The School of Architecture is committed to engage in world-leading research that address social, environmental and architectural challenges locally, nationally and internationally.
It provides a vibrant, dynamic and inspirational research environment that facilitates a diverse, inclusive and critical research culture that comprises the work of all staff and students. Focusing on the practice, theory and history of architecture, our research encourages critical and new ways of designing, making and thinking, as well as of predicting design performance and evaluating the consequences of design decisions. Multi-disciplinary and international in scope, developed in partnership with industry and communities, and supported by state of the art resources, the school fosters cultural, creative, intellectual and technological innovation that results in practice-relevant and policy-driven outputs.
The School of Architecture enjoys an excellent reputation for the quality of its research and is internationally recognised for work across a wide range of fields, including low carbon building, architectural engineering, development and emergency practice, vernacular architecture and the architectural humanities. The School promotes design as a research-led activity and consciously harnesses the areas of research excellence, including practice-led research, to inform student learning.
Research practices in the School of Arts are rich and diverse ranging from archival research into aspects of historical musicology, book history, popular music and film theory to practice-based research investigating the phenomenology of sound, the creation of artefacts, the curation of events and a variety of creative practices and methodologies. At REF2014 the SoA returned research outputs to UoA34 (Arts & Design), UoA 35 (Music and Performing Arts) and UoA 36 (Communication, Cultural and Media Studies &c.). This diversity is a strength and one that the SoA will seek to build on as we plan for REF2021. Significantly 26% the return for UoA 35 was graded as 4*. Our vision is to builds on areas of strength; build critical mass across each area; seek strategies to build on current successes in external research funding; and support each of the researchers in the SoA through QR, wlp and the further development of our research groups.
The key strategy for achieving these aims is the further development of the research groups that have grown up around areas of excellence in the SoA. Theses include FSRU (Film Studies), OBERTO (Opera Studies), PCRG (Print Culture), PMRU (Popular Music), SARU (Sound Art) and SSRU (Social Sculpture). In addition to these established groups a new group has been formed this year to support researchers in digital media. The activities of these groups are support through mentoring from the SoA Research Lead and funds from QR.
At the heart of the SoA vision for research is the goal to increase the percentage of staff returning to future research assessments. This figure was already over 80% at REF2014 but through careful mentoring and targeted wlp and QR support this figure could increase. The key to our research strategy is to value each of our researchers and through the research planning cycle ensure that they have the opportunity to reach their potential and engage fully with the SoA research culture.
School of the Built Environment
The School of the Built Environment at Oxford Brookes University is renowned as a centre of excellence for research that can change the world we live in for the better. Our work has real life significance to communities, industry and governments at all scales; from local neighbourhoods to global cities and transnational regions. It is highlighted by a strong multidisciplinary ethos and the conviction that through partnership with other stakeholders we can co-create knowledge to advance our understanding of societal, environmental and professional challenges in the Built Environment and provide solutions.
The breadth of our work from planning and urban design to construction and real estate provides the capacity for a critical evaluation of the full cycle of urban growth and development. We aim to contribute to understanding of the drivers of urban change and societal shifts, policy design and implementation, and theoretical and methodological knowledge of the complex interrelated connections that shape our cities and the way we interact with them.
Supporting research talent across the range of our activities we aim to develop new horizons particularly focusing on cross cutting themes. These are focused on:
- Designing and planning for resilience and climate change
- People, energy and buildings
- Property markets and sustainable development
- Smart and sustainable construction
- Spatial planning and mobility, and
- Governance, inclusive communities and livelihoods
School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics - Computing
Our vision is to be a centre of world-leading research with global impact that is recognised internationally.
We plan to achieve this by significantly strengthening the quality of our well-established research centres: the Intelligent Systems Engineering Research Centre (ISERC) and the Dependable Systems Engineering Research Centre (DSERC). We will build their critical mass by encouraging all academic staff to participate in their activities and thereby pursue successful research careers. Quality will be maintained by concentrating research effort on areas in which we are already internationally renowned such as: computer vision, robotics, computer design, AI, formal methods, e-learning and internet of things.
The research of the department is traditionally very pragmatic and practical, focusing on near-to-market innovation. We plan to build on our excellent reputation as a successful collaborator with local companies, often formalised through KTP projects. This synergy between the University and industry will be strengthened by seeking other external funding to work on ideas in-house for a number of years before commercialisation. All staff are therefore encouraged to apply for funding for collaborative interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary projects both within and beyond the University. Staff who are new to grant applications are supported through through weekly sessions that include advice and feedback from more experienced staff.
School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics - Engineering and Mathematics
We are committed to developing a broad range of engineering and mathematical competences to produce world class research that is focused on solving a broad range of global challenges. Alongside other avenues, we have focused on areas such as:
- sustainable transport and sustainable engineering;
- Electronic Instrumentation and Control for Biomedical and Automotive Applications;
- Generic principles for reducing technical risk;
- reducing emissions and soot from conventional and hybrid power trains;
- light-weighting in transport applications;
- use of novel materials, assembly and disassembly techniques for structures;
- whole life energy and emissions analyses;
- improving energy efficiency.
Our vision is to produce research that will:
- Contribute to transforming lives by tackling global challenges;
- Seek to maximise the impact and reach of our findings, through external collaboration and promotion;
- Develop and support our research community
- Continue to inform our curriculum and underpin an outstanding student experience.
The objectives to achieve this are to:
- increase and diversify the funding portfolio;
- increase knowledge transfer and public engagement activities;
- attract more postgraduate research students and provide high-quality training;
- enhance the quality of the research environment;
- enhance research profile and reputation;
- increase the number of external collaborations and the benefits from these.