Research Strategy Summary

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Through our Research Strategy we strive to be world leaders in archaeological research by addressing the most pressing challenges society faces, diversifying our research funding portfolio and enhancing our academic collaboration and stakeholder engagement. The School's major strength lies in its diverse and extensive research that spans natural, social, and historical sciences. Our commitment to an apprenticeship approach supports researchers at all levels, and our Athena Swan action plan underscores our dedication to diversity and to overcoming gender and other interrelated inequalities

In REF 2021, our performance was judged outstanding. Of all our outputs, 80.7% were ranked 3 and 4 star. We also more than doubled our external research funding income during the last REF cycle (2014-2021). Looking ahead, our strategy acknowledges the challenges posed by global events, and emphasises resilience in the face of an evolving funding landscape. 

To that end, our collective research converges on four key themes:

  • Societal challenges past and present
  • Landscape
  • Innovation in archaeological practice
  • Being human in deep time

Our Research Strategy’s main purpose is to facilitate the achievement of our goals. We are diversifying research income, nurturing strategic research activities, strengthening engagement with external stakeholders, and advancing integrity, ethics and openness in research. This strategy also outlines how we aim to do this through balanced academic appointments and monitoring of workloads to protect research time.

Our strategy emphasizes the importance of diversity in research methods and topics and ensures an integrated approach across the human, social, and natural sciences. One way we do so is through a variety of purpose-built labs each of which is dedicated to the generation of empirical datasets across multiple biological and earth-system scales. 
Our commitment to openness is demonstrated by our provision of software, tools, and databases. In addition, we are committed to collaborating with local communities, businesses, and policymakers, and actively participating in the Open Science agenda. Our strategy also highlights the mission-critical role that professional and technical services staff play in supporting research activities across the School

Ultimately, our Research Strategy positions the School of Archaeology to thrive in a challenging environment, with a focus on excellence, diversity, resilience, and openness.