Strategy 2020-25

Vision and Objectives

Our strategy is centred around an ambitious academic vision for a digital age.

A graphic depicting fibre optics

Vision and Objectives

Our strategy is centred around an ambitious academic vision for a digital age.

Connecting Worlds: Our Academic Vision


Across borders

  • Student-centred UG and PG distance learning programmes available for study anywhere in the world.
  • Innovative pedagogies and cutting-edge technologies, as well as face to face teaching centres to expand educational opportunities for all.
  • Open access to leading humanities research and digitalised historic library collections in arts and social sciences.


  • Combining the world of advanced study with the world of work.
  • Credit-bearing, modular portfolio of Continuing Professional Development to  provide learning opportunities for all in the form of short courses, micro-credentials, seasonal schools, and refresher programmes.
  • Value for money MA and PhD programmes designed to develop practice-based expertise. 


  • A diverse community of learners that seek to acquire, reskill or re-engage new knowledge and experience at any stage in their lives.
  • Advanced courses to confront the latest disciplinary challenges and address the demand for education.
  • Learning opportunities influenced by the changing needs of the workplace and determined by intellectual curiosity.


Being Human in a digital world

  • The meaning, importance and experience of being human through scholarly enquiry to bear on intellectual endeavour, global challenges and societal problems.
  • The tension between ‘fast’ change and slow thinking to champion the importance of arts and cultures to our diverse identities and our common humanity.
  • Enhancing the skills and realising the capabilities of people worldwide demonstrating the intrinsic value of the humanities and social sciences to social cohesion and well-being, as well as to their importance in responding to the demands of a changing world.

Intellectual infrastructure

  • Creating intellectual infrastructures for interdisciplinary enquiry that benefit wide communities of researchers and support arts and humanities.
  • Dedicated, and uniquely funded to devise new projects and initiatives that sustain and protect the health of the humanities and social sciences disciplines across the UK and shape the field internationally.
  • Advanced training to equip the new research generation and maintain their readiness for the rapid challenges of modern investigation.

Integrating, partnering, collaborating

  • With Galleries, Libraries, Museums, Archives (GLAMs) and heritage sectors to understand and communicate the human experience.
  • With businesses to realise the potential of creative skills to entrepreneurial activity to meet changing demands for knowledge and skills.
  • With scientists to better understand the human dimension of technical challenges.


Our communities

  • Connecting with the wider community of learners, engaging the public with university research and seeking to learn from others for the benefit of all.
  • Our bases in London and Paris connect two of the most economically and ethnically diverse cities in Europe and reach out to communities through our educational work.
  • We will confront UoL’s own past through the lens of diversity and work to tackle racism, homophobia, sexism, religious and all forms of discrimination and exclusion.

Physical and virtual spaces

  • We will exploit our physical and digital assets, particularly in our libraries in pursuit of our academic mission and in order to facilitate scholarship and engagement for the benefit of our partners and for the communities we serve.
  • Reimagining research and educational spaces, reflecting new ways of working in the 2020s and connecting our physical and digital environments.
  • Leading national training for the provision of skills driving research in the digital humanities.

London, the UK and the world 

  • A federation of world class universities for London, our home, is a lens through which we will observe and confront societal challenges and where we will form Partnerships that benefit London’s many communities to transform lives in the capital.
  • Cross-cutting ventures to pool talents and resources to ensure that the benefits of our research and educational initiatives are felt and realised across the UK.
  • International research collaborations to maximise opportunities for research and educational collaboration at a time of international instability.

Our Strategic Aims and Objectives 2020–2025

Strategic Aim

To enrich our academic work in the pursuit of excellence in education, research and knowledge exchange through collaboration with our Member Institutions; developing academic programmes, networks and partnerships that further our federation’s goals across London, the UK and internationally.

Strategic Objectives

Furthering our position as the UK’s leading provider of distance learning worldwide, delivering cutting-edge programmes to increased numbers of people who can benefit most from education

  1. Develop flexible programmes in technology, business, management, healthcare and law at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, directly addressing skill gaps, economic and employment needs in the UK and globally.
  2. Design innovative new programmes in the creative industries and humanities, with an emphasis on social, experiential online learning.
  3. Offer professional development opportunities, creating shorter courses mapped to academic credit; providing micro credentials, stackable, professionally-accredited courses, on-demand online masterclasses and apprenticeships.
  4. Extend opportunity across the globe by providing supportive and accessible pricing, along with bursaries and scholarships.
  5. Create opportunities in new regions globally and renew our focus on the UK, while continuing to expand student numbers in our existing regions.

Stimulating innovative intellectual exchange and effective public engagement, drawing on our expertise across the University in the humanities, distance learning, careers and employability, and inclusivity/ widening access

  1. Become the UK’s major provider of innovative intellectual infrastructure, public engagement and research training in the humanities and in interdisciplinary work, extending our School of Advanced Study’s alliances nationally and internationally and providing thought-leadership in these critical areas through a National Centre for the Humanities.
  2. Equip the new generation of researchers and maintain their readiness for the rapid challenges of modern investigation and the workplace, through cutting-edge training programmes developed in collaboration with our key strategic partners.
  3. Establish Centres of Excellence in key strategic areas (Distance Education, London, Careers and Employability, Inclusivity/Widening Access) to amplify the work of our Member Institutions, to innovate across the HE sector, and to connect London’s economic, social, cultural and political assets.
  4. Mobilise our collective expertise across the University of London, its Member Institutions, and our Centres of Excellence to inform policy, advocate for change, and provide thought-leadership in key strategic areas.
  5. Devise events, projects and initiatives that engage the public in advanced research and to experiment in new forms of participatory research that engages and serves our communities.

Developing and continuously adapting our organisation and capacity to anticipate the university of the future

  1. Ensure the University is financially strong and resilient.
  2. Develop opportunities for our staff to support their careers and contribute to the delivery of this strategy.
  3. Align our organisational structures and capacity to delivering our strategic objectives.
  4. Ensure that our worldwide campus, realised through digital technology, meets student needs and expectations.
  5. Mobilise our physical estate to support our academic functions and realise its commercial value.
  6. Build on cutting-edge sustainability practices working towards our zero operational carbon goal.

Delivering Our Strategy

We have enabling strategies to support the delivery of our strategic aim and objectives. These cover key initiatives focussed on developing our people, our digital capabilities, our financial resilience and our property portfolio. Our commitment to enabling better access and success in higher education will continue to guide our work and so will our commitment to play our part in creating an environmentally sustainable future; both will be embedded in our delivery programmes.

We will measure and demonstrate our progress through:

  • continued investment
  • increased and improved academic programmes,
  • improved student access and success
  • increased research innovation
  • wider public engagement
  • reduced environmental impact
  • higher performing property portfolio