Research Vision Update

June 27th, 2017

On Thursday 22 June we launched our Research Vision and a planned investment of more than £200m at the Royal Society in London to an audience of policymakers, funders, partners, potential collaborators and the media.

The investment, the most the University has ever dedicated to research, will support our world-leading experts in finding solutions to six global issues.

External speakers at the Royal Society included Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation. He said: “With one of the largest research and development investments in the East Midlands, the University of Nottingham is at the forefront of UK innovation, supporting the creation of hundreds of local jobs and pioneering start-ups.”

Professor Philip Nelson, Chief Executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) also attended and welcomed the news. He said: “The core purpose of the EPRSC is to make the UK the best place in the world to research, discover and innovate. To achieve this we work with universities across the UK to support research and develop skills. This investment by the University of Nottingham is incredibly exciting — not only due to its scale and vision — but because it is predominantly an investment in people.”

The investment will help transform lives: even more world-class facilities and equipment will support the capture and delivery of discoveries with impact. It will also accelerate a commitment to attract the brightest and best minds through the recruitment of 100 Research Fellows, while creating and strengthening high-performance teams of researchers from across the University.

Beacons of Excellence

As part of this investment we are funding six Beacons of Excellence – multi-disciplinary research programmes focused on finding solutions to today’s global challenges.

Over the next six weeks we’ll be focusing on each of the beacons, introducing their research, key researchers and highlighting the ground-breaking projects they are working on.

Our first featured beacon is Propulsion Futures.

Transport is on the cusp of a revolution.

To meet mounting economic and environmental pressures, we are being challenged to identify new ways of moving people and goods, while escaping our dependency on conventional fuel systems.

Greener transport will be at the heart of this revolution, with the biggest game changer being electrified propulsion. Within this beacon, we are driving the discovery and translation of new materials, components and technologies to drive innovative electrified propulsion systems in this a new age of sustainable transport.

We are perfectly positioned to make a significant impact with our research.

We are a global specialist in sustainable materials, electrification and transport technologies.

We will investigate all aspects of new electric propulsion systems, including:

  • high-power density electrical machines
  • innovative high-efficiency designs
  • hybridisation and new power generation systems
  • efficient transmission
  • power converters
  • smart systems
  • systems integration
  • high performance materials
  • energy harvesting
  • energy generation and storage

We will utilise new sustainable materials to deliver high performance, reliable and most importantly eco-friendly propulsion systems, securing economic and strategic benefits for the UK and the world.

Propulsion Futures Director Professor David Grant said: “We will lead advances in electrified propulsion with our expertise in power electronics, smart systems and sustainable materials. We will use a holistic approach towards the development of all aspects of the propulsion of electric and hybrid electric transport vehicles.

“We are at the heart of the Midlands, and the UK and significantly at the heart of research collaborations with industry.”

To find out more read Professor Grant’s blog or visit

Please note, the name of this beacon is Propulsion Futures, not Propulsion Imaging as communicated in error last Thursday.   

What our Research Vision means for you

Research colleagues should by now have received a new guide entitled ‘What our Research Vision means for you’. This guide outlines the opportunities available, and where to go for help and support. You can also access the guide on the dedicated Research Vision Workspace. We are developing a further guide on ‘What the Research Vision means for you’ as a member of Professional Services. This will also be available on the Research Vision Workspace in the next few weeks.

We need your input, support and engagement. To further facilitate this, we will be holding another series of research roadshows over the summer to hear Professor Dame Jessica Corner outline what the research vision means for you, and how you can get involved – to support and shape the future of research at our University.

We have exciting times ahead as we start on our journey to make our vision for research a reality.

Look out for more dates in the coming weeks.

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