University Strategy: Driving Distinctiveness

Introducing our new Strategy

Our core purpose as a University has not changed, indeed has arguably never been more important, so I am delighted to share our new strategy – Shaping our Future: Driving Distinctiveness – which sets out how we will enhance and strengthen our impact, and play our part in the recovery, success and sustainability of Scotland and beyond.
Our strategy has been drawn from a deep understanding of who we are, where we are and what we stand for, and through it we will continue to build on the foundations and progress achieved through Strategy 2020. Incorporating three new strategic objectives underpinned by a commitment to sustainability, it outlines the areas where we’ll sharpen our focus and increase our emphasis, while continuing to deliver our core activities and remaining responsive to a rapidly changing world.
I look forward to working together to bring this strategy to life and hope that if you’re not already part of our wonderful community that you will be inspired to join us on our journey.
Prof Andrea Nolan, Principal & Vice-Chancellor

Our Purpose

'Deliver high quality education and research to add value to the social, cultural and economic capital of our communities and shape their development'

Our Strategy

'Shaping our Future: Driving Distinctiveness’ was approved as the new University strategy in March 2020 after a comprehensive engagement exercise. When we consider our purpose, it is clear this strategy and its themes are as important as ever as we play our part in the post-pandemic recovery and deal with the significant challenges facing our local, national and international communities, as well as the world as a whole. The key elements of our strategy are brought to life in the sections below, but you can also access a summary pdf version of the strategy here:


Click here to download a summary of our strategy                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Our Strategic Objectives

Build Careers

- Create Opportunities

Our culture of personal growth, coupled with our flexible, innovative and holistic learning environment, will enable students and staff to shape their development and flourish in their careers.

Grow Networks

- Connect Communities

Creative collaborations locally, nationally and internationally will provide an educational and research portfolio that both shapes and responds to the needs of business and society.

Advance Knowledge

- Deliver Impact

Our research and knowledge exchange will address 'live' challenges, underpin our teaching and influence professional practice and policy, driving key societal, economic and environmental impacts.

Grow Sustainably

A key underpinning commitment for us is to ’Grow and diversify our income and take progressive action to achieve net zero carbon in our operations by 2030. We will also seek to minimise both our wider and legacy carbon footprint and influence sustainable practices within and beyond our campuses'.

Our Distinctiveness and Values

We are inclusive in our ethos, applied and collaborative in our approach. We are based in Edinburgh, but with an international reach. We have a breadth of disciplines and a size that enables people and ideas to connect. With a heritage in teaching, a professionally-orientated portfolio and high quality research tackling 'live' challenges, we are making an impact locally, nationally and internationally. We want to be recognised as acting with respect and integrity and creating an environment where everyone involved feels proud, confident, challenged and supported.

Our Transformational Actions

Our Impact

Our Implementation

Our Driving Distinctiveness strategy is designed to be short, simple and engaging. It is expressed as a set of open ended strategic objectives, with accompanying transformative actions and headline measures of successes. Its delivery is underpinned by our core Learning & Teaching, Research & Innovation and Internationalisation strategies, further enabling strategies related to our People & Services and Finance & Operations, as well as our Environmental Sustainability Strategy. 

The delivery of the objectives from these cross-cutting strategies will be embedded through the annual University planning process, with associated key performance indicators to help us track our progress. 

If you are a member of staff you can find further details of planning priorities and associated resources to help you contribute to the implementation of our strategy here, otherwise if you have a comment, idea or are interested in being involved in Shaping our Future, please get in touch.