Research themes

Our ambition is to become a leading global university performing impactful research and innovation and achieving outcomes which make important contributions to society.

Find out about the research areas we are focusing on from a global level to faculty-specific priorities, which is underpinned by our strategy.

Grand research challenges we are addressing

Our research grand challenges combine expertise from across the University to address key global challenges.

Scientific discoveries have impacted on our lives in a dramatic way.

At Surrey, we are contributing to this grand challenge through our research on the management of complex diseases, understanding the genetic make-up of species through whole genome analysis and tackling issues such as antimicrobial resistance and climate change.

Equally, our research on renewable energy, satellite surveillance, smart electronics, new ways of living in a digital age and understanding sleep and circadian processes provide new ways to change our global lifestyle and impact on the future of mankind. 

The world will need to be able to support a population of nearly 10 billion by 2050, with more than 60 per cent of people living in cities or urban areas.

In order to sustain this growth, cities have to become more energy and resource efficient, communities more interactive, economies able to respond to global economic pressures more effectively and security of food and water supply becomes imperative.

At Surrey, our multidisciplinary approaches are addressing these challenges through a broad range of activities in our priority research areas. These include:

  • Sustainable tourism and enterprise
  • 'Water-related activities', such as water quality and health, sustainable water, wastewater and desalination treatment processes
  • The sustainability and resilience of environments
  • Earth observation and understanding climate change impacts
  • Nuclear science
  • Innovations in health
  • Disease mechanisms and management
  • Made-to-measure materials

Ultimately, the socio-political agenda needed to deliver this grand challenge will rely on appropriate leadership and this area is being developed more fully through our research priority in leadership and decision making.

During the last 20 years, we have experienced a revolution in the way individuals and societies communicate with each other.

The pace of technical innovation will revolutionise the ways in which societies function at all levels, through the Internet of Things and next-generation network technologies like 5G.

Surrey is a pioneer in communication technologies and is applying its technological flair through its innovations in health, connected systems and innovative methodologies priority areas.

The influence and opportunity of greater connectivity on cultures is being realised through our priorities in performance, visual and audio analysis and languages and culture, all of which will impact on new ways of living in the digital age.

Faculty research themes

At the heart of all our research at Surrey, our three faculties are focused on the following specific areas.

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

  • Living and Working in the Digital Age
  • Society, Economy and Sustainability
  • Innovative Methodologies
  • Crime, Security, and Justice
  • Inequalities, Governance, and Wellbeing
  • Cultural Practices

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Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

  • Connected systems
  • Future electronics
  • Communication technologies
  • Computational fluid dynamics and environmental flow
  • Visual and audio analysis
  • Nuclear science
  • Made-to-measure materials
  • Sustainability, environment and resilience
  • Engineering for health
  • Space and aerospace

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Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

  • Chronobiology and sleep
  • Digital health and data science
  • Healthy ageing and supporting long-term conditions
  • Infection and immunity
  • Nutrition and food security
  • Scholarship of teaching and learning
  • Understanding people's relationship with social and physical environments

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