Research Strategy and Structure

Research Strategy

Abertay is a compact, focused University with an established reputation for working well across traditional research boundaries, as well as within new and emerging disciplines and sectors.

We are committed to high quality research that delivers real impact for society. From environmental research into sustainable businesses and food production, to using computer games as creative and critical tools to understand the behaviours and structures that drive and influence individuals in the societies in which they exist, our researchers are solving complex real-world problems to fuel innovation-led growth and sustainable development.

Society faces unprecedented socio-economic and environmental challenges, the continual emergence of sector disruptors, and the problems as well as benefits afforded by global connectivity and competition – these are truly wicked, complex challenges often requiring mixed discipline approaches.

The solutions to these challenges require the application of excellent fundamental research and creative cross- and inter-disciplinary approaches that consider the interplay amongst a mix of social, economic, environmental and technological concerns.

Our Research and Knowledge Exchange Strategy 2020-25 integrates our research into a single University-wide initiative where expertise from a range of subject areas is integrated and used to support discovery, innovation and applied research within and across traditional disciplinary boundaries. We have drawn on our industry-facing heritage and effective interdisciplinary practice, to enhance our existing expertise and internationally recognised successes; our research culture is inculcated into everything we do as a University.

Our structure promotes collaborative and interdisciplinary working, to break away from traditional academic models and address real-world challenges. Our academics and research staff focus and build excellence within diverse Research Groups, interact and innovate to build strength in our ways of working within Pooled Excellence areas, and collaborate with other discipline experts through our Challenge Spaces to deliver impact for society and the economy.

The Graduate School is central to our research community. The School grants membership to all students engaged in postgraduate study at Abertay.  Our purpose-designed forum, where researchers and postgraduates come together to work, learn, collaborate and socialise, supports a unique postgraduate community operating in a multi-disciplinary and creative environment. From projects developing novel and sustainable foods, to computer games programmes used for anti-cancer drug design, the School supports the University’s research community as a whole. In addition to providing a physical workspace, the Graduate School offers a comprehensive and integrated training and professional development programme to our research students and academics, to enhance research excellence, impact and individual employability.

Pooled Excellence

Emerging from the academic strengths of our Research Groups are Abertay’s Pools of Excellence, where researchers are brought together through shared methodologies and approaches, and can integrate our expertise in order to advance the core methodologies that drive our research and knowledge exchange forward.

We recognise that complex real-world problems cannot be solved by single disciplines alone. Our Pooled Excellence embodies characteristic ways of working that transcend problem spaces, to support discovery, innovation and applied research within and across traditional disciplinary boundaries.




Challenge Spaces

Strategic RKE activity is focused within and across Challenge Spaces addressing key local, national and international priorities that our research base best positions us to respond to. To address these Challenge Spaces we will draw on our research group expertise that is encapsulated in our Pooled Excellence, which represent cross-institutional of working. 

School Research

Our three academic schools: School of Business, Law and Social Science, School of Applied Sciences and the School of Design and Informatics have an outstanding record of conducting world-leading and internationally excellent research. Staff collaborate across divisions and with external partners to produce research that sparks new conversations, informs government policies and impacts lives for the better. Explore each school for a more detailed overview of what we are working on.


Research in the School of Business, Law & Social Science

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Division of Accounting, Business and Management

All aspects of business learning from management to accounting, HR to marketing. We train you thoroughly for the world of business.

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Division of Sociology

Degrees in Sociology, Criminology and Social Science give you the knowledge you need to make sense of the modern world.

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Division of Law

With work placements and overseas studies, our legal degrees are LLB accredited.

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Research in the School of Design and Informatics

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Division of Games and Arts

Internationally recognised research and courses in game design, computer games technology and computer arts.

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Division of Games Technology and Mathematics

The centre for degrees, research and knowledge in applied computer science, games technology and mathematics.

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Division of Cybersecurity

The world-renowned teaching centre for ethical hacking and cybersecurity .

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Research in the School of Applied Sciences

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Division of Engineering and Food Science

Inventive teaching and degree courses in civil and environmental engineering, and food, nutrition and health.

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Division of Health Sciences

Make a difference to health and well-being by combining academic and practice-based learning, with the NHS, the voluntary and private sectors.

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Division of Psychology and Forensic Sciences

Understand and analyse human behaviour in a friendly, supportive, and stimulating learning environment.

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Division of Sport and Exercise Sciences

Learn about sport and exercise coaching, development and management, the social sciences of sport, as well as sport and exercise science.

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ABERTAY NEWS29/10/2021

COP26: 11 innovative ways Abertay University is tackling climate change

Throughout COP 26 we’ll be highlighting a selection of the research projects...

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ABERTAY NEWS28/09/2021

Game design tool brings creative spark to Dundee Design Festival

Game design tool brings creative spark to Dundee Design Festival. Abertay Uni...

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ABERTAY NEWS20/08/2021

Abertay study finds Vitamin D and milk gives athletes boost

A new study from Abertay University shows athletes who consume vitamin D supp...

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Image shows Jamie Williams and Jordan Han outside the Abertay library
ABERTAY NEWS12/08/2021

Carbon capture gets video game treatment ahead of COP26

Abertay has teamed up with SSE Thermal to have students create a video game o...

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ABERTAY NEWS01/07/2021

Elite athletes paired with Covid sufferers for recovery promotion project

The Sport v Covid research project aims to make a difference through one-to-o...

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ABERTAY NEWS14/05/2021

Abertay renews partnership with The Northwood Charitable Trust

Institutions commit to working towards shared goals for the community

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ABERTAY NEWS23/04/2021

Abertay University helps roll-out Sustainable Food Places partnership

Abertay University is to help with the roll-out of a Sustainable Food Places...

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ABERTAY NEWS20/04/2021

Abertay students recreate Isle of Cumbrae in Minecraft

Abertay students have recreated tourist hotspot the Isle of Cumbrae in Minecr...

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ABERTAY NEWS22/03/2021

Research reveals cybercriminals are leveraging Covid announcements

The new study from Dr Lynsay Shepherd of Abertay’s School of Design and Infor...

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5G Network
ABERTAY NEWS22/03/2021

Abertay to support 5G innovation hub project

The hub is aimed at driving employment and investment opportunities in the Ta...

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Abertay University Campus
ABERTAY NEWS18/03/2021

Abertay named in top tier of sustainable transport ranking

Abertay University is one of only 10 Institutions to receive top marks

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ABERTAY NEWS19/02/2021

Abertay develops Ethical Hacking module for teachers

Training to benefit computing teachers across Scotland

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