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Research strategy

Our vision

Aston’s Competitive Advantage

Aston has developed a strong reputation for working closely with industry, the professions, and other stakeholders and for the strong focus on providing solutions to real problems of industry, and addressing societal challenges with high impact research. Since our creation in 1895 we have been an integral part of our region and its employers, advancing knowledge in a relevant and meaningful manner. Our competitive advantage is based on: our strong performance in REF2014; our research partnerships and business engagement; our cross-school, collaborative and interdisciplinary research ethos; and the employability and entrepreneurship of our graduates.

Key Elements of our Research and Enterprise Strategy

Creating a Thriving Research Environment

We are making strategic investments and leverage substantial funding from external sources, to create a thriving research environment that promotes scholarship and generates critical mass and research capability by which to win and deliver successful projects. We will grow and develop our institutional research strengths in support of our ambitions to be a leading research-led University across a range of disciplines from science and engineering through to medicine and social sciences as well as promoting multi-disciplinary research across Aston’s research communities and beyond. Aston plans to achieve significant and far-reaching impact arising from all of our research in forms that are relevant, transformational and exciting for each discipline.

Research labs
Research environment

Focusing on the Researcher and Developing a Research Culture

Support for researchers is at the heart of our research ambitions and the overarching aim is to provide a vibrant and supportive environment for individuals and cohorts of researchers to develop their research careers, through training and the promotion of a positive research culture, which reflects our commitment to Athena Swan and promotes equality and diversity throughout. Our Graduate School is central to our efforts to provide excellent research student support and progression, and develop researchers and supervisors through a combination of courses, supervision and training.

Mastering the External Environment

In a highly competitive environment, success in research requires us to understand the external environment in order to mitigate risks and take advantage of opportunities. We will develop strong interfaces with government agencies and gain foresight of research opportunities by working closely with our external partners, business and other research funders.

Promoting Enterprise

Aston has always had an enterprise focus as exemplified by Temazolamide (the $ billion block buster brain cancer drug). The positioning of enterprise alongside research provides the opportunity for us to develop a bolder vision and ambition for enterprise. We plan to enhance our enterprise activities to make them more coherent and impactful, especially focusing on the closer integration between research and enterprise to generate an entrepreneurial culture.

Enhancing our Partnerships and Business Engagement

The University has excellent relationships with business and the professions and we will further expand our account management process to form strategic partnerships with business and gain a competitive advantage via our proven ability to engage with SMEs.

Professor Paul Maropoulos
Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research and Enterprise
Aston University