Research strategy
and vision

Research is central to the University of Derby. Our research strategy demonstrates how we will continue to achieve impactful research that benefits society as a whole.

Our strategic priorities 2020-2026

Our Innovation and Research Strategic Priorities set our future direction of travel and are underpinned by our values as an applied university. Our six current priorities are as follows:

Expanding our capability and capacity to create knowledge and deliver innovation.

We invest in talent because we are future-focused and a University of both today and tomorrow. We know that by investing in talent, our students and staff are able to better support the needs of our stakeholders.

One way we have done this is by securing Sustaining University Research Expertise (SURE) funding, which we've used to create 12 doctoral studentships, recruit over 20 Early Career Academics (ECA), and set up a competitive impact accelerator fund.

Advancing our knowledge, through our public, private and third sector partners, to enable innovation and create impact.

We've co-invested our own resources to deliver an ambitious programme of business support. Our funded local growth programmes have enabled us to introduce SMEs to collaborative research and innovation, enabling them to build their capacity in support of the Government's Plan for Growth to increase business research and development spending.  

We work actively with regional partners, such as D2N2, the Midlands Engine partnership, the Midlands Enterprise Universities group, and Derbyshire Economic Partnership.

Working with local partners and stakeholders to tackle cultural, social, environmental and economic challenges.

The heart of our strategy is to positively impact local communities and people within our region and beyond. We want to tackle cultural, social, environmental and economic challenges through public and community-engaged research, innovation and knowledge exchange. An example of this is our partnership with Derbyshire County Council, to deliver a £2 million grant fund known as the Green Entrepreneurs Programme.

Enabling our students to engage in impact-driven research and knowledge exchange.

We are passionate about ensuring that our innovation and research activities reach into the curriculum and open doors and spark enthusiasm. For example, our Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme gives all second-year students the chance to take part in a funded and supported research project. To date over 300 students have benefited from the scheme, producing over 200 projects.

Creating an ecosystem for the University and its partners to commercialise ideas.

We work closely with key partners and stakeholders — including the City Council and D2N2 — to establish a culture of entrepreneurship which includes support that nurtures new business ideas, whilst delivering solutions that encourage growth and productivity. We also recognise the positive and lasting contribution we can make to the city and have ambitious plans to deliver a new Business School, as well as to invest further in the Enterprise Centre to support the development of new and early-stage businesses.

Improve performance, efficiency and effectiveness of processes and management of risk.

Our University Research and Knowledge Exchange Office (URKEO) embeds a vibrant and dynamic research and knowledge exchange culture through its lead on governance, researcher development, impact, supporting successful research finding and knowledge exchange, commercialisation opportunities and more.

For more information about our Innovation and Research Strategic Priorities, please email

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Our research impact

Research is a fundamental part of our identity as an academic institution and the work we do has a real impact, from conserving coral reefs in the face of climate change to improving transition for newly qualified nurses.

Explore our research impactExplore our research impact

High profile research funders that support our work include Research England, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Innovate UK.

You can also find information about our research within our Colleges and Research Centres.

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Join the #research conversation

From the future of energy supply to connecting with nature - what our researchers are working on.

Read our research blogsRead our research blogs