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The University of Southampton
About us

The University strategy

Our mission: to change the world for the better

The University of Southampton is an exceptional place whose people achieve remarkable things. We are a world-leading, research-intensive university, with a strong educational offering, renowned for our innovation and enterprise. This is a great platform from which to sharpen our focus with our new strategy.

It’s a very simple strategy. It’s about our aspirations. It’s about building our reputation. It’s about being simply better than our competitors at what we do.

COVID-19 Response Bridging Strategy

The impact of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic requires us to reaffirm what matters to us most as a diverse community and to develop an interim strategy that will enable us to emerge from it strongly and safely.

This Bridging Strategy sets out guiding principles that will inform how we assess risk, make decisions and take actions over the next 12-18 months. It will help us to navigate both the impacts of COVID-19 as we experience them today and its future health and economic uncertainties.

This is not meant to be a detailed route map, nor is it meant to replace our University Strategy, which can be found below and will be refreshed in due course. This is a pragmatic, short-term approach to help us stay focussed on the University’s vision and long-term ambitions, while we are navigating this pandemic together.

Read our Bridging Strategy

Our strategy

We will strengthen our reputation, increasing our national and international rankings to secure a position in the top 10 in the UK and top 100 internationally.

Our ranking increases our reputation and our reputation increases our ranking.

A reputation for delivering excellence and an exemplary student experience will lead to greater demand from the best student applicants, sustained support from research funders and strong support from our alumni.

Supporting strategies

We have three supporting strategies underpinning our University strategy, these are:

Discover the details of the strategy

Our core principles

Central to the success of our strategy and underpinning all of our activities are four principles:

Collegiality: one team working, planning and delivering together, toward our shared vision.

Quality: always striving to achieve the highest quality in everything we do.

Internationalisation: delivering across global markets and building strong partnerships with other leading organisations.

Sustainability: ensuring our actions lead to financial, social and environmental sustainability.

Published: 12 May 2016.

Discover more about our strategy

Our values

All of our activities will be underpinned by the values determined by our community:


We aspire to be the best in all we do, inspiring the confidence and ambition that enable our staff and students to reach their full potential.


We are imaginative and resourceful, thriving in an environment that values independent thought and encourages originality and innovation amongst its staff and students.


We achieve more together; we are an inclusive, collegial community that builds tolerance, respect, and mutual support amongst staff and students.


We are committed to the highest standards. Our personal and institutional conduct is consistent and honest, engendering trust between and within our University communities.

Our vision

Our University community is committed to the highest quality in everything we do.

We have a global reputation for our passion and ability to work collaboratively in delivering world-class education, research and innovation that makes a real impact on society’s biggest challenges.

Our exceptional students share in these journeys of discovery and become confident thinkers who can realise their full potential.

Our future success

We will develop graduates who are confident global citizens, equipped to make a positive contribution to the world. Our knowledge and technologies, developed through our research and applied through our enterprise, will have real economic and social benefit for the world.

People will choose Southampton because of its reputation for quality and to play a part in changing the world. Our staff will say it is a great place to work, where they are encouraged to be creative and are part of a team that achieves more together.

We will be a university consistently ranked in the top 10 nationally and top 100 internationally. Our student satisfaction will be among the highest in the country, reflected in the National Student Survey (NSS). Our graduate prospects will be among the best. Our entry tariff will reflect our reputation as a leading university, with completion rates and good degrees reflecting our commitment to fully developing the potential of our students.

Our world-leading research will underpin an excellent Research Excellence Framework (REF) position. We will achieve all of this while improving our sustainability and generating a surplus that allows us to invest in our University.

Our goals

It is important that we set ourselves a number of challenging but achievable goals. These are aligned to our four principles and will be instrumental in achieving our strategic ambitions.

Collegiality (innovation and growth/people) Quality (internal process)

Provide an excellent staff experience

Improve management and leadership at all levels

Develop agile governance and increased risk appetite.

Improve the student experience

Develop high-quality systems and infrastructure

Improve the quality of research applications

Develop five strategic partnerships each worth >£5m

Improve the quality of the students we recruit

Increase numbers of international students

Improve student employability

Recruit and retain high-quality staff.

National and international reputation (customer) Sustainability (financial)

Improve league table rankings and reputation

Improve the quality of our education

Grow a strong international alumni community

Deliver impactful research.

Deliver the ability to invest

Develop sustainable smooth income

Improve research overhead recovery

Improve productivity

Increase revenue from ‘other’ sources (eg philanthropy).

Delivering the vision

We have a coherent set of plans to help us achieve our strategic goals.

University of Southampton staff can read more about the implementation plans on our Strategy SharePoint site.

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