As the only University in the City, the fourth largest employer, and an institution that attracts over 5,000 new residents to the City each year — about 20 per cent of whom remain in the area afterwards — the University of Portsmouth has a huge role to play in the success of the City.

It is always an open question whether we can do more, or do things differently, and we have to be careful not to act as if we know what the City needs or just expect people to gratefully receive whatever we want to offer.

Our civic work, led by Professor Sherria Hoskins, is evidence of our commitment to do more for the people of Portsmouth. Alongside Sherria’s work, Professor Bob Nichol and Dean Machin have led a small team who over the last few months have been in discussion with City Council officials about a strategic economic and innovation agreement between the University and the Council.

An agreement makes a lot of sense and acknowledges the many areas where the self-interests of both parties align. We have shared aims on climate change, on supporting innovation, as well as the wider cultural development of the City and in making Portsmouth a great place to visit and to live.

Both sides accept that there will be instances where our interests rub up against each other. Politicians have different time horizons from Vice-Chancellors, especially in cities like Portsmouth with annual elections. And, sometimes, the University can be seen as aloof. But there is more that binds us than separates us. Fundamentally, each of us would be failing the people of Portsmouth if we didn’t explore how to work together better in the interests of the City.

It is with great pleasure then that I write to inform you that today (18 November) I signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement with David Williams, the Chief Executive of the City Council. The Agreement covers six themes. We have committed to work together

  • on climate and sustainability issues, including green skills and green capital.
  • on health issues, in particular through developing a Medical Technology cluster.
  • on developing and building an innovation quarter in the City.
  • on building a vibrant innovation ecosystem, in particular through increased knowledge exchange, the provision of innovation spaces, and developing incentives for companies to relocate to the Portsmouth area.
  • to explore how we can share evidence, research, and insights in particular through data-sharing.
  • and commit to be partners of first choice for major bids to help attract significant funding to the City.

There is much in the agreement — which initially will be for five years. While it is very early days, I am confident that this constitutes a step change in cooperation and working with the City Council. This can only be good for the City and we will use evidence of success as a basis to explore closer working in other areas of mutual interest for the benefit of this great City.

For anyone interested in finding out more about the Agreement or being involved in any of the work please contact

I am delighted that we have significantly increased the number of staff included in the REF and at the same time improved the overall quality of our research. This gives us a great foundation on which to grow our world-leading research and build on new and emerging areas of excellence, such as our Revolution Plastics initiative, Mission Space and the Centre for Creative and Immersive Extended Reality (CCIXR).

Professor Graham Galbraith, University of Portsmouth Vice-Chancellor