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

Classroom environment - lecturer standing - students sitting working

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.

Find out more

Large group of people watching a parade

Division of Sociology

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

Find out more

Division of Law

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

Find out more

Research in the School of Design and Informatics

Game screenshot

Division of Games and Arts

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

Find out more

Division of Games Technology and Mathematics

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

Find out more

Division of Cybersecurity

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

Find out more

Research in the School of Applied Sciences

Three people working in a food laboratory

Division of Engineering and Food Science

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

Find out more

Hospital environment - patient lying in bed and 4 Nursing staff standing around the bed

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.

Find out more

Female taking notes whilst another female is talking

Division of Psychology and Forensic Sciences

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

Find out more

Female working on an exercise bike - two other females spectating and taking notes

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.

Find out more

ABERTAY NEWS27/03/2023

Crickets fed healthy diets to unlock sustainable food income

Research with partners in Zimbabwe improves nutritional value of insects

Find out more

Dance for parkinsons
ABERTAY NEWS15/02/2023

Abertay research shows benefits of dance classes to people with Parkinson’s

Participating in dance classes significantly improves the motor control of pe...

Find out more

A profile of Marc Kydd
ABERTAY NEWS14/02/2023

Abertay University project combats growing threat of romance fraud

An Abertay project is tackling one of the most devastating and costly forms o...

Find out more

Hannah Rankin Laughing
ABERTAY NEWS09/02/2023

Hannah Rankin supports boxing safety and training research project

Pop-up research lab installed at Abertay as part of unique data collection pr...

Find out more

A group of people standing together, facing the camera
ABERTAY NEWS15/12/2022

Abertay cyberQuarter announces founding partners

The 12 initial partners include cybersecurity companies, public sector organi...

Find out more

Members of Abertay staff at the Scottish Cyber Awards
ABERTAY NEWS25/11/2022

Abertay cyberQuarter celebrates success at Scottish Cyber Awards

New cybersecurity centre scoops prize as alumni, staff and partners honoured

Find out more

Dr Boon-Seang Chu at the W&J Knox Ltd base
ABERTAY NEWS21/11/2022

Sustainability project aims to reuse seaweed from decommissioned oil rigs

Research from Abertay University investigates how marine waste can be used as...

Find out more

Students on a field trip to Rottal River
ABERTAY NEWS20/10/2022

Climate Beacon projects celebrate first year of success

New report highlights the success of cultural and scientific activities led b...

Find out more

The Longest Walk
ABERTAY NEWS12/10/2022

Abertay video game project set on Tay Road Bridge nominated for Scottish BAFTA

Real-life experiences and voice of researcher’s father used to raise awarenes...

Find out more

The image shows two hands showing two game pads. One of the hands has painted nails.
ABERTAY NEWS04/10/2022

RNIB and Abertay University to hold accessibility in gaming event

Sight loss charity Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and Aberta...

Find out more

Venice Four
ABERTAY NEWS03/10/2022

Abertay University student’s artwork to represent Egypt at Venice Biennale

Abertay University PhD Student Ahmed El-Shaer is to have his work exhibited w...

Find out more

Dr Mhairi Thurston
ABERTAY NEWS16/09/2022

Academic creates new mental health resource for those affected by sight loss

The new online resource will support the mental wellbeing of blind and partia...

Find out more

Pause carousel

Play carousel