We write this strategy in one of the most disruptive times that our University has experienced, when so many in our research community are adapting to new ways of working and facing uncertainties in the wake of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the research sector is changing around us. More than ever, funders and government will be requiring us to work as teams – across specialties, job families, sectors and countries – to address the world’s biggest challenges.

This research strategy for 2020–25 acknowledges that things have changed, but in so doing it recognises that our core principles for research should stay the same: that we succeed as a university when individuals succeed in their careers, that we recognise the variety of contributions that are made to research, and that we value the quality of what we do over its quantity.

These values have helped us through the pandemic, and it is by reinforcing these principles that our research will continue to make a difference to knowledge and to people’s lives.

The research strategy for 2020–2025 has a simple message: by working in teams, building on each other’s ideas and making Glasgow the best place to develop a career, our research transforms lives and changes the world. 

Some of us might look at the direction of travel and not see ourselves reflected it in. If so, we should look again. The future is an inclusive one, and it will need all our skills: those of our research staff and students, of our technicians, and of our professional services staff.

The future requires looking beyond our boundaries and combining our ideas with those of others. Progress will come from new scientific technologies, but also from understanding people and societies, and how our knowledge of the past informs our expectations of the future. 

We celebrate the fact that research is redefining itself in positive ways: progress is not made merely by being productive, but by making a genuine difference, whether that is creating new knowledge, improving society or, just as important, developing people.

Post-COVID, the future will look a bit different from the one we had in mind; the difference we can make is more needed and more important than ever. We will try new things and, working together, we will change the world.