Faculty Research Strategy 2017-2020

Research activity is integral to the function of the Faculty of Health and Medicine, as an important academic activity and to support our mission to deliver research-led teaching.


To be nationally and internationally recognised for our distinctive research, in health, clinical, biomedical and life sciences which will address national and international challenges.

To achieve this our priorities will be:

  • To support distinctive areas of research excellence (themes) that:
    • address national and international challenges in health, biomedicine and life sciences
    • provide evidence and advice that is influential and impactful
    • are sustainable.
  • To promote inter-disciplinary approaches.
  • To support the development of health and clinical research strengths in our partners.

Summary of strategy


The principal aim of this strategy is to enhance excellence through high quality and high impact research. Alongside this, we also want to be well prepared for the next REF.  To achieve these aims it is important that the strategy reflects the current and emerging University strategy for research and Impact.

Key elements of the strategy

  • We will target investment to increase our strength and depth in themes that emerged as strengths from the 2014 REF and those that will be developed in the future.  To enable this, we have created a system of support to promote these themes, including the appointment of ‘Theme Leads’, and as part of increasing the depth we will include clinically-focused research in a number of these themes.

    The themes are:

    • Ageing (including End of Life Care, Neurodegeneration and Cancer, which may develop into independent themes)
    • Mental Health
    • Health Information, Computation and Statistics
    • Infectious Disease Transmission and Biology
    • Social and Economic Inequality in Public Health
  • We will modify and add themes as necessary dependent on relevance to the Divisional, Faculty and University research strategy, evidence of excellence (e.g. highly rated publications, evidence of influence on policy) and critical mass of funding and personnel. Proposals for new themes should be made in the first instance to the ADR and will be assessed by critical review by the Dean, ADR and the divisional research directors and followed by recommendation to PRC.
  • We will ensure that theme development supports and enhances our successful teaching profiles.
  • We will support the University Research strategy to develop 'Centres' and 'Institutes'.  This will include FHM driving the creation of new Centres and/or Institutes where there is significant research strength and depth or combining resources with other Faculties particularly in 'Digital health' with FST.
  • We will undertake a range of activities to drive a significant increase in research income from major funders including:
    • improving our application and success rate with key funders (especially BBSRC, MRC, ESRC, EU, NIHR, Wellcome Trust, AMRC and the private sector) enhanced in collaboration with the four Research Development Managers;
    • increasing the number of post-doctoral fellowships by staff identifying suitable high level candidates and assisting with their application or by attracting independent potential and awarded fellowship post-doctoral researchers to the Faculty.
    • targeting our use of smaller grants expressly to provide a platform for future bids for larger scale funding and developing early career profiles
    • increasing the volume of inter-disciplinary research (including research with the NHS and industry)  through direct collaboration or through opportunities in the N8 group.
    • establishing strong and productive relationships with a small range of international university partners with the development of at least one major international research partnership. 
    • growing (and making more prominent) our agreed 'strategic research themes' particularly with respect to developing a focus on population approaches to health.
    • developing capacity and capability for clinically focused research within those themes including engagement with NHS partners and the Innovation Agency (NWC AHSN) through the  Lancaster Health Hub;
    • Increasing our publication output and maximising the proportion of research outputs judged to be 3* or 4*. 
    • maintaining and enhancing our research environment;
    • Increasing representation on RCUK award and strategy panels.
  • We will develop and implement plans for engaging effectively with key stakeholders in the sector, with a particular focus on:
    • being active in establishing the Health Innovation Campus;
    • developing and deepening our engagement with the commercial sector;
    • an active and integrated knowledge exchange strategy.
  • We will undertake a range of activities to promote the highest quality outputs and maximising the proportion of research outputs judged to be 3* or 4*.  This will include the development of discipline-based publication strategies and an awareness of the importance of citation.
  • We will develop and implement approaches to maximise the impact of our research.
    • We will undertake a range of activities designed to maximise the impact of our research.  This will include:
      • public engagement and knowledge exchange activities
      • information capture of impact cases
      • education and mentorship through a structured system of Impact Champions working with LU Impact Support Officers.
    • We will ensure our impact strategy reflects that of the University
  • Our research environment will be further enhanced. This will include staff development and career paths (including staff development, career enhancement and opportunities for early career staff), seeking out opportunities to increase PGR student numbers and the promotion of collaborative research and sharing of research through participation in meetings, seminars and away days.
    • We will ensure that there are opportunities for staff to develop their research capability
    • We will review our approach to workload allocation for research – for example considering how we can best ensure effective time for grant writing and impact activities, and how we can use time allocation to incentivise grant applications.
    • We will ensure that key, effective supporting activities are in place, such as Faculty-level peer review of research proposals, maximising the effectiveness of the FHM Research Committee and creating close links with the University Research Director and Research and Enterprise Services.
  • We will undertake a range of actions specifically designed to prepare for the next REF – in particular establishing effective continuous recording and tracking of research outputs and impact.