University Structure

Glasgow’s college system enables interdisciplinary collaboration while fostering a sense of belonging. We have four Colleges, each bringing together the research and teaching expertise of a number of schools.

Organised Research Structures

There are a number of ways to enhance collaborative research activities through the establishment of organised research structures. These include Groups, Clusters, Centres and Networks.

Structure Definitions

The definitions below outline the types of organised research structures available and the procedures, if any, required for creation.

Research Groups

A Research Group typically comprises one or more academic leader(s) and a team of postdoctoral researchers and/or research students pursuing research in a single discipline.

Research Groups may be established without the requirement for formal approval.

Research Clusters

A Research Cluster may be established, typically within a School or perhaps crossing School boundaries, to bring research groups together to promote and develop research in a discipline or collection of disciplines. Clusters are open, and fluid in membership, but the activities might develop into a formally constituted Research Centre.

Research Clusters may be established without the requirement for formal approval.

Research Centres

A Research Centre has as its mission the development of a competitive portfolio of research and the establishment of an international reputation for leadership in the chosen theme. Leadership will be evidenced, for example, by the volume of high quality publications the Centre produces, a growing volume of income generated from external sources, its output of trained, employable people at Doctoral and Postdoctoral level, the esteem of its academic staff and the impact of its outputs on academic and non-academic stakeholders.

Centres may cross School, Institute and/or College boundaries. They may also form partnerships with external organisations, in which case specially negotiated constitutional arrangements may apply. In all cases, Centres will have a designated lead / home School or Institute.

Centres create an identity and, where appropriate, a shared environment for specialist thematic, normally multi-disciplinary, research bringing together academic staff and postgraduate students working together on common interests.

Each Centre will be led by a Director, normally appointed competitively from amongst the existing staff complement of the University and, in the case of externally funded Centres, in consultation with the funding agency.

A Centre will not be established if its anticipated lifetime is less than 5 years. However, a Centre which is not delivering its mission may be closed prematurely. Centres will undergo annual review up to Year 5, followed by five-yearly reviews thereafter. The reviews will be led by College and University Senior Management to assess past performance and the future strategy of the Centre. For Centres funded by external agencies, such reviewing might be based on regular external reviews organised by those agencies.

In order to be granted Centre status, a formal application must be approved by the University. More information on Research Centres, including the process for applying for Centre status, can be found here.

Research Networks

A Research Network brings together a range of researchers (academic staff, postdoctoral and graduate students) to develop their common interests in an emerging or strategically significant research theme. Networks will have part-time Directors and administrative support to build the community, establish internal and external presence, organise activities including workshops, seminars and conferences, and promote bids for research funding. 

Networks will be characterised by being cross-disciplinary, with clear and extensive cross-college interactions, demonstrated through the active participation of members in the network. It is also preferable that the network be outward facing, with a clear engagement strategy with external users, including industry, NHS, policy makers, government and the third sector, as appropriate. 

RSIO is able to provide financial support to a small number of networks; the decision on whether to fund a network will be made by RSIO on application. Note that any funding award will be profiled in order that, after an agreed period of resourcing, the network and its administrative structure becomes sustainable through external funding.

Network directors are required to submit an annual report of their activities and their plans for the subsequent year.

In order to be granted Network status, a formal application must be approved by the University. More information on Research Networks, including the process for applying for Network status, can be found here.