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Research Excellence

University of Sheffield

Renowned for excellence - A world-class University, a unique student experience

A world-top 100 university, we have a global reputation for academic expertise, international outlook and impactful research.

As a research-intensive university, we’re committed to tackling big questions that affect the whole planet. Our research influences policy, changes lives and helps us to understand the world.

At Sheffield, you’re welcomed into a diverse, supportive community of scholars from all over the world. Our reputation attracts some of the leading minds in the world. You will work alongside them, with a strong sense of purpose, in an atmosphere of tolerance, inclusivity and respect.

With world-class facilities and opportunities for research collaboration, we can inspire and nurture you to do research that will change the world around us.

Founded in 1905, the University of Sheffield has grown in reputation and size to become one of the UK’s leading research universities. With almost 29,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University is recognised as one of the 50 most international universities in the world (Times Higher Education World University Rankings).

As a member of the Russell Group, 99 percent of our research was assessed as internationally recognised, internationally excellent or world leading and the Research Excellence Framework 2014 places Sheffield in the top 10 percent of all UK universities.

Research Excellence

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

Our brilliant PhD students make Sheffield what it is – a research powerhouse, a multidisciplinary community, a place where ideas matter.


Academic Units


ACSE was established in 1968, in response to the growing importance of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering to all branches of industry worldwide. We have since grown to become the largest Control and Systems Engineering Department in Europe, with over 130 academic staff, research assistants and research students and over 300 undergraduate and postgraduate degree students. Our growth has been due both to the increasing demand for education in the area and the effects of rapid changes in computing technology.

We provide a range of research degrees offering opportunities for postgraduate training in Automatic Control and Systems Engineering and associated topics. Our PhD students become members of our research community, enjoying excellent research facilities in a rich intellectual environment.

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The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering is a research-led department, formed in 1996. We have state-of-the-art laboratories to support our work along with all the modern IT facilities expected.

An important feature of the research environment in the department is the interdisciplinary research groups. The focus of our research effort through these groups means that we have been able to build up dedicated high-quality facilities and to tackle problems larger than those typically associated with single university researchers.

Our research groups provide the natural home for postgraduate research students; it is in their groups that students find the formal and informal supervision and much of the friendship that makes a research degree such an enriching experience.

We believe that a PhD in Chemical Engineering is an immensely valuable qualification for those aspiring to leadership positions in industry and research.

We also think that the environment we have created makes the Sheffield degree special.

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The Department of Chemistry is a grade 5 department. We have a wide variety of research centres, from Biological Chemistry to Polymer Science, equipped with the latest analytical equipment. We currently have over 100 PhD students, organised into small research groupings within the department.

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In the most recent RAE we were awarded grade 5, indicating research of international excellence. The Department is one of the largest Civil Engineering Departments in the UK and is very well equipped. It was again ranked 2nd for Civil Engineering by the Guardian Newpaper this year.

Our research income has continually expanded and we currently have research grants of over £12million in progress. About two thirds of this income is from Research Councils who only fund research of the very highest standard. We also receive funding from the EU, industry, regulators and local and national governments.

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In this Department we address both the scientific and engineering aspects of Computer Science in its teaching and research of the subject. This is reflected in our emphasis on the theoretical principles of Computer Science and their application to a wide range of systems.

In our teaching, we ensure that the theoretical principles underlying a problem are understood, along with knowing how to engineer a solution.

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The Department of Economics at the University of Sheffield has an international reputation for practical and real world economics. We are a leading research University and economics department and our academic staff are among the top economic experts in their field.

Students that study a PhD with us receive excellent academic support, in a friendly, vibrant research environment with excellent facilities. 94% of our PhD students were satisfied with their training in the 2017 Postgraduate Research Experience Survey.

We are part of the White Rose Social Sciences Doctoral Training Partnership (WRDTP). The partnership provides research students with a world-class environment to develop their discipline specific and interdisciplinary research skills.

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The Department of Geography is a leading international centre of excellence in research, renowned for the quality of its PhD degrees, which are supported through world-class supervision.

We attract high-level students from across the world, who go on to successful careers, spanning academia and the public and private sectors. Our students benefit from participation in a large and active graduate school, and an individually tailored training program, focused on developing the skills set and knowledge base, required for each research topic.

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We're a world-leading centre for infection, immunity & cardiovascular research. Our pioneering discoveries help fight disease, and inform our inspirational teaching. The department comprises strong groups working in basic and clinical science. Major strengths are in the role of innate immunity in disease and in computer modelling/imaging and prediction of disease to improve treatment outcomes.

In clinical medicine, Sheffield are in the top 10 for combined world leading and internationally excellent outputs. Staff in Cardiovascular Science also contributed significantly to the outstanding result in subjects allied to healthcare where Sheffield was the leading institution out of 94 submissions in this category.

Our research degree students are part of Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry & Health's Graduate School and our University wide Doctoral Academy. The University of Sheffield as a whole combines research excellence, links with industry and a supportive research environment preparing our students for their future careers.

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The Department of Materials Science and Engineering is one of the national leaders in the field: it was rated in the top 5 in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), the system for assessing the quality of research, when accounting for profile and volume; and nationally is 2nd in terms of research income.

The Department currently has 47 academic staff including 19 Professors, 6 Readers, 9 Senior Lecturers, 9 Lecturers and 3 Senior / University Teachers. They receive excellent support from 27 technical and 24 administrative staff.

One of seven departments in the Faculty of Engineering, the Department is growing rapidly, and currently has 73 postdoctoral research staff, 210 PhD students, 115 MSc students and 242 UG students taking taught MEng and BEng degree programmes.

The Department’s teaching is underpinned by world-leading research, and facilitated by world-class facilities. Study with us and you will become part of a welcoming community, benefiting from the knowledge and experience of leading academics.

Further details on each of the research areas can be accessed via the Departmental website: www.sheffield.ac.uk/materials/research.

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The Department of Mechanical Engineering is internationally renowned for high quality research. The expertise of our staff covers a wide range of specialist areas and our mission is to carry out research in fundamental science through to practical industrial applications. The Department was awarded an outstanding rating (30% 4*, 45% 3*, 20% 2*, 5% 1*) in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise. All our academic research staff were submitted to the assessment.
Much of the research undertaken by the Department of Mechanical Engineering is carried out by our postgraduate students as part of their PhD programmes. The department's current postgraduate research students are working on a wide range of projects, and they are vital to our success in research. Our students come from both the UK and overseas and typically have a first degree in engineering, or a related subject such as physics or mathematics.

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The Department of Music at The University of Sheffield is a hub for world-leading interdisciplinary research and hosts a broad range of specialisms. As a PhD researcher, you become part of an active and thriving research environment, whilst benefiting from world-class supervision, research resources and facilities. Apply now for a PhD positions and research funding.

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Our department provides a dynamic, exciting research environment with an internationally renowned portfolio of basic, clinical and translational research, encompassing the life course. With access to world class facilities, our researchers study human processes from the level of basic biology through to diseases such as cancer, osteoporosis and diabetes. We focus on translating scientific discoveries into meaningful advances in the clinic that can benefit our patients and the general population.

In clinical medicine, Sheffield are in the top 10 for combined world leading and internationally excellent outputs. Staff in Cardiovascular Science also contributed significantly to the outstanding result in subjects allied to healthcare where Sheffield was the leading institution out of 94 submissions in this category.

Our research degree students are part of Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry & Health's Graduate School and our University wide Doctoral Academy. The University of Sheffield as a whole combines research excellence, links with industry and a supportive research environment preparing our students for their future careers.

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The Department of Physics and Astronomy has an international reputation for the quality of its research (grade 5 in the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise).
The department comprises of 31 academic staff, over 30 research fellows and postdoctoral research associates, and over 60 research students.
The research laboratories and offices have recently been refurbished, there are frequent group seminars and meetings, and the University of Sheffield provides a Research Training Programme for PhD students. The department therefore offers an excellent environment for postgraduate research work.
As a member of the White Rose Consortium of leading Yorkshire universities, the department is part of the Doctoral Training Centre in the Life Sciences.
The research areas in the department are wide-ranging and include,
- Astronomy and astrophysics
- Astroparticle theory and cosmology
- Organic optoelectronic materials and devices
- Particle Physics (ATLAS experiment at CERN, dark matter, neutrino physics)
- Polymer physics and soft nanotechnology
- Semiconductor physics and devices
- Theoretical condensed matter physics
Visit our home page for more information.

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The Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield has an established international reputation for excellence in teaching and research across the disciplines of Sociology, Social Policy, Social Work and Digital Society.

We are proud of our disciplinary breadth and achievement, which helps make the Department an exciting and lively place to study and work.

Teaching excellence
Our teaching achieved a grading of 'Excellent' in the most recent Teaching Quality Assessment, which recognises us as a major provider of education across the main sociological subjects.

A top rated research department
In the recent Research Assessment Exercise (2008) overall 95% of our research was rated as of international standard, within this, 45% was rated as internationally excellent and 20% as world-class. This makes the Department of Sociological Studies a top-ten research department in its field, consolidating our previous excellent rating (Grade 5) in the previous research assessment exercise.

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White Rose Social Sciences Doctoral Training Partnership Studentships 2021/22

Nominations are now open for White Rose Social Sciences Doctoral Training Partnership (WRDTP) Studentships commencing in October 2021. If you are interested in studying for a PhD at the Information School, you are eligible for nomination by your supervisor to the WRDTP Studentships.

Find out more here: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/social-sciences/study/graduate-school/phd-opportunities/white-rose-social-sciences-doctoral-training-partnership-studentships

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You will find your degree programme both stimulating and rewarding, working within the School´s active research environment at the University of Sheffield. At the same time, we encourage you to take part in Sheffield´s social, sporting and cultural activities, which are second to none.
Picture of PG Students

We hope you take up the opportunity to study in Sheffield. You will be able to gain an important and respected qualification.

Visits to the University for potential postgraduate research students take place on the first Tuesday of every month from 1pm.

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Formed in September 2021, the School of Biosciences brings together more than 100 years of teaching and research expertise from the former departments of Animal and Plant Sciences, Biomedical Science and Molecular Biology and Biotechnology.

The school is home to around 120 academics, including Royal Society, RCUK, EU and other Independent Research Fellows, 300 postgraduates supported by Doctoral Training Programmes and Centres, and 1,500 undergraduates. Our expertise spans the breadth and depth of bioscience, including molecular and cell biology, genetics, development, human physiology and pharmacology through to evolution, ecology, biodiversity conservation and sustainability. This makes us one of the broadest and largest groupings of the discipline and allows us to train the next generation of biologists in the latest research techniques and discoveries.

We carry out world-leading research to address the most important global challenges such as food security, disease, health and medicine, ageing, energy, and mitigating the biodiversity and climate crises.

Within the school we house a number of specialist research facilities. The Arthur Willis Environment Centre provides state-of-the-art 'GroDome' plant growth facilities comprising 16 discrete compartments with the capacity to simulate a range of current environments as well as future climate scenarios. The NERC Environmental Omics Visitor Facility here in Sheffield provides molecular genetics facilities and training to the UK community in the science areas that fall under the remit of the Natural Environment Research Council.. Others include a Biological NMR Facility, a Biomolecular Interaction Suite, and the University of Sheffield’s Biological Mass Spectrometry Facility.

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The School of Clinical Dentistry

The School of Clinical Dentistry at Sheffield has 33 postgraduate research students and an annual intake of 55 dental undergraduates. It achieved a Grade 5 in the Research Assessment Exercise 2001, an "excellent" (23/24) rating in the QAA Subject Review exercise, and recently received an Investor in People award.
The School is situated on the perimeter of the main University campus and is connected to the Charles Clifford Dental Hospital. The Medical School, the Department of Biomedical Science, the Health Sciences Library and the Royal Hallamshire Hospital are all in close proximity. It is located on the western side of the city, adjacent to a pleasant residential area. Sheffield University provides a full range of sporting and recreational facilities for staff, and the Peak District National Park is within easy travelling distance.

Research strategy within the School
We receive research funding from Research Councils (eg MRC, BBSRC), the EU, Charities (eg Wellcome Trust, Action Research), and a range of commercial companies (eg GlaxoSmithKline, Boots).
Research in the School is organized into three thematic groups, 'Biomaterials', 'Neuroscience' and 'Health and Diseases'. Research encompasses laboratory and clinical projects, addressing both basic and applied questions. This multidisciplinary approach is facilitated by our direct physical link with the Dental Hospital which allows easy access to patients and patient material for use in research projects. Staff and students attend and present their work at several cross-faculty research seminar programmes held locally within the University of Sheffield, and are also very active at national and international meetings. The school has been awarded numerous national and international prizes for undergraduate and postgraduate research.

Specific strategy of the Neuroscience Research Group
The general aim of this research group is to further the understanding of the chronic oro-facial pain that sometimes arises as a consequence of nerve injury and inflammation. Our objective is the development of new methods of treatment.
This group collaborates with neuroscientists in the Department of Biomedical Science, which houses some of our research laboratories. Further afield, we have strong collaborative links with neuroscience groups in Stockholm, Michigan, São Paulo, and Calgary. We also have strong links with an industrial partner, GlaxoSmithKline. Clinically, we have developed a large referral base for patients with trigeminal nerve injuries, who travel to Sheffield from the UK and abroad, providing unique opportunities to obtain patient material for laboratory evaluation and correlation with symptoms.

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Creative, critical, civic-minded and collaborative, the School of English at the University of Sheffield is one of the largest and most successful English departments in the UK. We are an interdisciplinary department, bringing together the study of literature, language, linguistics, theatre, film and creative writing to form a community that is unique in the world in its breadth and depth of study of the English language.

We have a thriving research environment, with world-leading experts conducting cutting-edge research across the full spectrum of English studies. We also have the largest group of researchers in the UK working on the intersection of language and literature. In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), we were ranked number 1 in the UK for research environment.

The interdisciplinary nature of the School of English provides unique opportunities for cross-departmental and collaborative research. A selection of our centres for research demonstrates the breadth of our interests: Centre for Linguistic Research; Centre for the History of the Gothic; Centre for Poetry and Poetics; Literary Linguistics Research Cluster; Sheffield Animals Research Colloquium; Sheffield Centre for Research in Film; Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies.

We maintain strong links with our local community, using our research to inform and support projects that have a real-world impact in our city and region, as well as nationally and globally.

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ScHARR is a multidisciplinary School within the Faculty of Medicine.

In terms of the Research Environment, ScHARR is a multidisciplinary School within the Faculty of Medicine. We specialise in postgraduate teaching, health services and public health research, and the application of health economics and decision science to the development of health services and the improvement of the public health. ScHARR employs around 200 multidisciplinary staff and attracts in excess of £6 million per year in external support.

ScHARR is internationally recognised for its research excellence and provides first-rate facilities to research students. ScHARR returned by far the largest number of researchers in the Health Services Research unit of assessment and 55% of their activities were assessed as either world leading or internationally excellent. This excellent rating of such a large number of researchers suggests that ScHARR houses the largest concentration of world leading and internationally excellent health services researchers in the UK, as is confirmed in the RAE tables produced by research.com.

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The School is committed to excellence in language-based research in a range of disciplines. Members of staff in the School conduct individual research, supervise postgraduate students, and collaborate on larger scale research projects, local, national and internationally. We seek to maximize the benefits gained from the specificity of research in each of the School's constituent sections, based in a language or a language group, while reaping the added value to be gained from comparative exchange and collaboration across the School. Our teaching at both undergraduate and MA level is informed by our research, and research skills form an integral part of students’ training. To find out more about Postgraduate study in the School of Languages and Cultures, please visit our Postgraduate Programmes pages.

The School has a thriving research community of academic staff, postdoctoral research fellows and postgraduate students. While we conduct research in a wide range of languages, disciplines and geographical regions, we are united by a commitment to accessing sources in the language, and to the study of language-based cultures.

School Research Clusters

Research Clusters are cross-School groups, united by similar disciplinary or thematic interests, who work together to share knowledge and inspiration from their individual subject areas. To find out more please visit our Research Clusters Pages:

https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/slc/research/clusters

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