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Boundary Breakers

Our Ambition

An institution that fosters a sense of pride amongst its staff, students and alumni as it makes a real difference to the world in which we live through its research, innovation and practice.

Our research will be focused more broadly than the Research Excellence Framework, with applied research and practice funded via Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and other income equally valued.

Our Objectives

Our staff and partners will feel proud to be part of the institution and be empowered to make the maximum contribution to our vision.

Our alumni will remain engaged, supportive and act as our key ambassadors.

Engineering Student

Our future journey

Research and innovative practice at the University is stitched into the fabric of the institution. For almost one hundred years researchers have been challenging themselves in order to improve society.

Our new Strategic Plan 2016 – 2021 will ensure that our work in this area continues. We will develop and enhance the real world impact research for which we are renowned.

We will realign our research portfolio and focus our innovative practice in support of our six key areas of academic strength - Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering; Health Sciences and Wellbeing; Computing Software and Big Data; Education and Society; Business and Law and Arts, Design and Media.

This will help us build on the ‘world-leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’ research currently being carried out in these areas, recognised in the Research Excellence Framework (REF).

However, we will broaden our research scope beyond the REF, in order to ensure it is effective and impactful in areas where it is needed most. We will focus on applied research and practice, funded via Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and other independent external income sources.

Our commitment to innovative practice will be strong, and will be evident in our teaching and learning provision. We will build on the already high number of National Teaching Fellows and Higher Education Academy Fellows over the next five years.

During the life of the new Strategic Plan 2016 – 2021 we will show that our research and practice is contemporary with immediate impact for our communities, business partners and students.

Our journey to date

Pie chart

of staff feel proud to work at the University of Sunderland.


All areas submitted to Research Excellence Framework classified as 'internationally excellent'.



areas of world-leading research



alumni contributing to societies across the world.



of alumni say their time at Sunderland has been life-changing.



of eligible staff submitted to the Research excellence Framework.

Our staff across the world will be central to our success in these aims. We will strive to maintain the high levels of motivation, commitment and pride already evident among our staff.

We will deepen our engagement with our alumni at home and across the world to ensure they are supported throughout their careers, but also to allow them the opportunity to support the University on its direction of travel, and act as mentors and careers advisors for younger fellow alumni.

If we accomplish all of this we will have achieved our ambition to be recognised as:

An institution that fosters a sense of pride amongst its staff, students and alumni as it makes a real difference to the world in which we live through its research, innovation and practice.

Baroness Morris of Yardley

"The University has clear plans to further enrich its impactful research and its innovative teaching and learning practice. Having seen it in these areas at close quarters for over a decade I am in no doubt whatever it will achieve its ambitions."

Baroness Morris of Yardley

life changers

Life Changers


Knowledge Creators


Tomorrow Makers


Learning Engagers


Future Shapers