Strategic goal two: research infrastructure

We will increase the number of our distinctive research infrastructural elements, improve how we make use of existing infrastructure, and make research support services more researcher-centric.

Cutting-edge facilities and infrastructure

Cutting-edge facilities and infrastructure are elements of the ‘Surrey advantage’, critical for supporting excellence in research and innovation. Such facilities may provide unique opportunities to perform research or to act as a magnet for leading and early-career researchers. They provide a point of disciplinary intersection to foster one of our values: collaboration, and produce superior interdisciplinary research. We seek to add to our existing infrastructural elements of distinction. We aim to extract more value by organising our existing infrastructure better; especially by increasing access through up-skilling our postgraduate and early-career researchers. We also recognise that research infrastructure is more than equipment and facilities, and extends to the digital environment, information resources and research and innovation processes, such as management of grants and contracts. We seek to enhance all infrastructural elements of our research and innovation ecosystem and make them researcher-centric – we will implement a one-stop shop of professional research services for our researchers.

Access to state-of-the-art facilities, wherever located, is required in many disciplines to provide researchers with the ingredients necessary for success. Much research infrastructure is organised nationally and internationally, and it is vital that University of Surrey researchers readily access external facilities as needed. Such facilities, when provided locally, serve to attract research talent to the University, and provide local focus for the creation of thematic critical mass, external collaboration, and industry engagement.

The University already has a range of distinctive facilities and capabilities, including: the School of Veterinary Medicine (vHive and Digital Pathology); Royal College of General Practitioners Research and Surveillance database; chronobiology and sleep clinical facilities; Biomedical Research Facility; language morphology database; 5G Innovation Centre; Surrey Space Centre’s satellite control room; the Ion Beam Centre; and the Wind Tunnel. We will look to develop existing infrastructure further and will explore the introduction of new research infrastructure (for example, test beds) in areas such as:

  • Hospitality and tourism, through the Learning Hotel project
  • Urban Living through the GlobalHOM project
  • Distributed Ledger Technologies and its societal and economic applications
  • Data infrastructure for animal health and for neglected tropical diseases
  • Digital healthcare, in particular, in relation to mental health and dementia
  • Autonomous vehicles and future mobility
  • Space and satellite engineering and earth observation.

    Objective overview

    We will look to invest further in distinctive facilities and capabilities that differentiate the University and/or which build a distinctive competence.

    We will invest in equipment in research areas where we are most likely to demonstrate internationally leading research. There is a strong correlation between the funding received from certain funders, in particular, the UK Research Councils, and research quality as measured by REF. Research Councils typically require capital funding to be matched to some level by the University. We will, therefore, encourage our community to target the capital funding schemes operated by the Research Councils and will maintain a ‘matched funding’ provision to ensure we are competitive in those schemes.

    We will also improve quality by integrating equipment that is currently operated independently into more coherent centres of activity operating with managerial oversight, and better and wider access and training, especially seeking to up-skill our postgraduate and early-career researchers, providing them with distinctive skills. We will start by integrating our capabilities in materials research, where we will build on the experience of our Ion Beam Centre in running as a national facility. Key to success in this area will be ensuring we have adequate levels of skilled technical support for our equipment.

    Measures of success

    Key achievements by 2022  

    Level of externally supported research on the distinctive capabilities and infrastructure

    60 per cent of available time for research

    Average FWCI for outputs from distinctive infrastructure

    2.0

    Objective overview

    We will better integrate and reorganise existing and future University research facilities to enhance their visibility, access, training and associated outcomes.

    We recognise that research infrastructure extends to the digital environment, information resources and research and innovation processes, and will seek to enhance all infrastructural elements of our research and innovation ecosystem and make them researcher-centric. We will ensure all researchers can efficiently conduct their research and innovation business supported by state-of-the-art information systems, processes and procedures that empower researchers. Support systems and services will be clear, transparent, faculty-facing and researcher-focused, founded upon a facilitative culture of administrative excellence.

    Measures of success

    We will monitor progress in this area by:

    • Assessing the level of joint funding we have achieved for our capital investments
    • Monitoring the level of access to our shared facilities by our researchers
    • Monitoring the level of utilisation of our equipment that is linked to externally funded research.
    Key achievements by 2022  
    Level of externally supported research on integrated facilities  60 per cent of available time for research
    Fraction of researchers per year accessing integrated facilities  40 per cent

    Objective overview

    We will implement a web-based one-stop shop for researchers.

    Measures of success

    We will monitor progress in this area by the extent to which researchers express satisfaction in the support they receive through the conduct of an annual survey.

    Key achievements by 2022  

    Average satisfaction scores in survey

    Improved by 50 per cent

    Measuring success

    See a summary of all the measures of success of this strategic goal.

    If you'd like to provide feedback on this strategy, please contact us.

    Contact us

    • Phone: +44 (0)1483 300800

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