best breakthroughs for its significant impact on people’s everyday lives.

Read the full storyRead the full story

In the community

Our researchers have been working with The Wildlife Trusts, a movement made up of 46 individual Wildlife Trusts. We have been involved in:

Nigel Doar, Director of Strategy for The Wildlife Trusts, explains: “Having the University involved in 30 Days Wild made the world of difference. They helped us to evaluate our impact and the results were amazing. The IWUN project should generate credible scientific evidence to support changes in public policy and practice while the Nature Connection Indicator work gives us a way to measure the effects of these and other changes.

“Research can help us encourage people to build stronger bonds with nature so they cherish and protect it. Scientific evidence can also help us influence decision-makers."

The Wildlife Trusts and the University of Derby complement each other naturally. Nigel says: "The University already had evidence for how people connect to the natural world at a biological and psychological level but wanted to undertake more research. We had access to thousands of people interested in nature, who could potentially help with this research.

“There should be more projects involving academic institutions, community organisations and the general public. They help us all to understand each other better and draw on each other’s strengths. They also enable the findings to be communicated to a wider audience.”

Academic chatting to a business woman

Let us make a big difference to your business

Explore our research centres and groups and find out how our expertise could help you.

Research centres and groupsResearch centres and groups


We are always keen to collaborate with other universities and institutions, both within the UK and beyond. If you have an idea you would like to discuss with someone, our University Research and Knowledge Exchange Office is a good place to start.

If you are a member of staff at the University of Derby and need support with your research, our University Research and Knowledge Exchange Office can help with:

To contact the University Research and Knowledge Exchange Office, email urkeo@derby.ac.uk