Our strategy and actions Our strategy and actions

Strategy 1 – Developing a 2030 campus and city experience

A major strategic driver in our transformation will be a £300 million investment in our estate by 2030 to develop new buildings and radically refurbish our 1960s Lasdun Academic Wall. To achieve our objectives we also have to build our reputation for embracing technology, as well as building the facilities and infrastructure on campus and in the city so it becomes a ‘must-go’ destination for future students, new staff and research funding. We must ensure our campus is welcoming to all and that we provide sufficient affordable, high-quality accommodation for our students. A priority driver, therefore, has to be financial resilience and, in particular, the generation of the necessary income to invest in our ambitious plans for the future. All our staff will play an active and critical role in achieving this. We will also continue to ensure that environmental stewardship runs through our developments: through our teaching and how we motivate our students as global citizens; through our research and how we impact upon some of the world’s biggest environmental challenges; and through our leadership locally and regionally.


  1.  Manage the university finances to enable us to invest in our people and campus, and to enable the first phase of a £300 million Vision 2030 investment programme of new and refurbished buildings and digital infrastructure.
  2. Undertake a wide-ranging review of our information, customer and corporate management systems and technology (2016) and implement resourced changes (2017 onwards) that will enable us to meet the rapidly changing requirements of the curricula, research and administration, and, critically, to be more time efficient in our delivery to create academic and professional space for engaging with the challenges of the 2030 Vision. 
  3. Develop a plan (2016) for investment (2017 onwards) in state-of-the art spaces and facilities for interdisciplinary research collaboration and more flexible learning and teaching spaces. 
  4. Invest in infrastructure to enable innovation, enterprise and impact to thrive across UEA and the NRP. 
  5. Investigate opportunities with external partners for developing a significant economic enterprise on campus for development in the 2021–25 Plan. This will be focused on a global challenge in which we can claim leadership and offer research excellence, education, networking, conferences and business incubation.  

Strategy 2 – Advancing our academic mission

We will develop a strategy that responds both to rising student expectations and the demands from funding bodies for increased returns from investments in research. Our staff, students and stakeholders will be active partners in this strategy. It is essential that we seek out and assess the viability of new opportunities and demands in research and Higher Education. We will need to anticipate the jobs of the future, the skills most in demand, our biggest challenges, and the opportunities for maximum research impact. We will need to involve our students and work together with industry bodies, skills agencies, policymakers and employers, and then adapt quickly. We will embed new skills into our curricula and also provide them through extracurricular programmes. This will include skills in entrepreneurship, leadership, intercultural understanding and innovation.  


  1. Increase our focus on research excellence, including interdisciplinary working across teaching and research, and the development of pan-university and NRP initiatives to encourage collaboration. Institutional leadership in research will be enhanced by the appointment of an Academic Director of Research.
  2. Build up a diversified portfolio of research funding with less reliance on research councils and more focus on industry, charity and international funders, based upon a strategic approach with a supportive internal peer review. 
  3. Ensure our education develops in ways informed by employers and the needs of the wider world, combining knowledge acquisition with key skills development while ensuring a work-based or international experience, and language study, is available to our students through an institution-wide Student Opportunities Programme. 
  4. Expand our research-based teaching, innovating to create more opportunities for students to actively engage with research during their course. 
  5. Explore new ways of delivering teaching, learning and research, including low-residency programmes, blended learning through VLEs, and full online courses. 
  6. Promote an enterprising and entrepreneurial culture among students and staff, providing support and training through undergraduate, postgraduate and professional development courses. Institutional leadership in enterprise will be enhanced by the appointment of an Academic Director of Enterprise.
  7. As part of the Student Opportunities Programme, and in setting a foundation the 2021–25 Plan, we will investigate the extent to which UEA can create an environment for students to build personalised pathways, around core module provision, to achieve the overall outcomes to which they aspire. We anticipate that this will include existing provision to select the most relevant modules, mixed with new extracurricular opportunities to learn the skills and develop the attributes most appropriate to a student’s post-UEA aspirations. 

Strategy 3 – Extending our reach in national and international markets

By shaping existing and new networks we can create the opportunities to achieve many of our objectives, including growth in student numbers, reputation and impact. Some of these networks embrace the digital age, varying from online social media connections with prospective international students, to alumni collaborations, fundraising platforms, and internal interdisciplinary innovation groups. We should also network with industry and employers, and look to create partnerships that generate commercial opportunities and build reputation. Our mindset will be confident and outward looking, with a strongly global perspective. We should explore how we can extend our influence in our communities, how we can engage policymakers and how we can develop alternative routes to research funding. We should look at how our teaching, including MOOCs and other short-course formats, can open new doors and markets around the world. These may be geographic, at home and overseas, or in subject areas, and may be focused on in-demand subjects in emerging markets in which we can claim leadership or early adoption. This reach applies to our core student recruitment and research priorities, but also to innovation around new-style courses, new CPD delivery, new income streams, and different kinds of partnerships.


  1. Build effective global networks with international partners, including students, alumni, researchers and businesses, to extend our reach.
  2. Explore the development of new international offices to aid in student recruitment, alumni relationships and projecting our achievements, with an early priority being an office in the USA in 2016/17.
  3. Work with partners to build the profile of the region, the university, our teams, our individuals and the work we do, focused at all times on growing our reputation for high-quality education and research. 
  4. Leverage opportunities across the NRP, particularly those opened up by the Centre for Food and Health, and work creatively to maximise positive impact on economic development and innovation throughout the regional and local economy. 
  5. Ensure that all our students and staff feel part of UEA before they come, on arrival and throughout their time with us, and that our alumni feel connected and involved.  
  6. Explore new opportunities to extend our digital presence using technology to reach out to new students, research and businesses, building on our pioneering use of MOOCs. 
  7. Explore new course subjects and modes of delivery to meet the diverse and flexible needs of potential new students in a changing market that fully embraces widening participation, and that includes part-time students, apprentices and retirees (for full implementation in the 2021–25 Plan).
  8. Initiate a project group to explore approaches that could be taken to change the common perception of Higher Education as being just three to four years of learning at the beginning of adulthood to an opportunity for lifetime learning in which students can continually connect, on campus and online, with UEA for support and education throughout their lives. Outcomes of this project would be considered for potential implementation in the 2021–25 Plan.

Strategy 4 – The culture and development of our institution

Many of our objectives rely on a campus environment in which key skills flourish. We will support our staff – academic and professional – to develop strong global perspectives; to encourage innovation, effective partnership working and enterprise; to be proud of their professionalism; and to seek efficiencies. These skills will propel many of our operational successes, but they will also act as a catalyst for our students to embrace the same skills and mindsets, helping them to be more successful in their careers. These skills will also empower our staff to lead and support the key strategic actions in our Plan. We will develop programmes to embed these skills and attitudes into our everyday lives on campus, ranging from staff CPD and performance review to new teaching formats and extracurricular activities. New teaching and learning space and thinking time will be created, and innovation will be absorbed within a culture that celebrates success and values equality, diversity and environmental sustainability.


  1. Provide support and mentoring to ensure that all staff can develop their full potential, including leadership and fast-track programmes available to all; provide a review of the processes through which we recognise and reward our staff contributions; and provide a review of the best ways for training and up-skilling staff in the use of new methods and technologies. 
  2. Celebrate the diversity of our communities, proactively working to achieve equality, dignity and respect while embedding key values in our curricula and research programmes. UEA is committed to ensuring equality and diversity at all levels, and will work to improve the representation of women and black and ethnic minority staff in senior leadership, academic and professional positions. We will also ensure that the needs of trans students and staff are addressed in an inclusive and proactive manner. 
  3. Reinvigorate strategies for widening participation to ensure that UEA courses are open and welcoming to outstanding students from diverse backgrounds. We will provide leadership in this area through the appointment of a new Academic Director for Widening Participation.
  4. Take steps to ensure that the educational experience and support offered to international students is outstanding and takes account of diverse cultural backgrounds, reflecting how much UEA values its international students, who form a vital component of the university community.
  5. Provide stimulating, two-way communication across the whole UEA community, including ongoing dialogue about our Vision and plans.
  6. Develop initiatives that prioritise staff and student wellbeing, including development of a harassment-free ‘safe campus in a safe city’ initiative in partnership with our students and city stakeholders. This will include a review of staff workloads and student welfare services.
  7. Creation of institution-wide training in professional service and business efficiency to help UEA meet strategic objectives in increasingly competitive times. 
  8. Initiatives to create more time and space for our staff to dedicate to research and to innovate in teaching and learning – aiming to streamline administrative processes. 
  9. Explore, for potential development in the 2021–25 Plan, how we may be able to collect and organise a regular flow of UEA ideas, helping to promote our commitment to excellence and innovation. 

Strategy 5 – Addressing our global challenges

To achieve our reputational objectives, we need to be clear on the global challenges we wish to tackle. We will need to create interdisciplinary teams, integrate ideas and develop our facilities in order to be successful. A key goal will be to ensure that everyone at UEA understands the challenges we are confronting, and that we celebrate our successes. We need to remember that our staff, students and partners all have their own powerful motivations, often aligned to making a big impact on world problems. We should foster that spirit.  


  1. Develop and internationally promote our research strengths, with a focus on those that address major global challenges with world-class impact.
  2. Horizon scan and monitor global news to identify global challenges and prepare for them. 
  3. Be conscious of environmental protection and performance as we develop our campus through new construction and refurbishment. 
  4. Be exemplars for research integrity, upholding and improving our assurance and ethical approval processes and training. 
  5. Ensure that our corporate social responsibilities fit our strategic objectives and position as global leaders in education and research.
  6. Explore ways in which we can ensure our global challenges resonate with our staff and students. This will require that we develop a better understanding of individual and collective motivations among our staff, students and partners.
  7. Support opportunities for hosting global conferences and summits where UEA can show world leadership in key challenges that our research is addressing.