University news

Launching our flagship research institutes

Researchers at the University of Sheffield are passionate about tackling the great global challenges of our time. Four new research institutes have been created to bring together our key strengths and turn interdisciplinary and translational research into real-world solutions.

As the climate changes and the global population increases, the need for sustainable methods of energy and food production is abundantly clear. The challenge is to achieve safe and secure food and energy for all, while taking a long-term view of environmental sustainability and ensuring equity of access. Improving health and quality of life is a worthwhile goal in itself, but a secondary important factor is reducing the associated health and social care costs.

The institutes are based on outstanding academic strength and dynamic leadership. They will support and engage with key stakeholders – we already have strong links in each subject area with industry, government, academia and people directly affected by the issues in the UK and internationally. Professor Koen Lamberts, President and Vice-Chancellor, said, “The University of Sheffield delivers exceptional research across many areas of global importance. These multidisciplinary flagships will bring together expertise from across all faculties to focus on delivering real-world solutions to some of the biggest global challenges. They provide a key opportunity to gain more recognition for our world-leading research strengths.”

A bold and ambitious vision:

Energy Institute at the University of Sheffield investigates low-carbon solutions to the world’s biggest energy challenges.

Neuroscience Institute at the University of Sheffield investigates neurological and sensory conditions – including chronic pain and motor neurone disease.

Healthy Lifespan Institute at the University of Sheffield investigates the biological and socio-economic drivers of disease and ageing and looks at how we can intervene to support healthy ageing for all.

Institute for Sustainable Food at the University of Sheffield investigates dynamic solutions to the challenges of food security and sustainability.

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The Flagship institutes

Rising to the top

The University of Sheffield has been ranked within the top 100 universities in the world, reaffirming its position as a leading global university for teaching and research. We are:

  • Number one in Yorkshire, 13th in the UK and 78th internationally out of 1001 universities in the QS World University Rankings 2020.
  • Number one in the UK for engineering research income and investment, according to HESA.
  • 62nd out of more than 500 institutions across the world for teaching and research in the arts and humanities in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings by subject 2018, a rise of five places from the previous year.

Jessop West, home of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

The alumni connection

Koen Lamberts portrait

Professor Koen Lamberts, President and Vice-Chancellor

Our new President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Koen Lamberts, outlines his commitment to building and maintaining links with our worldwide community of alumni.

Sheffield is known across the world for the excellence, impact and distinctiveness of its research and teaching, and for being a university with a passion for transforming lives for the better. I feel proud and privileged to have been appointed as your new President and Vice-Chancellor and I have greatly enjoyed getting to know the University and the city since I joined in November.

Of course, as alumni, you know all about this too. You have been taught by great minds and inspiring teachers, formed lifelong friendships and gone out into the world knowing the positive impact that a Sheffield degree can have on your life and career. Whether you graduated in 2018 or 1978, live nearby or thousands of miles away, that connection remains.

Whether you graduated in 2018 or 1978, live nearby or thousands of miles away, that connection remains.”

Over the past few months, I have had the opportunity to meet many alumni, both in Sheffield and across the world. I have been so impressed by your passion for Sheffield and your commitment to giving back.

This could be joining us in our quest to tackle some of the greatest global challenges facing humanity today by supporting our new research flagship institutes; by helping disadvantaged students to study here with a scholarship; or it could be by getting involved in our hugely successful Alumni Volunteering programme to guide and inspire current students.

However you choose to connect with your University, I am looking forward to working together with you over the coming months and years to drive Sheffield and our students forward to even greater success.

Campus updates

Creating the best possible environment for students, staff, local residents and visitors.

– Construction work has begun on an exciting new Social Sciences building around Northumberland Road. Designed with sustainability at its core, it will provide a multidisciplinary hub for learning and teaching across the faculty.

– The redevelopment of the Concourse, linking the Students’ Union to Firth Court and the Alfred Denny Building, is now complete. Highlights include new lighting, paving, seating and an art wall.

– The facilities at Norton Sports Park have expanded with the construction of two high-quality artificial pitches – one for hockey and one for rugby and football.

– The transformation of the Sir Frederick Mappin Building with the creation of the Engineering Heartspace is nearing completion, along with the total refurbishment of the building and the adjacent 1885 Central Wing.

– The Leavygreave Road Plantables Scheme, which combines new street furniture, artwork, plants and trees along the shared space for pedestrians and cyclists, received the Open Spaces Award and the Keith Hayman Award for Public Art at the Sheffield Design Awards 2018. Part-funded by the Sheffield City Region Investment Fund, the scheme is part of the University’s Public Realm Project, working in partnership with Sheffield City Council to make better links with local communities and the wider city.

An artist’s impression of the new Social Science facility.



Jim O'Neill

Lord Jim O’Neil speaks at the launch of the Productivity Insights Network.

The productivity puzzle

It’s one of the most pressing challenges facing the UK, but what can we do to better understand productivity? Alumnus Lord Jim O’Neill (BA Economics 1978, MA Economics 1980, Hon LittD 2014) has launched a major research project – the Productivity Insights Network (PIN) – led by the University of Sheffield to do just that. 

Henry Mills

Medical student Henry Mills

What makes a good doctor?

Students in the Medical School are going out into the community to work with local people as part of the University’s pioneering new Social Accountability Scheme. Its aim? To encourage students to be accountable health professionals who work in the spirit of social justice in their future practice. Last year, 223 third-year students volunteered with 69 charities, organisations and support services across South Yorkshire.

Focus on multilingual reading

Illustration of children reading

Younger readers now have access to over 500 books in languages from across the world in Sheffield Central Children’s Library’s new multilingual book section. Developed by Dr Sabine Little (PhD Education 2006) from the School of Education with funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Other Worlds Research Initiative, the project will monitor how families engage with the available resources, and assess what impact the library has on language and identity development.



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