Annex 9 - Procedures for the establishment and designation of research groupings

  1. The University will routinely use two categories of research grouping for the purposes of organisation and external promotion. These will be Research Group or Theme, and Research Centre or Institute.
  2. Research Groups or Themes (or other designations, except Centre or Institute) should reflect the strengths and priorities of research in Schools. They do not require formal approval but must be supported by the Dean(s) of the relevant School(s).
  3. Research Centres or Institutes are major components in the research strategy of the University and require a formal approval from the PVC(R&I), acting on behalf of Senate and on the advice of the Research and Innovation Committee. The case to establish a Research Centre or Institute would normally be based either on an established record of excellence and achievement or on a specific and significant opportunity enabled by the designation.
  4. The distinction between a Centre and an Institute is intentionally not formally defined but, in broad terms, the designation ‘Institute’ may be more appropriate for a more substantial research activity than a Centre, with a secure basis of external funding and its own administrative infrastructure. 
  5. The case to establish a Research Centre or Institute should be discussed with the PVC(R&I) in advance of presentation to the Research and Innovation Committee by the Associate Dean (Research and Innovation) of the lead School and have the support of the Dean(s) of all relevant School(s).
  6. Research Centres or Institutes will have a named academic lead, appointed normally for a 3-year term following a transparent internal process conforming to best practice in equality, diversity and inclusion. The appointment requires approval by the PVC(R&I).
  7. It is obviously desirable for the ways in which we organise research internally to accord as closely as possible with the profile presented externally. A web presence for Groups and Themes is at the discretion of the Schools involved. A web presence for Research Centres or Institutes is mandatory and the responsibility of the academic lead, acting with professional advice from Marketing and Advancement. Only Research Centres or Institutes are listed on the main university research web pages.
  8. None of the groupings described here is expected to operate indefinitely. If requested, a Research Centre or Institute must provide a short report on activities and progress to the PVC(R&I). This will be shared with Research and Innovation Committee which will advise the PVC(R&I) on whether the Centre or Institute should continue to operate or be discontinued.
  9. All decisions made by the PVC(R&I), related to the establishment or discontinuation of Research Centres or Institutes, will be reported to the next meeting of Senate.


Approved by Senate in November 2019