Strategic review

Our new Strategy 2021 to 2026 describes our mission to deliver world-class research and teaching, educating our students to become future leaders and innovators, and benefiting the wider population through our research, enterprise and influence.

Our vision is to be an outstanding and inclusive University community, characterised by excellence in education, research, and innovation; working in partnership with others for the advancement of knowledge, in support of the global common good.

We seek to advance our impact by:

  • growing our reputation for University education through internationally leading courses which are rigorous, relevant and pioneering and which attract highly achieving students from diverse backgrounds, enhanced by high-value placement and extracurricular opportunities to help students to take their ideas and passions to the next level
  • growing our research strength to drive research quality, achievement and impact at international levels
  • growing our identity as a strong learning community in which collective endeavour and a culture of care enable the flourishing of all
  • growing our strategic civic, corporate and international partnerships to allow us to fulfil our ambitious vision in education, research and enterprise

We have identified the following Key Operating Performance Indicators (KOPIs) to help us monitor our delivery of our Strategy and these are summarised in the table.

Strategic Pillar
KPI Driving Excellence in Education Driving high impact Research Fostering an outstanding and inclusive Community Enhancing Strategic Partnerships
1 NSS – overall satisfaction Total research income Non-continuation Consultancy & research contract income
2 Graduate outcomes % highly cited papers ONS wellbeing measure QS world ranking
3 Entry qualifications Research partnerships % female professors Local community engagement

Driving excellence in education

NSS – Overall satisfaction

The quality of our teaching is measured by reference to students who either ‘definitely’ or ’mostly’ agree with the National Student Survey (NSS) question ‘Overall I am satisfied with the quality of my course’. In the 2022 survey we scored 86.3%, the 3rd highest score in the UK. Our target is to rank in the top 15% of the sector and exceed our benchmark score of 77%, this year we met both targets.

Graph showing student satisfaction rates

Graduate Outcomes

We use the percentage of students in high-skilled employment as the measure of our graduate outcomes, the result from 2019 to 2020 shows an improvement to 92.9% from 89.0% in the previous year. Our target is to rank in the top 10% of the sector and our 2019/20 result ranks 5th from 133 universities so we have met this target.

Graph showing % of students in high-skilled employment

Entry Qualifications

We use average tariff scores to monitor the quality of our home undergraduate intake, these are sourced from The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide for Entry standards.

Our 2023 result, using our October 2022 intake, was 170 and this gave us a ranking of 14th. Our target is to maintain performance relative to the sector, over the past five years we stayed in the sector ranking range of 10th to 15th.

Graph showing average tariff scores

Driving high-impact research

Total research income

We will monitor our research income as a measure of the relevance, sustainability, and peer recognition of our research activity and progress towards the goal of increasing our research power to an income of £75m by 2025-26. The opening of the Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS) facility on the Bristol & Bath Science Park will accelerate the increase. Our result for 2021-22 is income of £40.5m, up 8.9% from £37.2m in the previous year.

Graph showing Research Income

Percentage of highly cited papers

We monitor the percentage of highly cited research papers as a measure of both the vibrancy and quality of our research. For this purpose, highly cited papers are defined as outputs in the top 10% of field-weighted citations for their year of publication. Each data point reflects a snapshot of citations at a given point in time. In the four most recent rolling publishing periods (2014-18 to 2017-21), the percentage of our papers which are highly cited has remained constant at 18%. The target for this KPI is for a one percentage point increase per annum, from a baseline of 18% to 23% by 2026 and our performance against this will be assessed next year.

Research Partnerships

We will monitor our research partnerships as a measure of success in working in partnership, particularly with industry and commerce, we use the research partnerships indicator published by Research England as part of the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF). The KEF indicator in question is itself based on two underlying metrics: i) the cash contribution to collaborative research as a proportion of public funding; and ii) co-authorship with non-academic partners as a proportion of total outputs. The metrics are three-year averages which are normalised and averaged to give a single score against which the sector is ranked.

We currently rank in the top 40% of the sector for Research Partnerships and the target is to improve this rank to the top 30% of the sector by 2025/26.

Our research portfolio at the year-end is £164.0m, an increase of 5.1% from £156.0m reported for 2020-21.

Fostering an outstanding and inclusive community

Non-Continuation rates

We use undergraduate non-continuation rates as a measure of how supportive our learning environment is. Our target is a non-continuation rate below the sector benchmark or below 3% whichever is lower. Our latest result is 2.1% which meets this target.

Graph showing Non continuation rates

Office for National Statistics (ONS) Staff Wellbeing measure

We use staff surveys to collect data on the wellbeing of our staff as measure of our success in supporting our staff and the effectiveness of the welfare structures in place. A specific target has not been set for this KPI. Average levels of well-being reported by our staff in recent years follow a similar trend to the national average. Nevertheless, amongst our staff there is a consistent expression of slightly lower levels of well-being than the UK average. It is not possible to benchmark our results against an HE sector average, however, generic results from historic staff surveys have shown that staff in professional or knowledge-based organisations connect more deeply with a broader range of societal issue.

% of Female Professors

We use this metric to measure one element of the diversity within our staff population and the effectiveness of our promotion and addressing the gender gap at senior levels. No specific target is set but progress has been made as the % of female professors has doubled from 11.5% in 2013 to 22.2% in 2022. Despite this improvement we remain below the average proportion observed amongst our comparator group and the wider sector. Allowances should be made, however, for differences in the proportion of female academics between subjects. The science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) subjects that dominate our subject mix typically attract fewer female academics than nursing, anthropology, creative arts, and liberal arts subjects that are not available at Bath.

Graph showing % of Female Professors

Enhancing strategic partnerships

Consultancy and contract research income

We use total consultancy and research income as a measure of the strength of our strategic partnerships with business and industry. Income is as reported in Higher Education Business and Community Interaction Survey (HE-BCIS). for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and other commercial businesses. In 2021-22 our income was £4.6m, a fall from £4.9m the previous year. Our target is to increase this income to £6.3m by 2025-26.

Graph showing Consultancy and Research Contract income

QS World Rankings

We use the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) international rankings as a measure of international peer recognition, which should be strengthened by our educational alliances and research partnerships. In recent years our overall ranking has fluctuated between a high of 158th and a low of 173rd. Currently we are ranked 179th and our target is to be ranked higher than 150th by 2025/26. To facilitate an improvement, we have created a Working Group to consider the actions required to improve our ranking.

Graph showing Position in QS World Rankings

Local Community engagement (attendees at public events)

We monitor the number of people attending our activities, as a measure of our social, community and cultural engagement. The number of attendees will fluctuate from year to year, but a target has been set for an average of 70,000 attendees per year. In 2020/21, there were 65,908 attendees at free public events run by us. This is slightly short of the target but, by comparison, in 2019/20 there were 572,000 attendees at free public events run by us.