the University main building looking south over Glasgow

Innovation can literally change the world and that has proudly been our mission at the University of Glasgow since our inception in 1451.

Our Strategic Plan

Underpinned by our values, we will create the foundations for a world-class innovation university over the next three years through three enabling themes:

  • Change mindsets
  • Connect our innovation community
  • Invest in our enabling infrastructure.

Alongside this, we have developed four key delivery pillars to demonstrate our priorities for action:

  • Grow and accelerate our innovation portfolios
  • Create partnerships that matter
  • Expand access to our knowledge and expertise
  • Create impact in our communities.

Enabling themes

An entrepreneurial mindset is the cornerstone to inspiring innovation

We are a world top 100 university and an internationally established leader in research and teaching. However, we are behind the curve when it comes to translating our world-class research outputs into tangible, positive outcomes that make the difference we want to see locally, nationally and globally. We must challenge the thinking that innovation comes at the expense of other traditional research and teaching activities.

We must ethically and sustainably excel in all three areas to ensure we are relevant and responsive in delivering solutions to meet the needs of tomorrow’s world.

Innovation is inherently risky, with no guarantees – managing expectations and learning from failure is part of the shared brief. Together, we will build our institutional confidence by providing the right expertise, incentives and enabling infrastructure to drive our ambitions forward.

Doris Ruth Eikhof

Our Priorities

We will ... 

People drive our world-changing innovation

Innovation is a creative process with people and their ideas at its heart. It demands collaboration, a deep understanding of research disciplines, an unconventional way of thinking and diverse skill sets beyond the traditional research track.

An innovation team’s role is to provide specialist expertise and to challenge everything. It is not just about drawing out what an academic can evidence – it’s about guiding them to gain a sharper understanding of the problem they are ultimately trying to solve and how their work can contribute to this goal.

Providing our staff with inspiring and equitable experiences and career avenues through innovation is essential.

Fuelling the potential of our people also requires development of powerful and dynamic networks with our alumni, our diverse range of partners and our investors to generate communities that share and embody at their core our University values and ambitions.

Asen Asenov

Our Priorities

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Developing spaces that nurture our creativity, disrupt silos and attract the brightest minds

The creation of innovation spaces sets the physical foundations of an enabling innovation ecosystem. Carefully designed curation of buildings and surrounding areas creates the meeting places of brilliant minds, world-changing ideas and on a university campus, the first home for new ventures that have been nurtured and supported by professionals to launch into successful businesses.

Whether on our campus, or located within our innovation district, investment in infrastructure creates the ability to forge closer ties with business, public sector, social enterprise, investors and communities. It supports the development of industry clusters in partnership with our national agencies by attracting inward investment and encouraging businesses to co-locate with academics in our areas of research excellence.

We will capitalise on the opportunity created through the physical proximity to our Advanced Research Centre (ARC), School of Health & Wellbeing, the new Adam Smith Business School and our wider links to the city and enabling infrastructure. The convergence of staff and students will allow us to focus on the discovery of innovative solutions, promoting a collaborative and multidisciplinary approach which meets at the cutting edge of our research and teaching excellence.

Views of ASBS, ARC and Clarice Pears Buildings

Our Priorities

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Delivery pillars

Creation of intellectual assets drives our real-world impact

Creativity and ideas are the lifeblood of research. Research outcomes can produce intellectual assets with the potential to create new products and services, public policy initiatives, educational tools and resources and job creation. However, these intellectual assets are early stage and speculative opportunities. They require significant development, investment and entrepreneurial skill to de-risk and make them into proposals that are attractive for external partners to engage in realising their potential.

There have been successes, but we know that we have far greater potential given our excellent research base. We must create an enabling environment and notably increase the resources available to identify, support and accelerate the opportunities
with the greatest impact potential for external partnering and

We will build expertise and funding to develop a leading, progressive approach to reward innovation achievement by our staff and schools in all areas of the University.

We will grow our supply of world-changing innovations and facilitate greater uptake externally through licensing and new venture creation.

Dr Nicola Fenu and Dr Rebecca Cleary, Nami Surgical Ltd, a spin-out company  from the James Watt School of Engineering.

Our priorities

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Working with diverse and virtuous partners is our pathway to being world changing

Partnership is fundamental to inspiring, enabling and realising everything we aim to achieve. We cannot work alone.

Our partners and alumni bring a rich wealth of knowledge, perspective and skills alongside deep sector experience. They include industry, public and governmental bodies, NGOs, charities, universities, funders and alumni across local and global domains. A deep understanding of their needs and timescales is essential to unlocking innovative solutions.

Building partnerships takes time and effort. We will invest in professional expertise to support research staff in these conversations to nurture and secure new partnerships. Being easy to work with and agile in responding to partner needs must be our norm.

Grounding long-term strategic relationships requires commitment and multiple points of engagement into our organisation.

We will establish ourselves as a university partner of choice and make it easier to engage with us.

Dr Yusuf Sambo, Dr Shuja Ansari and Professor Muhammad Imran from the James Watt School of Engineering.

Our priorities

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Growing our global reach through academic consultancy

Consultancy is a powerful and effective mechanism for transferring the knowledge and expertise from our research base to external partners, creating solutions in answer to pressing challenges.

By catalysing the first connections with external partners, consultancy expands personal networks, establishes new collaborations and uncovers new research avenues and funding. Importantly though, it requires a different approach and skills that offer new and enriching career dimensions for our research staff.

While concentrated pockets of excellence in consultancy exist in our University there is much more to be done to open up the breadth and depth of our expertise to the wider world.

A shared understanding of the benefits of consultancy is vital in unlocking this potential. We will promote engagement across all our disciplines, remove barriers and develop clear support pathways to ensure that it is an easy, rewarding and productive endeavour for all of our research staff community as well as our partners.

Mrs Samantha Miller, Professor Stefan Siebert and Professor Neil Basu, School of Infection & Immunity

Our priorities

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Our research outputs have the ability to impact our society both locally and globally

The Glasgow Riverside Innovation District (GRID) is an ambitious partnership between the University, Scottish Enterprise, Glasgow City Council and the community to support a net zero innovation district that brings together public, private and social enterprises to deliver transformational change. Our focus will be on creating opportunity and lasting benefit for all through stimulating productive economic growth, attracting inward investment and improving the quality of life and wellbeing of citizens.

Through the GRID, we will help position Glasgow as one of the world’s most sustainable and resilient places to do business, live, learn and visit.

Glasgow is a participant in the pilot phase of the Levelling Up Innovation Accelerator, a £100m programme of investment across three city regions in the UK. With our University and business partners we have generated a broad portfolio of projects for the Glasgow City Region and GRID from which the Levelling Up Innovation Accelerator programme will fund £33m.

Our aim is to support projects that deliver benefits directly to the region and encompass a wide range of sectors, from STEM to creative arts and skills development. This portfolio approach applied to the Innovation Accelerator will ensure that the maximum impact in jobs and enterprise value will be applied to the Glasgow City Region.

Queen Elizabeth University Hospital

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Innovation and the SDGs

The University of Glasgow is committed to contributing to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through impactful, responsible and sustainable innovation activity. By contributing to the SDGs, we can help tackle the most pressing global challenges facing humanity and the natural world.

We recognise the opportunity our world-changing research and innovation has to make a material impact on this global movement.

This, our Innovation Strategy, reflects our commitment through its key enabling themes and delivery pillars in growing our partnerships, innovation outcomes and our economic contribution to growth and prosperity in Glasgow and beyond. We will further progress towards the SDGs through our support of projects that benefit our communities and create social, economic and environmental impact. Our creation of innovation opportunities, alongside the ecosystem and culture which encourages cross-sectoral collaboration are key to delivering on the SDGs. 

We are proud of our contribution to the SDGs, and our Innovation Strategy reflects our whole-of-institution approach to delivering impact, year on year.

Vision and mission

Our values

We will ...

Enabling themes

Delivery pillars