'Our mission is to contribute to society through excellence in education and research.'

We are delighted to share our University Strategy 2019-2028, which is the outcome of a process of creative collaboration and generous input from staff and students across our campus communities and beyond.

The work of ‘Essex Partners’ in developing a Vision for The Future of Essex and our other relationships with partners across our region has also provided important context for the development of our Strategy.

We are grateful to all our University members, our partners and supporters for sharing the ideas that have shaped our ambitions and aspirations for the next six years.



Our new University Strategy also offers an important opportunity to recommit to the truly excellent relationship that we have with our Students’ Union and our students: this partnership remains the cornerstone of all that we hope to achieve in offering an outstanding educational experience to all our students. 

Over the last six years we have had a number of key achievements: the University was ranked in the top 10 in five subject areas for research power in REF 2021; we gained a Gold Award for the quality of our teaching in TEF 2017; we are ranked in the top 30 universities in the UK in the Times/Sunday Times Guide – thanks to the outstanding student experience we offer, strong graduate prospects, and world-leading research. We have grown to a University of about 16,000 students; and in 2018 we were awarded the prestigious Times Higher Education award of University of the Year. The award citation recognised our commitment to putting student and staff success at the centre of everything we do, with tremendous effect. 

Our new University Strategy builds on these positive achievements and on the strength and clarity of our shared sense of who we are and for what we stand. Our mission is excellence in education and research for the benefit of individuals, communities and society. Our Essex Spirit drives us to be tenacious, bold, inquisitive and impatient for change in all that we do. We are passionate in our commitment to the transformational power of education for all our students irrespective of background. We want to make a difference in the world, by putting our ideas into action to create benefit for others. 

In summary, the scale of our ambition for the University in the period 2019-28 is:

  • To support every student, from every background and culture, to achieve outstanding outcomes. This reflects our commitments both to offering a transformational education and to inclusion. We are determined to offer consistently excellent learning opportunities for every student, responding to the needs and aspirations of our diverse student community. 
  • To enhance the impact of the University through social action in the period 2019-28, building on the importance our students and staff place on advocacy, activism, social entrepreneurship and service to our communities. Social action is a defining characteristic of both an Essex education and Essex research – and is the purpose of our focus on excellence in education and research to improve the lives of people and communities. 
  • To grow the size of the University so that we can be a university community of about 1,000 researchers and 20,000 students.  We will achieve this by continuing to expand our current academic departments and by establishing two new departments or disciplines to meet the needs of our time. This will generate the resources to realise our ambitions for world-class transformational education and research, and ensure the financial sustainability of the University. 
  • To see the University of Essex firmly established in the top 25 of the UK universities and to be globally recognised as one of the world’s top 200 universities.

We recognise that this period is likely to see changes in the landscape for UK higher education. Our focus will be on promoting resilience of our staff and students through communities of belonging. Our Strategy is focused on supporting and developing our people, across our students, staff and alumni, so that our community will succeed and thrive, whatever challenges may come. We will achieve our mission of excellence in education and research through investment in knowledge, ideas, innovation and their application.

We are determined to ensure that our local, national and global communities benefit from the research that we undertake and the distinctive type of education that we offer. We believe that our Strategy provides an inspirational road map for navigating the next six years in the development of our University. 



Judith Judd

Chair of Council

University of Essex, University of Essex

Jane Hamilton

Chair of Council Designate

University of Essex, University of Essex