Video banner image
Play video

Knowledge Creators

Our Ambition

An institution that is acknowledged globally as an exemplar in the creation of knowledge, skills and learning that is work relevant in the 21st century.

Our programmes will include work-integrated learning, enterprise, innovation and leadership skills, design and digital skills. They will be influenced by employers and informed by schools and colleges.

Our Objectives

Our engagement with business will be fruitful, compelling and embedded.

Our global business will focus on attracting high quality students in key subject areas, developing compelling overseas partnerships, and encouraging staff and student exchange.

Media Hub

Our future journey

The University is acutely aware that working in partnership with employers, schools and colleges is essential in ensuring graduates have the right knowledge and skills to make them work relevant. This activity lies at the heart of the new Strategic Plan 2016 – 2021.

We will build on our existing relationships with employers, industry bodies, schools and colleges to ensure that we continue to be acknowledged as organisation proficient in creating knowledge, skills and learning that is relevant to economies across the world.

We will develop our programmes in order to be distinctive and relevant, with work integrated learning and professional practice embedded across our provision.

We will work closely with key employers and organisations globally to ensure our work integrated learning is outstanding and differentiates us in the higher education environment. We will build on our strong current track record in this area.

Enterprise and innovation will feature throughout our programmes, as we develop the content and platforms for the next generation of creative thinkers and deliverers. We will take up the challenge to improve the culture of enterprise and innovation in the North-East region to match the levels across the UK. We will drive that agenda through our new Centre for Enterprise and Innovation, which will act as a University gateway to our expertise in this area, while nurturing the development of student and graduate start-ups.

Leadership development will be embedded across our programmes, complementing successful existing programmes, such as the Sunderland Futures Leading Lights offer.

Our students will be technically proficient, equipped with the latest design and digital skills needed to be engaged and effective in the global digital environment, which is driving economies, societies and cultures.

We will widen our work integrated and work relevant programmes by taking our lead from the excellent current practices across our own provision in areas such as media, engineering, IT & computing, sciences, business and education.

We will develop our new programmes with key employers and organisations which currently influence and help shape our provision – companies including the BBC, SKY, Hitachi, Nissan, Accenture, NHS Trusts, IBM, Yahoo, as well as with a wide range of SMEs.

Our journey to date

Pie chart

of graduates in work or further study six months after graduating.

Conical flask


of pharmacy graduates in professional level jobs.

Up arrow


increase in students entering graduate level jobs in past three years.



to open a FabLab in the North East.

3 Years

'Outstanding employer engagement' recognition three years running

Speech bubbles

Industry Advisory Boards engaged across subject areas.

The world

Top 5 in the UK for the delivery of overseas programme.

This will allow us to build on the positive graduate employability figures we are now seeing, where in the last three years there has been a 20% increase in graduates entering professional level jobs.

Our engagement with business will be fruitful, compelling and embedded. We will be recognised as the go to university for graduates with the skills and knowledge that will help drive organisations forward.

Business will also benefit from our engagement with schools. We will develop more strategic partnerships with key schools, ensuring we help develop the skill-sets needed by employers. Our schools engagement will also support new thinking in teaching and learning, curriculum and innovative practice.

Our work in this area will be recognised by institutions and organisations across the world. We will widen our distinctive offer and build on our existing international partner universities and colleges to attract more high quality students in key subject areas, develop strong, mutually beneficial overseas partnerships and encourage staff and student exchange.

Achieving our objectives will allow us to realise our ambition to be:

An Institution that is acknowledged globally as an exemplar in the creation of knowledge, skills and learning that is work relevant in the 21st Century.

Media Hub

"Employers need graduates who are work-ready, and through our support and particularly the University’s wide ranging work integrated programmes that’s exactly what employers are getting from Sunderland. This ambitious new plan will embed this work further."

Robin Elias, Managing Editor, ITV News

life changers

Life Changers


Knowledge Creators


Tomorrow Makers


Learning Engagers


Future Shapers