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Our vision

The University of Salford is committed to excellent research with impact.

This is emphasised throughout the University’s 2014-2018 Strategic Plan.

Salford University Peel building

Research and Enterprise is one of the four underpinning strategies of the University’s Strategic Plan. The aims of the University’s Research and Enterprise is to develop, support and promote excellence with impact. Salford has a rich heritage and international reputation for working closely with both industry and the public sector in enterprise and research.

Research at Salford brings a range of benefits to learning and teaching, informs our community engagement activities, and incorporates lively national and international partnerships. By building on our reputation and capitalising on our experience we will deliver a solution-driven culture that will increase both social and economic impact whilst enhancing the student and staff experience. Our research will be organised through a strategic number of Research Centres, aligned to Schools. The Research Centres were launched in April 2015.

In the context of current economic conditions and the move by Government towards more selectivity in research, it is essential that our income is diversified. Our Research and Enterprise Strategy will ensure that our income is maximised through commercialisation and close working relationships with industries, businesses and organisations in both the public and private sectors.

Our revised strategy will also establish the capacity, capabilities, disciplines and ways of working that will deliver outputs and impact that are of international significance, ensuring strong REF outcomes that build on our strengths.

Download Research and Knowledge Exchange strategy

Research performance

REF 2014 LogoThe Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the new system for assessing the quality  of research in UK higher education institutions (HEIs), and replaced the  previous Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).
REF is undertaken by the four UK higher education  funding bodies. The purpose of the REF is to

  • Inform the selective  allocation of research funding to HEIs
  • Provide benchmarking  information and establish reputational yardsticks
  • Provide accountability for  public investment in research and demonstrate its benefits.

In REF 2014, 154 Universities made 1,911  submissions, including over 190,000 research outputs and almost 7,000 Impact  Case Studies. The assessment of each submission consisted of three elements:

  • Research outputs - 65%
  • Impact - 20% (this will  increase in subsequent REFs)
  • Environment - 15%

More information on the REF…

RAE 2008

The University of Salford achieved an impressive set of results in the latest Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008), demonstrating significant progress since 2001, when the last RAE was carried out.

In 2008 the University of Salford was placed in the top third of UK universities for research (in terms of Research Power) and returned 50% more academics than in 2001.

RAE 2008 Submissions

Submission Highlights

RAE 2008 Logo

The University of Salford has achieved an impressive set of results in RAE 2008, demonstrating significant progress since 2001 when the last RAE was carried out. Salford was ranked 48th in the UK in terms of research power – a measure that reflects both the quality and size of submissions. The University also returned 50% more academics than it did in 2001.

Highlights of the University’s submission included:

  • 83% of work was ‘internationally recognised’ (2* and above);
  • 43% of work was rated as ‘world-leading’ (4*) or ‘internationally excellent’ (3*);
  • The Architecture & Built Environment return came top of the research power rankings, and had the most world-leading (4*) research;
  • Library & Information Management was ranked second in the research power rankings;
  • Architecture & Built Environment and Library & Information Management both achieved 25 % in the 4* category;
  • An overall grade point average of 2.36 indicated a mean standard of research of international quality.

See all the University’s quality profiles…

Our approach to impact

The University of Salford has a long history of creative entrepreneurship and collaborative research, within both the North West region and beyond. Many of our colleagues have backgrounds in industry and public service, granting us a significant understanding of the needs of partners and communities.

As both funding bodies and the Government – via the Research Excellence Framework – place a renewed emphasis on research impact, we now find ourselves increasingly well placed to demonstrate the contribution our research makes beyond the walls of academia.

Industry collaboration

We view research impact not as a means to an end, but as a public good in itself. Impact is central to our Industry Collaboration Zone strategy, and inherent in our focus on the connected, co-created, and transformational research, emerging from our Research Centres. More specifically, our approach celebrates the crucial role of partners, communities and citizens in the development of new projects. We always welcome discussions with our collaborators around how research might be of wider social and economic benefit.

To find out more about the Industry Collaboration Zones, please see the ICZ website or follow ICZUoS on Twitter

Our Platform

It is imperative for us to evaluate and reflect upon the difference our research makes, so we might best contribute to conversations that extend beyond the confines of academia.

We have developed ‘Salford Impact’ to advance, showcase and celebrate impact. Through the production of high quality case study material, we will continue to demonstrate our track record of engaged research that addresses issues and challenges of local, national and global importance.  

To get in touch, or to find out more, please contact us or follow us on Twitter

Our case studies demonstrate the breadth of our research impact, alongside our evidence-based approach to addressing key local, national and global challenges.

The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers

The Concordat is an agreement between the employers and funders of UK researchers. Its main focus is staff who are employed primarily  to conduct research. The overarching aims of the agreement are to enhance the research base and to increase the attractiveness and sustainability of research careers in the UK.

In 2010, the University of Salford received the European Commission HR in Excellence Award in recognition of the University’s commitment to supporting researchers and their career development as outlined in the 2010 Concordat Implementation Plan and the resources below. In 2014 the  University was one of the first tranche of organisations to receive this award for a second year period following a review of progress against the original 4 year plan, and an updated action plan for 2014-2018.

The University has recently submitted its 8 year Concordat review, detailing the progress that has been made particularly from 2016-2018. An updated 2018-2022 action plan is given below, which aligns with the University’s core strategy and the Research and Enterprise strategy, the aim of which  is research excellence and researcher career and leadership development, delivered through a supportive and vibrant research culture which enables researchers at all levels to maximise the quality, impact and reach of their research.

Researcher development

The University offers opportunities to support researchers to get the most out of their research careers, aiming to continuously improve its provision for researcher career development. Our researchers experience a diverse range of career routes, and the University aims to improve research career development  reflecting of this diversity and taking into account the various pathways for the career development of the Salford Researcher. We:

  • Provide training in line with the Researcher Development Framework (RDF) and Concordat  
  • Promote researcher development issues to feed in to strategy at an institutional level  
  • Provide training opportunities that enable ECRs to enhance their personal impact and that of their research  
  • Offer a range of events and training to suit specific needs.  

Researcher Training and Development at Salford is overseen by the Researcher Development Group who act as an advisory and consultative forum at key stages of the design and development of researcher training aimed at PGRs, ECRs and Academic Staff.

The University delivers many events for researchers across all subject areas:

  • Research training for Research Focussed Staff (RFS) is available as part of the University SECRET provision (Senior to Early Career Researcher Enterprise & Training). The programme supports the development and leadership of the researcher staff community.
  • Salford Postgraduate & Staff Research Training (SPoRT) is available to all Postgraduate researchers and is a specialist provision to enhance and support the Doctoral Experience.
  • Supervisor development As part of the University's continuing efforts to improve our postgraduate research student experience, we provide training for all academic staff who supervise postgraduate research students.
  • Researcher almanac for events and training sessions Contributions to the Almanac are welcome from all staff and research students.Research Focussed Staff and PGR Specific Training are available to view by role clicking on the appropriate link.
  • The Research Support blog which includes research policy, funder intelligence and also promotes research training events.
  • The Research Intranet which contains a range of guidance about research funding, assessment and project management (requires your user name and password)
  • An institutional subscription to Research Professional where every colleague at the University of Salford can set up an account which delivers weekly emails detailing funding opportunities in their subject area and tailor searches (requires your user name and password).
  • ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) is a digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher, improves interoperability between the systems you use and ensures you get credit for your work. Find out more about the benefits of ORCID and to register for your ID.
  • Internal Support Schemes which include a number of strategic funds available to research staff to support our continued development of excellent research with impact. The funds include the International Conference Fund, the Research Bidding Support Fund and the Open Access Fund and more

There are a number of UK/EU policies which guide the University in enhancing researcher development:

HR Excellence in Research logo

This website provides support and guidance for managing research data.

It will help ensure your data remains safe and valuable in the long-term, and complies with data policies from the University, research funders and publishers.




This content was written with reference to guidance provided by the UK Data Archive, the Digital Curation Centre, JISC, University of Sheffield, University of Oxford, University of Bath, University of Nottingham, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of Bristol, University of Leicester, University of Leeds, University of Cambridge, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Sheffield, DataCite and:
Corti, L., Van den Eynden, V., Bishop, L. and Woollard, M. (2014). Managing and sharing research data: a guide to good practice. London: SAGE Publications
Pryor, G. (2012). Managing research data. London: Facet Publishing


The University’s strategic investment in high quality, high profile research facilities over the past decade fosters innovation and creativity and reflects Salford's focus on real world, people-centred research.

Science and Engineering Research Facilities

SASSalford Analytical Services (SAS) is a specialised University commercial venture bringing together research, enterprise and state-of-the-art facilities. Run by senior technical consultant managers with over 45 years industrial experience between them, SAS has an excellent comprehensive collection of key analytical instruments. Our core  analytical  techniques include Microscopy, Spectroscopy, and X-Ray Diffraction.

As well as providing an invaluable service to researchers in the University, SAS works with many major blue chip organisations, providing expert consultancy support for problem-solving and routine analytical requirements.

Additional research facilities within the School of Computing, Science and Engineering, administered by the School's STAR Commercial Enterprise Unit include Cestode Diagnostics, Engineering & Design Consultancy, Salford Glycomics, Heavy Structures Testing,     Rapid Prototyping     , Thermal Lab and Wind Tunnels.

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Energy House

Energy Salford website…

Energy HouseSalford Energy House is an “old-build” traditional Salford  style  house (c.1920s) that has been constructed from reclaimed materials to represent 20% of the UK’s current building stock.

The house has been constructed within an environmentally controllable laboratory in which levels of heat, light, humidity and even wind can be independently adjusted and managed; enabling the development and testing of new low-carbon materials, technologies and products.

For further details please contact Steve Waterworth, Energy Hub Manager, at or on 0161 295 6347.

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THINKlab – Space to Think

THINKlab website...

ThinkLabTHINKlab is a futuristic and spacious research environment with state-of-the-art  facilities.  Colour, light, sound and technology combine to provide an atmospheric, stylish space that stimulates debate, collaboration and innovation and facilitates research related to Information and Communication Technologies, providing answers to challenges faced by industry, commerce and the community.

THINKlab is committed to conducting interdisciplinary research to address complex social, economic and environmental challenges. Research at the Thinklab aims to develop innovative digital solutions to the challenges faced by industry and the community.

For further details please email or on 0161 295 6579.

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Acoustics Facilities

Acoustics website…

Acoustics LabSalford has world class acoustic facilities which include an anechoic  chamber,  semi-anechoic chambers, transmission suite, reverberation chamber, silencer test rig, listening rooms, recording studios, music technology and video suites. 

For further details, please contact Professor Yui Wai Lam, or on 0161 295 5684.

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The Digital Media Performance Lab

This high-end performance space opened in October 2011 at the University’s new campus at MediaCityUK in Salford Quays.

The technical facilities of the DMPL combine the technology of a TV studio, the excitement and entertainment of live theatre with the visual experience of cinema. Its technical infrastructure is that of a black box  theatre,  hard wired over a grid at floor and ceiling grid levels controlled from a fully equipped flexible control room with verbal connection via a digital intercom system.

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Centre for Rehabilitation and Human Performance Research Gait Lab

Centre for Rehabilitation and Human Performance Research Gait Lab web site…

This suite of equipment is designed to collect objective data on human kinetics and kinematics, muscular activity and other physiological measures. It features the latest motion tracking and analysis software, and is currently being enhanced by infrastructure funding. It is at the forefront  of  multidisciplinary clinical research at Salford.

Centre for Rehabilitation & Human Performance Research Gait Lab

For further details, please contact Rich Jones, Gait Lab Director, at or on 0161 295 2295.

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The Centre for Virtual Environments and Future Media

Centre for Virtual Environments and Future Media website…

Centre for Virtual Environments and Future MediaThis is the UK's leading centre researching  telepresence  and has an unprecedented critical mass of systems and hardware to support its research goals, including ‘the Octave’, a reconfigurable octagonal projection system that can be broken down and recompiled into many types of industrially familiar systems to assess best fit for emerging  applications.

For further details, please contact John O'Hare at or on 0161 295 3237.

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Nursing Simulation Suites

The School of Health and Society is home to state-of-the-art facilities which enable students to practice new skills in a safe environment under the supervision of a qualified practitioner.

The simulation suite for the School of Health and Society is situated in the Mary Seacole Building and boasts an array of state-of-the-art facilities.

If you are interested in hiring these facilities, then please contact Elaine Greenhalgh (School Operations Manager) via email or call +44 (0)161 295 3181.


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Innovative and relevant research to inform public policy

The Salford Institute for Public Policy (SIPP) has been launched at the University of Salford to promote policy-relevant research from across the campus and link researchers with the public sector. Read more about SIPP»

Academic innovation and expertise

We build on over 100 years of technical innovation to produce internationally recognised research that delivers outputs and impacts that are of international significance. We specialise in innovative and applied research that addresses the pressing important social and technological issues. Our recent developments at MediaCityUK are using digital technologies to find interactive new ways to engage with old problems. In the last RAE, the University of Salford was placed in the top third of UK universities for research power; with the large majority of our submissions judged ‘world-leading’, ‘internationally excellent’ or ‘internationally recognised’.

Real-world engagement

Our realistic solutions to public policy questions are grounded in our real-world approach to listening to experiences and identifying actual problems being faced every day. The University builds on the industrial traditions of Salford and Manchester to engage with the real issues affecting people in the 21st Century. The University of Salford is recognised as being at the forefront of community engagement in the UK and this helps inform the relevance of our research. We work with agencies and individuals to understand each other better and produce research that is both informed by, and matters to our communities. Our research then addresses these issues in an applied and realistic way.

Constructive policy partnerships

Our close working partnerships with policymakers, practitioners and the third sector ensures that our experts can produce constructive solutions that are meaningful and relevant. We have developed a reputation among our partners for being responsive to their needs in our research and dissemination. Our experts provide clear messages that can be used by policymakers. A hallmark of our research is that it does not just provide a critical academic eye, but focuses on constructive messages for stakeholders. We recognise that to impact positively on social issues, we need to provide forward-looking answers. We work closely with partners to ensure that our findings translate into useful recommendations that can inform their work and help transform lives.

Download our Policy Solutions leaflet»

The Salford approach

Our combination of research expertise and engagement with real-world issues that matter produces clear and relevant policy solutions that address policy makers' concerns and help to transform lives.

Our approach in delivering relevant policy solutions is guided by the consistent application of the following principles:

  • Understand and respond to the needs of policy makers and communities in an applied and realistic way
  • Rigorously investigate public policy problems through excellent and innovative research
  • Engage with our communities to inform the relevance of our research to everyday lives
  • Provide stakeholders with clear and constructive messages
  • Work closely with our policy and practice partners to find forward looking solutions that transform and enhance lives

Briefing papers on government areas


The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK  higher education institutions (HEIs) replacing the previous Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).

REF is undertaken by the four UK higher education funding bodies. The purpose of the REF is to

  • Inform the selective allocation of research funding to HEIs      
  • Provide benchmarking information and establish reputational yardsticks      
  • Provide accountability for public investment in research and demonstrate its benefits.

REF 2021

The next REF exercise will be in 2021 with submission expected in late 2020.

The Initial Decisions on the REF 2021 were published on 1st September 2017 and the report can be downloaded below. The second set of decisions are anticipated in late autumn 2017. In the meantime, news and information can be found on the HEFCE blog, which frequently publishes articles relating to the REF.

Follow us on Twitter for Research and REF news and updates.

Initial Decisions on the Research Excellence Framework 2021

This document was published on 1st September 2017 and sets out the initial decisions by the funding bodies following consultation for the next REF exercise. Here you can download the document in PDF and Word formats. The document and accompanying circular letter and notes can also be viewed here, on the HEFCE website.

REF 2021 Proposed Timetable

Below you can see the proposed indicative timetable for REF 2021. You can click on individual lines for HEFCE news pertaining to those items.

1st August 2013Start period for income and impacts
1st January 2014Start of period for outputs
Noon on Friday 17th March 2017Consultation deadline
Mid-2017Publish initial decisions on the next REF
Mid-2017Appoint panel chairs

Autumn 2017

Invite nominations for panel members

Further decisions on the arrangements for submitting staff and outputs

Winter 2017-18

Appoint panels

Spring 2018

Panels meet to develop criteria

Summer to Autumn 2018

Publish draft guidance, and consultation on panel criteria

Winter 2018-19

Publish final guidance and criteria


Complete preparation of submission systems


Submission phase


Assessment phase

HEFCE Consultation on the second Research Excellence Framework

In December 2016 the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) published a document that set out the proposals of the four UK higher education funding bodies for the REF. The proposals sought to build on the first REF in 2014 and to incorporate Lord Stern’s Review of the REF. Responses  were invited from higher education institutions and groups/organisations with an interest in the conduct, quality, funding or use of research and the deadline was 17th March 2017. Here you can view and download the University of Salford’s submitted response.