Research Festival 2022

In June 2022, we will host the 5th annual University of Plymouth Research Festival.

Having attracted over 1000 participants in recent years from academia, policy, industry and the public to explore the research undertaken right across the University, and set foundations for important collaborations, the event continues to go from strength to strength.

In 2021, the Research Festival opened up to an international audience through online delivery, and this will carry through to 2022 to sit alongside in-person audiences as ‘hybrid’ events, allowing us to continue to welcome familiar faces and reach new audiences.

At Plymouth, we pride ourselves on the breadth of expertise within the research community that enables us to enact the transdisciplinary approach needed to address the very real and urgent 21st-century challenges as a whole system, as laid out in the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

In celebration of the collaboration across specialisms and disciplines – and a growing appreciation to do so – the theme of the 2022 Research Festival is: A systems-thinking approach to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

27 June – 1 July 2022

Call for submissions

We welcome submissions for events from all areas of the University to showcase their research.

The content within the event will align to one or more of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The content will reference a systems-thinking approach to research. This may be at a stage of being explored and discussed, looking for collaboration, embedded and active, or completed and evaluated.

Applications from University of Plymouth academics will be accepted on a competitive basis following review by the Research Festival Steering Group.

There will be 10 festival events throughout the week (5 mornings, 5 afternoons) and applications are accepted for online or hybrid events. Events must be outward-facing for wider engagement, whether general public or specific sectors/collaborators etc., and interactivity is encouraged. Internal-only events will not be progressed.

Please note: We are accepting submissions for hybrid events on the assumption that in-person events will be permitted in June 2022. The Research Festival will take place in compliance with UK Government guidelines in place at the time and so this is subject to change. Support will be provided to adapt hybrid events to online hosted where appropriate.

Successful events will:

  • demonstrate relevance to transdisciplinary research and ‘systems thinking’;
  • have a clear sense of purpose with proposed aims and outcomes;
  • have a clear target audience who will benefit from attending the event; and
  • follow a festival event format, rather than a conference or talk.

It is strongly recommended that you liaise with your Associate Dean for Research and either Sheena Asthana, Richard Thompson or Will Blake to align with Strategic Research Institute plans before submission and to seek out opportunities to combine and collaborate.

Applications must be received before submissions close:

3pm, Thursday 9 December 2021

Successful contributors will be contacted within four weeks of the closing date.

For any related enquiries, please contact Professor Jerry Roberts, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, via


A solutions-focused, whole-system approach

At the University of Plymouth, when we talk of a systems-thinking approach, it is one of understanding and improving complex issues by viewing and addressing the whole of the problem. Typically scientists – natural and social – may come together with health, arts and humanities researchers, government, industry and communities, to address local to global challenges alongside national and international policy.

Research Festival 2022 is an opportunity to articulate and showcase how the University of Plymouth is a front-runner in systems-thinking approaches to solutions-oriented research. It also provides a platform for you to connect with others to foster or nurture collaborative partnerships, whether you are already working in alignment with systems-thinking or aspire to strengthening your transdisciplinary working.

UN Sustainable Development Goals

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership.

Ending global poverty; improving health, education and economy; reducing inequality; tackling climate change; and preserving the environment.

Visit the UN Sustainable Development Goals website for more information

Public Research Programme

The year-long programme of public events showcases our research across a spectrum of topics. It presents our annual Research Festival, the Inaugural Professorial Lecture series, the Public Research Lecture series, the new Christmas Research Lecture, and selected lectures featuring keynote speakers throughout the year.

All are welcome to join us as our academics open the door to the intriguing world of research, inviting you to learn more about the fascinating work taking place across the University.

Have a look at our upcoming events