Charitable purposes

Our Mission is 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.

This Mission derives from our constitutional charitable Objects to 'advance learning and knowledge by teaching and research, particularly in science and technology, and in close association with industry and commerce'. These Objects are set out in our Royal Charter of 1966 and constitute the University’s charitable purposes for the public benefit.

Members of the University Council, as trustees, have had due regard to the guidance on public benefit published by the Charity Commission in exercising their trustees’ powers or duties. The induction programme for new members of Council includes coverage of the Commission’s guidance. The full Council membership receives periodic briefings on regulatory matters, including the Charity Commission’s guidance and the requirements of the Office for Students.

Our commitment to delivering public benefit is at the core of our Mission. In furtherance of our Mission, our key objective during 2021/22 was to deliver excellence in our two primary charitable purposes, research and education.

Excellence in research, for us, means:

  • our research is internationally-renowned – tackling global challenges and attracting world-class researchers to work with us
  • our research collaborations attract prestigious academic and commercial partners – increasing our research power and extending our influence
  • our enterprise and innovation deliver scientific and economic impact – benefiting communities locally, regionally, nationally and internationally
  • our research environment is vibrant and supportive – nurturing talent from doctoral students and early career researchers through to established academics
  • our culture is one of open enquiry and debate – challenging received wisdom and fostering the highest standards of research integrity

Excellence in education, for us, means:

  • our teaching is inspiring and highly valued, delivered through a focused range of curricula that are academically rigorous, research-driven and practice-based
  • our learning is enhanced through high-quality spaces, effective technologies, and support for students’ active participation
  • our community is inclusive, supportive and engaged, enriched by the diverse and international backgrounds of our students and staff
  • our students are empowered to make positive contributions to society – locally, nationally or internationally – through attributes including awareness, understanding, reflection and intellectual curiosity
  • our graduates have high levels of personal, professional, and academic skills enabling them to fulfil their potential and thrive in their chosen employment.

In our University Strategy 2021 to 2026, we have reaffirmed in our Vision Statement that our charitable objectives are undertaken for the public benefit:

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.


In accordance with our Mission and charitable purposes, we aim to benefit society through our research. Our research ethos has a strong focus upon impact, tackling challenges of global significance from sustainability to health and wellbeing. One of the four strategic pillars of our Strategy is ‘driving high-impact research’. Our faculty comprises some of the finest researchers from around the world. As established in our Royal Charter, we value research partnerships and work with business, industry, the professions, the public sector and the voluntary sector. Consequently, our research benefits a wide range of stakeholders with international as well as national beneficiaries, ranging from individuals with improved health to international corporates with more energy efficient products. ‘Enhancing strategic partnerships’ is also one of the four strategic pillars of our Strategy.

Through advancing knowledge, our research has a wide range of public benefits:

  • stimulating economic development
  • informing public policy and professional practice
  • innovating, informing and inspiring
  • advancing individual and societal wellbeing
  • building international connections

The international excellence of the University’s research was recently evidenced by the outcomes of the Research Excellence Framework (REF2021) evaluation of research quality. In terms of the overall quality of our submission, 92% was judged to be ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. In addition, 90% of our research outputs (for example, journal articles, books and patents) was rated ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ for its reach and significance. In terms of having an environment that supports research, 98% of our submitted research activity was graded as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.

Our research continues to have tangible economic and social benefits, locally, regionally and nationally. One of the strategic pillars of our Strategy is driving high-impact research. During 2021/22, we launched our ‘Research with Impact’ campaign to raise awareness of these benefits, ranging from low-carbon living to positive digital futures and improved health and wellbeing.

Further information can be found at Research with Impact.

In continuing to invest in the strategic expansion of our research base we will increase its impact and, hence, its public benefit. Construction work on our new, fully integrated research facility for the Institute of Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS) was completed during 2021/22 and the facility is now open.

In 2021/22, the value of our research portfolio was around £164 million. We secured £47.8m in awards during the year which was £5.6m, or 14% higher than in 2020/21. Around 50% of our research income is provided by UK research councils and these funders include impact in their criteria for evaluating grant applications. Consequently, we have an objective view of the potential public benefit of much of its research. Data released by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) in July shows an increase in our overall success rate by both value (up to 43% from 18%) and number (up to 31% from 23%).

We will continue to strengthen our international networks and partnerships to enhance our international profile and our ability to sustain a world-class research capability. Explore further examples of how our research is delivering public benefit.

We believe that there is a clear secondary order public benefit in having an informed population, both nationally and internationally, particularly where complex global issues are concerned. We are proactive in engaging the media with our research work and providing expert comment on topical issues, including the impacts of the pandemic and the invasion of Ukraine.

We work actively to ensure that our research is disseminated and understood beyond the world of academia. Our Institute for Policy Research has published a series of Policy Briefs which are circulated to key decision-makers. Our Public Engagement unit also plays a key role in disseminating our research. We utilise a wide variety of media to disseminate knowledge beyond the confines of campus, including Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS), Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.


In advancing and disseminating knowledge, our teaching has a wide range of public benefits:

  • developing people
  • providing skills for the workforce
  • informing professional practice
  • innovating, informing and inspiring
  • building international connections

We are a first-choice university destination for students in an increasingly competitive, international recruitment market. Students are attracted by our excellent academic reputation, our outstanding graduate employment record, our world-class sports facilities, and the wide array of other social, recreational and personal development opportunities we offer. Our ability to offer placement options across our discipline base, and with leading organisations, is one of the features that distinguishes us from other top UK research-intensive universities. Our graduates have excellent employment prospects, not only because of their discipline-specific knowledge and skills but also because of the emphasis we place on developing well-rounded, enterprising individuals with high aspirations. As a result, our graduates are well-equipped to contribute to economic growth and policy development, as well as making a positive social contribution.

During 2021/22, we were ranked in the top ten in all national university league tables. In response to the high demand for our programmes, our student population has been growing. Despite the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was growth in our core headcount student population between 2020/21 and 2021/22 of 4.6%. In 2021/22, our core student population comprised 13,854 undergraduates, 4,375 taught postgraduates and 1,697 research postgraduates.

Our students are key beneficiaries of our teaching activities, and we measure our success in terms of their retention rates, their employability and their satisfaction. Our completion and employment rates are some of the best in the sector and our students had an overall satisfaction rating of 86.3% in the National Student Survey 2022, the 3rd highest score for Universities UK (UUK) member organisations. Council receives annual reports on completion and employability performance. Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Graduate Outcomes data for the 2019/20 graduating cohort showed that 92.9% of Bath’s (UK-domiciled, full-time, first-degree) graduates who are working in the UK are in high-skilled employment. We were ranked in the Top 100 of the international QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2022. National data shows that the percentage of our UK-domiciled full-time undergraduate entrants who left within 50 days of commencement (2014/15 to 2019/20 years of entry) was 2% compared to a benchmark of 2.7% (Source: HESA Performance Indicators - Table T3).

Beneficiaries of our teaching activities range from school age (aspiration raising and mentoring) through to mature learners (continuing professional development and MOOCS), and include undergraduates, taught postgraduates and research postgraduates. We recruit internationally and are committed to promoting a diverse student population. The 2021/22 session saw the fourth year of delivery of our new online programmes in partnership with Wiley. This partnership enables us to deliver teaching in a mode that is likely to be more convenient for mature students and those with caring responsibilities.

During 2019/20, our Access and Participation Plan for 2020 to 2025 was approved by the Office for Students. We have identified that the main area we need to focus on is recruiting more students from lower socio-economic groups and, specifically, narrowing the gap between the percentage of students from the top POLAR4 (Participation Of Local Areas)/IMD (Index of Multiple Deprivation) quintile 5 compared with those from POLAR4/IMD quintiles 1 and 2. We are also committed to encouraging access to the University for Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students, students with disabilities and mature students, care leavers, refugees, estranged students, carers, and student parents. Further guidance was issued by the Department for Education and the OfS during 2021/22. This has resulted in the Access and Participation Plan being revised to run to 2023/24 rather than 2024/25 but our priority areas remain the same.

In November 2020, we were recognised as a University of Sanctuary by the charity City of Sanctuary, in recognition of our commitment to being a welcoming and safe place for refugees and asylum seekers, to ensuring academic teaching and research flourish in this area, and to developing our collaboration with the wider local community. During 2021/22, we moved rapidly to provide support for staff and students affected by the invasion of Ukraine. We also received a Silver Athena Swan award. Athena Swan is an internationally recognised gender equality initiative.

We recognise that undergraduate tuition fees may be a barrier to accessing our teaching. We publicise the financial support that we can provide to prospective students through our website and Open Days. In 2021/22 we provided £3.92m of financial support to 1,290 undergraduate students in the form of bursaries for individuals paying fees under the 2012 fee regime with a household residual income (HRI) of £25,000 or below. This included £750k of support to 158 students in receipt of our Gold Scholarship Programme, which started in 2017/18 and is jointly funded by the University and sponsors. Our Alumni Funds provided £174k of financial support to 131 undergraduates with an HRI of £42,875 and below. In total, £4.1m of financial support was awarded to 1,349 undergraduate students.

Employers are also beneficiaries of our teaching activities through the skillset of our graduates. In the 2023 QS world ranking, the University of Bath was ranked 102nd in the world in the employer reputation performance measure. We also measure our success in delivering the skills that employers want in terms of our ability to maintain our network of placement sponsors. In 2018/19 we launched our first-degree apprenticeship, the Level 7 Digital and Technology Solutions Specialist Integrated Degree. In 2020/21 we launched our second-degree apprenticeship, the Level 7 Architecture Integrated Degree, and in 2021/22 we undertook development work on a new Level 7 degree apprenticeship in Clinical Psychology.

The wider community also benefits from our ability to attract high-quality, engaged students. Working in close partnership with the Students’ Union, we offer a wide range of opportunities for personal development, including volunteering, summer internships, personal development and skills training. In providing a wide range of opportunities to learn through experience and enhance personal development and career prospects, we are producing graduates who are well-equipped to act as good citizens and members of local, national and international society.

Students can volunteer to help with outreach activities, encouraging gifted and talented young people from socio-economic groups under-represented in Higher Education, to raise their educational aspirations. We provide a supportive learning environment, with central student services and academic departments working in partnership and have one of the highest retention and success rates in the UK. We have an excellent record for supporting students with disabilities to the successful completion of their studies. We encourage students from diverse backgrounds and provide financial support.

We are keen to ensure that our students and graduates have a strong awareness of the environmental impact of their actions. Students in campus residences are encouraged to take part in an annual competition to reduce energy use and students were involved in the development of our Climate Action Framework (CAF).

Creativity, enterprise and innovation

The knowledge that we generate through our research and teaching activities can be exploited to achieve a number of public benefits:

  • innovating, informing and inspiring
  • engaging communities and working in partnership
  • stimulating local economic and social development
  • building international connections

We are sector leaders in knowledge exchange, applying fresh thinking to accelerate economic growth and social advances. Our Innovation Centre is helping to diversify the economic profile of the city by incubating high-yield businesses. We are a member of the SETsquared partnership which in November 2019 was ranked as the world’s leading University-linked business incubator, a position it has occupied since 2015. In 2022, SETsquared won the ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship Support of the Year’ category at the Accreditation Council for Entrepreneurial and Engaged Universities Triple E awards. SETsquared offers the Intrapreneurial Knowledge Exchange Enterprise Pathway (IKEEP) to our students. This is fully funded training aimed at equipping students with the skills to drive innovation and bring fresh thinking to businesses.

We aim to create tomorrow’s business leaders and foster an innovative culture. We signpost sources of skills development, funding, and support. We offer enterprise education for students and they are encouraged to develop entrepreneurial skills. A number of students develop business models or launch their own businesses while studying.

During 2021/22, we launched the Innovation Centre for Applied Sustainable Technologies (iCAST) in the Carriage Works, Swindon. The project, led by the Centre for Sustainable and Circular Technologies (CSCT) at Bath, is a collaboration between the Universities of Bath and Oxford, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult’s Sustainability Partnership (National Composites Centre, and Centre for Process Innovation) innovation experts at SETsquared, Local Enterprise Partnerships, investors and the companies that iCAST will be working with. iCAST will operate as a research and development and collaboration hub for companies working on clean growth technologies. It will focus on translating sustainable chemical technology research into commercial products to tackle the global challenges of the climate emergency, sustainable development and plastic pollution.

As part of our culture of creativity, enterprise and innovation, we seek to make a positive social, as well as economic, impact. We have outstanding sports facilities and offer a programme of community sport, TeamBath Tribe, encouraging young people, in particular, to engage in sporting activities. We also offer a public arts programme, including visual arts, theatre, dance and music. Our public lecture series has been delivered online during the pandemic, with lectures being made available on Soundcloud, which has increased the number of individuals accessing them.

International engagement

We believe that there is a benefit to our academic activities and, hence our charitable objectives, in having a truly international culture on campus. Our international culture also has benefits locally and regionally. Our ability to attract internationally renowned researchers contributes to our capacity to contribute to the regional and national knowledge economy. Through our international connections, we can provide a conduit to disseminate best international practice and cutting-edge research locally, regionally and nationally. We also believe that a culturally diverse student population makes a positive impact on the experience of all our students.

In addition to the international profile of our teaching and research activities, we are forging international connections through our alumni network and our world-class sports facilities. We have around 120,000 alumni, representing 173 countries. Our alumni are encouraged to make philanthropic donations to enhance the student experience, our physical infrastructure and our research capacity. This enhances our capacity to deliver our charitable objectives. We also have around 1,500 Alumni Experts, spread across 140 countries who support other alumni and students via our online mentoring platform, Bath Connection.

Other impacts of our activities

We are the second largest employer in Bath & North East Somerset, with a head count of employees of around 3,800.

We do not believe that there is any direct harm or detriment to the public arising from our Mission and corporate goals. However, our success in attracting students does mean that our student population puts a significant demand on the residential accommodation in the Bath and North East Somerset area. During 2021/22, we continued to liaise with Bath and North East Somerset Council over the development of our new Campus Masterplan, assessing the future development capacity and balancing demand for new residential accommodation and non-residential accommodation on campus. Our new Campus Masterplan informed the drafting of the policy covering campus development in the Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES) Local Plan: Partial Update.

During 2021/22, we held a Public Information Event for local residents, businesses, charities and councillors to give attendees an opportunity to hear more about the University Strategy and the University’s partnership working with other organisations in the region. We also made space available in one of our buildings in the city for a public COVID-19 testing facility.

We hold three meetings a year of the Local Residents’ Forum to ensure that our nearest neighbours are briefed on our capital plans and our programme of events for campus. In this way, we try to mitigate the impact of our activities on our immediate community.

We also recognise that our activities have environmental consequences and we have made a number of commitments to promote effective environmental management:

  • continually improve our environmental performance as far as the constraints of our physical infrastructure and estate will permit
  • make the most efficient and effective use of all resources, encouraging members of our community to develop a sustainable approach
  • minimise carbon emissions from regular commuting to and from campus by encouraging the use of public transport, cycling or walking
  • implement effective energy and water conservation measures
  • reduce overall waste production and increase the recycled component of the waste stream
  • implement a procurement policy that includes consideration of sustainability in all tender evaluations
  • work with our suppliers to help us achieve our sustainable and socially responsible procurement policy aspirations in the delivery of our products and services
  • support the principles of fair trade and maintain our Fairtrade status
  • manage our grounds in an environmentally and biodiversity-sensitive manner

We are fully committed to minimising carbon emissions and were the first UK Higher Education Institution (HEI) to undertake the Carbon Trust’s Higher Education Carbon Management process in its ‘pre-pilot’ phase in 2003. Our initial carbon reduction target was to reduce CO2 emissions from gas combustion and electricity usage by 12.5% from a 2003/04 baseline of 0.11 tonnes/m2 building floor area by 2010, which we achieved by December 2010. Council monitors four Key Performance Indicators in relation to sustainability – total carbon emissions (total impact), carbon emissions per m2 GIA (efficiency measure), total water use, and water use per m2 GIA. During 2020/21, Council noted reductions in all four measures between 2018/19 and 2019/20, noting that the figures for 2019/20 were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and should be treated with some caution.

During 2020/21, we published our Climate Action Framework, building on our target of having net zero carbon emissions in Scope 1 and 2 activities, and cutting our Scope 3 emissions by 50%, by 2030. Core Climate Action Framework (CAF) team members were appointed.

We seek to promote the highest standards of scientific and professional integrity and to give due consideration to the ethical, social, and environmental issues arising from our activities. In 2020/21, we published our seventh annual statement on research integrity. In advancing knowledge to improve health and wellbeing, we undertake various projects in medical research and medically associated biological research. This work is funded by the Medical Research Council, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, and major medical charities including the Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation, Arthritis Research UK, and Diabetes UK. Research in the UK involving vertebrate animals is regulated, within the framework of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, by the Home Office Animals Scientific Procedures Division and Inspectorate. All work on vertebrate animals is conducted under Home Office Licence. This means that any projects we undertake have been through an ethical review process and have then been assessed by a Home Office Inspector. The University is committed to the three Rs – Refinement, Reduction and Replacement of experiments involving animals.

See our statement in response to the Modern Slavery Act 2015 section 54(1).