As with so many projects across the University, plans to launch our first Signature Research Themes at Kent have had to take a back seat in recent months as we adapted to the significant impact of Covid-19. However, work has continued behind the scenes, and we are now excited to be able to present our shortlist of eight possible themes ahead of a selection event on 15 September.
Signature Research Themes are a key part of making sure Kent is globally known for its research, building on our strengths and articulating the cutting-edge nature of what we do. As they develop over time, they will help us grow our profile more widely, attracting income, boosting engagement, appealing to potential students and ensuring our work fosters change across our communities.
The Themes will also showcase our strengths as a creative, constructive university. At a challenging time for the sector, grouping work in this way will enhance our collective research communities and bring strong and inventive ideas together across our new academic divisions. We know that the most groundbreaking moments can come when diverse ideas collide, and it is this belief – along with our founding ethos as an innovative interdisciplinary institution – that has driven the project.
Developing from our early work last year collaborating with researchers, academics and wider staff, we now have a shortlist of eight potential themes – all intended to be distinctive, bold and true to who we are as a University:
- On Time: Heritage, Technologies and Futures
- Food Systems, Natural Resources and Environment
- Migration and Movement
- Artificial Intelligence in the Public Interest
- Conflict, Security, Rights and Violence
- Inequalities and Diversity
- Digital Culture
- Future Human
Over the coming weeks, we will be sharing more information on each Theme ahead of our selection event on 15 September. More details of how to join this will be available shortly. A decision-making panel of internal and external experts chaired by the Vice-Chancellor will then convene to agree which themes we will take forward together, helping to shine a light on the groundbreaking work we do as researchers every day.
In the meantime, you can find out more on our Signature Research Themes webpages.
Sarah Slowe, Dan Mulvihill, Catherine Richardson and Tim Hopthrow
Signature Research Themes form a key part of our Kent 2025 strategy, which focuses on opportunity, discovery and community. We aim to empower students to find and shape their place in the world, and for academics to be free to explore and deepen our understanding of it. Find out more at Kent 2025.