Aston's Research Strategy

Aston's Competitive Advantage

Collaborative research with high translation and impact is one of four core activities that underpin the Aston Mission to deliver over the short, medium and long-term for our beneficiaries. 

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. In addition to conducting fundamental research, Aston has developed a strong reputation for working closely with industry, the professions, and other stakeholders.

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 Strategy


Addressing real-world problems and providing practical answers means our research is used by organisations, policymakers and stakeholders to make a positive impact beyond academia, for example on society, culture, public policy, or services, health and the environment. Examples of how we have worked with our collaborators to deliver research with impact may be found here.


Our approach to research is highly collaborative across disciplines and schools, involving partnerships with businesses at a local, national and global level and with academic institutions in the UK and across the globe. We have an extensive portfolio of Horizon 2020 (EU) awards held with international partners, and a growing number of collaborators in developing countries, funded through GCRF and Newton awards. Aston is one of the UK’s highest performing institutions in terms of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and in 2019 we were awarded the Future Innovator Award at the KTP Best of the Best Awards. 


We are committed to excellence in research, as evidenced by the proportion of our research which is assessed as world-leading (4*) in terms of outputs and impact in the UK’s recurrent Research Excellence Framework exercises.


We want our research to be financially sustainable, in recognition of the fact that we have to manage competing priorities for resources. We are targeting research funding through Research England (for example the recent E3 award to fund the expansion of the Institute for Forensic Linguistics); the Research Councils and UKRI. We will use our strong relationships with businesses, industry and local to leverage match funding alongside these blue-chip funding awards (for example through Supergen, UKRI’s flagship programme to deliver coordinated research on sustainable energy generation, supply, distribution, as well as continuing to target all available global and EU funding streams that facilitate the research that we undertake with our international partners.