Promoting university research to achieve worldwide recognition

Gareth Miller - 22nd May 2017

With an estimated 40,000 universities worldwide and 130 in the UK, the competition to stand out from the crowd in the field of higher education is highly competitive. Each institution offers education, of course, but their research expertise and specialisms are what set universities apart from each other.

Research is fundamental to a university’s reputation, ranking and funding. This means that the target audience when it comes to marketing of universities is not only students, but investors too.

Promotion of research is best achieved when focused around a particular campaign or niche. By developing a profile in particular subjects or sectors, the reputation of the university as a whole can be enhanced.

The University of Southampton is one of the founding members of the Russell Group’s 24 research-intensive, world-class universities. To celebrate its 60th anniversary, the university wanted to showcase the variety of research activities taking place across its faculties, institutes and academic departments.

Carswell Gould worked with the University of Southampton to develop the creative concept of ’60@60, which saw the university identify and promote sixty successes spread over the course of its history. These sixty powerful moments were used to represent how the University of Southampton has been ‘Changing the world for 60 years’.

Each success was showcased online and the dedicated website received 30,000 page-views in the first month. A full advertising campaign was also developed to raise awareness.

Carswell Gould University Southampton Billboard Bargate

The University of Southampton is a great asset to the city, so promoting its research successes and world-leading capability is not only of benefit to the university itself. It helps to put Southampton as a place on the map, it offers a great economic benefit to the city and to the region and its businesses.

Marketing and promoting research not only gives the university and the area huge credibility, it also helps to ensure that future research is funded, and this is essential for enabling our universities to continue researching solutions to national and global issues.

Universities can also draw strength from collaboration to promote and develop their research expertise. This is demonstrated by the SETsquared Partnership, an enterprise collaboration between the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey and is the global number one university business incubator.

As well as business creation, SETsquared also runs a programme of enterprise activity and supports researchers and academics to realise the commercial and social impact of their research. The partnership helps researchers to work more innovatively but also to ensure external business is able to tap into the resources and expertise available within universities

When SETsquared was crowned with the global top spot in the UBI Global rankings, Carswell Gould obtained quality coverage across target media to raise awareness of the announcement.

Carswell Gould University Global #1

Being recognised as the top university incubator in the world is something to be incredibly proud of, and we wanted to ensure that the news was shared with as many people as possible.

Building a media campaign around this success has helped to position SETsquared for further opportunities to work and share best practice with organisations, start-ups and entrepreneurs globally as well as in new regions of the UK.

The importance of new business creation, student enterprise and academic research is vital for UK universities, and the promotion of this enterprise activity is fundamental to its continued success in the future.