Research and innovation

Our ambition is to be a global leader in research and innovation and a destination of choice for researchers in the UK and internationally.


  • A global leader in higher education research and innovation and a destination of choice for researchers, including postgraduate research students, in the UK and internationally.

  • A leading research institution with talented staff and students committed to research and innovation excellence and to benefitting the economy, society and the environment.

  • A preferred partner for government, business, industry and other universities in creating knowledge, technological solutions, digital transformation and policy innovation.

  • An engaged and connected university which is the intellectual home for alumni, supporters, and the local community.


Our mission is to nurture and grow our talented and dedicated pool of researchers whose practice is founded on a values-based culture of excellence.

We need academics who can conduct research at the leading edge, who are forward-thinking, who provide an exceptional experience for our research students and partners, and who value and generate innovation outcomes. They are the agents for the ‘Surrey Advantage’, culminating in the premium that each and every student or partner gains by choosing us as the place to complete postgraduate research or to collaborate.


  • Enhance our research excellence and sustainably grow our research scale through balanced resourcing and concentration of activity.

  • Ensure our research and teaching produce synergy, complementarity, and efficiency for the benefit of our researchers, teachers and students.

  • Contribute greater societal benefit by deepening the culture of innovation, and enhancing our impact, knowledge exchange, and community engagement.

  • Make research support “researcher-centric” and continue to enhance our research infrastructure with a focus on data.

Key activities to deliver

Build stronger concentrations in interdisciplinary research and innovation

CVSSP team in a meeting

We will enhance our research excellence by developing and extending our critical mass areas of research, underpinned by strategic investments.

We will establish pan-university research institutes in people-centred artificial intelligence and sustainability which will bring together diverse groups of researchers looking to solve global challenges and complex problems. The institutes will be a vehicle for external collaboration which will create a globally-visible footprint and reputation.

Research across the University will also be supported by the development of a university-wide data governance structure and master plan.

Synergise research and teaching

Yoanna Yarrow speaking during her lecture

We will ensure our teaching and research is synergistic, recognise the coupling of teaching and research in all that we do and engage all our researchers in teaching through culture and practice.

We will ensure our recruitment and promotion processes reflect the duality of our mission, and we will develop opportunities for students to join research centres, and for postgraduate researchers to develop teaching practice.

Strengthen our support and infrastructure for our researchers

Professor and student sat together in lab

We will improve support for our research activities by establishing better and more researcher-centric support systems.

Digital enablement will be driven through implementation of a digital research information system supported by a researcher one-stop shop approach to information and signposting.

We will also ensure inclusive mentoring and career development schemes are in place to support our research staff and postgraduate researchers through different stages of their career.

Scale innovation to grow societal impact

Illustration of light bulb lit up and growing buds

We will scale-up activities to involve greater numbers of staff, students and postgraduate researchers ​in impact and innovation. We will ensure we maximise the opportunity our already established innovation ecosystem creates ​for us.​

We will implement a new institutional plan for supporting knowledge exchange, impact and business, third sector, government and public engagement in research and innovation in order to generate demonstrable societal impact from increased involvement in innovation activities.

Measures of success

There are many ways in which we will analyse the success of our objectives, but these three top level measures enable us to see that we are growing our research activity and quality, and continuing to achieve an outstanding level of impact through our engagement with business and commercialisation activities.

>£50 million

Research grants and contracts income per annum

Top 10% per capita

For work with business, IP and commercialisation in the knowledge exchange framework

Top 30

Outcome in research excellence framework