Achieving scale to compete globally
We continually strive for world class excellence and there are many ways in which the University is already successfully increasing its reach and reputation. We have succeeded very well in the past through organic growth and interdisciplinary strength. This will continue to be a key focus for us.
However, there is the question of scale.
Despite the strength of our individual disciplines, we don’t currently have the scale in Science, Engineering and Medicine that would be found in those institutions that are globally leading.
When our performance is normalised for size against other Russell Group institutions, we punch significantly above our weight on measures such as research income. We’re doing really well but there is a step change difference between where we are now and where we need to be and that is related to the size of our STEMM base.
At the same time, the Higher Education environment is becoming ever more competitive and we do not want to be an institution that is too small to be able to compete. Thinking about scale doesn’t mean that we would wish to disproportionately grow our student numbers, nor would we sacrifice in any way our commitment to excellence and quality. It is about our ability to compete globally.
We are fully committed to the principle of the comprehensive University. Our University was founded on strength in the Social Sciences, the Arts and the Mathematical sciences after all and we are proud of that heritage.
We will continue to maintain our investment in the excellence of all of our disciplines across all of our faculties and nurture that organic growth and innovation. At the same time though, we will also look to find creative ways of expanding our reach in Science, Engineering and Medicine.
To achieve the scale we need to be truly globally leading, we will need to examine a range of other innovative and different ways in which we can do this including through collaboration, partnership or maybe even acquisition.
The question about the size and shape of the University is a very challenging one, but is one which we need to examine for the future and make sure that we can secure our sustainability in an ever more competitive global environment.