World-leading research, real world impact
  • Researcher holding testtube

Nexus connects your business to the University’s research capability across and at the interfaces of health, engineering, environment and data to drive more radical thinking and new approaches to solving intractable and ever more complex challenges.

Research and innovation excellence


Health innovation ecosystem

Research and innovation at the University of Leeds focuses on some of the most pressing challenges facing healthcare. Our insights into the causes of musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular disease, viral infections and cancer are world-leading. The University are collaborators in a well-developed health innovation ecosystem, central to which is our partnership with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. We are committed to applying our expertise and state-of-the-art facilities to tackling 21st century healthcare needs.

Early stage discovery through to translational research to address unmet needs with new technologies, encompassing healthcare technology research and assessment, health economics and clinical trials.

Research in the world–leading Astbury Centre for Structural Biology and its state-of-the-art Astbury BioStructure Laboratory focuses on understanding the molecular basis of life which can inform the discovery of new treatments for cancer, cardiovascular disease and diseases of ageing.

Bioengineering research in musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems. The Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, has unique expertise in joint replacement, tissue re-engineering and functional spinal interventions.

Researching mechanisms of vascular disease and cardiovascular diagnosis and protection. Key topics are: biomedical imaging; molecular mechanisms and endothelial cell function; atherothrombosis and diabetes; and heart failure and autonomic control.

Strengths in biomarkers, surgical technologies, quality of life care, patient centred outcomes assessment, palliative care and interventions including surgery, immunotherapies, and systematic therapies and radiotherapy, applied across bladder, brain, colorectal, gastrointestinal, haematology, melanoma and prostate.

The Leeds Clinical Trials Unit specialises in the design, conduct and analysis of both early and late phase high quality academic clinical trials, influencing national and international clinical practice.


From nanoscale to advanced engineering

Research covers all major aspects of engineering and the physical sciences, including cross-cutting themes such as energy, materials, medical engineering and artificial intelligence, with theoretical, experimental and modelling work underpinning all areas. Applying interdisciplinary expertise to tackle industry challenges is central to our way of working and is enabled by state-of-the art facilities.

Robots welding in factory

The Bragg Centre for Materials Research will enable the discovery, creation, characterisation and exploitation of materials engineered at the atomic level, with the potential for innovation in a range of new devices, systems and applications.

High frequency electronics encompassing fundamental understanding, design, modelling, and fabrication of devices, components, and subsystems from 1 GHz through to terahertz (THz) frequencies. Exploring new applications in: medical imaging and diagnosis; non-destructive testing in the electronics, pharmaceutical and automotive industries; and gas sensing and spectroscopy.

This emerging field of bio-nanoelectronics is investigating and exploiting biological processes for assembly of nanoscale structures, and introduces biological functionality into electronic devices to provide new operational methodologies.

Interdisciplinary research in medical robotics, field and infrastructure robotics, artificial intelligence and enabling technologies for autonomy in robotics, enables by a suite of state-of-the-art facilities for robot design and construction.

Key strengths in tribology, corrosion and biomimetics applied in the automotive, manufacturing, healthcare and oil & gas sectors, underpinned by a unique set of facilities integrating engineering surfaces and interfaces, tribology, corrosion and optical metrology.

A multi-scale ‘atoms-to-products’ approach to experimental product and process characterisation including process and systems modelling, industrial biotechnology and the development of smart formulated products, addressing cost, quality and functionality challenges across virtually all industry sectors.

Complementing our Institute for Transport Systems, our new Institute for High Speed Rail and System Integration will house a high-speed vehicle test facility and bespoke digital systems.  Sited off campus alongside other large-scale facilities, the Institute will take a transformative whole-system approach to high-speed rail engineering, researching all aspects of infrastructure and vehicle testing from foundations, track and traction systems to braking and energy harvesting, sensor technology and more.

Interdisciplinary research at the interface of energy and the environment, underpinned by capability in computational modelling, process and system optimisation, socio-technical assessment of energy technologies and systems is driving innovation in a range of applications. These include: greening fossil fuel power generation; bioenergy; fundamental and applied combustion science and technology; renewables; petroleum exploration and production; smart grids; energy storage and greener transport.

Engineering and geoscience research led to the development of data sets that are now routinely used in offshore oil exploration to identify prospective areas faster, and with reduced cost, and new techniques applied to satellite altimeter data are being used to compute gravity anomalies in marine areas with increased accuracy and reliability.


Understanding environmental change

The world is changing both through natural causes and the impact of human activity. These changes affect the whole of society and there is a need to better understand them to provide advice and practical solutions to manage and mitigate their impact. World-leading research at Leeds spans earth sciences, environmental science and sustainability, human and physical geography and transport planning.


water@leeds is one of the largest interdisciplinary centres for water research in the world, encompassing expertise from across the physical, biological, chemical, social and economic sciences together with engineering and the arts. The centre addresses global challenges including changing climate and rainfall patterns, growing global populations, shifting land use patterns and increasing water consumption.

Researchers from a broad range of disciplines including agriculture, bioscience, environment, food, health, social science, engineering, big data and computing are collaborating in three priority areas: livestock productivity, diet and health and sustainable crop production and food security.

World-renowned, the Priestley International Centre for Climate is unique in bringing together expertise in all the key strands of climate change research, enabling us to link our physical, technological, economic and social understanding of climate change with strategies for mitigation and adaptation.

Our research aims to help create socially, environmentally and economically sustainable cities and is helping to influence thinking, policy and strategy both locally and nationally in areas such as: re-thinking the value of infrastructure and developing innovative ways to finance it; using robots to repair city streets and utilities, while also investigating how jobs and resource flows can be equalized in the robotics age; planning for more circular and sustainable economies; making cities more resilient and using smart technologies to improve city life; and finding innovative approaches to overcoming regional disparities.

Underpinning our world-class transport research are fantastic simulation and visualisation technologies, enabling new understanding of the ways people move and the mobility options they choose to use in a city, with our latest development, Virtuocity, a simulation suite in which new technologies, data and models are harnessed to support collaboration and accelerated solutions.


Optimising value from data

Data analytics research at Leeds is having significant impacts on society, from enhancing cancer guidelines and patient care programmes to informing commercial strategy and public policy analysis. Society generates a huge volume of complex data each day from simple activities such as travelling on smart motorways, collecting loyalty points and using social media. Big Data has the potential to transform society at a global scale. It is an extremely valuable resource that can help us to answer questions and provide solutions to real problems in the city, economy and society. Continued investment in infrastructure will not only meet the requirement for new skills, tools and techniques, but will also dramatically reduce the time it takes to translate blue skies thinking into real world solutions.

Computer Source Code

Researchers and data scientists from disciplines including medicine, biological sciences, geography, transport studies and mathematics working with public and private partners to understand health and human behaviour.  Providing state-of-the-art high capacity scalable infrastructure, LIDA is raising the bar in the standard of data quality, access, protection and exploitation.  The most demanding work can be undertaken in a highly secure environment, addressing the need for new skills, tools and techniques, and dramatically reducing the time it takes to translate blue skies thinking into real world solutions.

Research by the MRC Medical Bioinformatics Centre at the interface between the clinic and high volume molecular and phenotype data sets is generating new insights into the factors that drive disease and also providing indicators that inform treatment, leading to more personalised medicine and healthcare. This links with pioneering work in the NHS on The Leeds Care Record, a unique patient data resource which spans primary, secondary and social care boundaries.

A collaboration with Public Health England linking multiple electronic data sources to create a secure data repository called CORECT-R containing data from across the cancer pathway of diagnosis, treatment and outcome, BCI provides access for researchers working in the field.

The Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC) is working securely and safely with consumer data shared by private and public sector organisations to lever value and improve data analytics capability for a wide range of users.

Analysing consumer data to identify and better understand crime hot spots to help incident response and crime reduction organisations to focus their resource more effectively.