Ambitions and measures of success

The Horizons Institute was established to do things differently and to inspire research culture change. 

Helping colleagues across the University take risks in a supportive environment, we will encourage academics at all career stages to encounter new topics in different ways, drawing on external inspirations, and promote collaboration and teamwork. We aspire to be a model for self-reflection, diverse and non-hierarchal ways of working, and personal development. Our ambitions and measures may shift as part of our commitment to experimentation, self-reflection, and learning. 

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion   

The Horizons Institute embraces its responsibility to actively participate in the creation of an equitable and inclusive society, to better understand, and to mitigate for systemic and structural inequality by listening and working iteratively to change as we grow.  

As well as reducing inequities for those with protected characteristics, we commit to fair inclusion of those with neurodivergence, lower socio-economic status, and lived experiences of the challenges we seek to address. 

We will do this through:  

  • Incorporating principles such as coproduction, flexibility, and iterative working, and reviews of equity, diversity, inclusion and decolonisation into all strategic decision making and evaluation processes – creating safe and positive spaces for critical and open feedback of our work, and mechanisms to respond appropriately.
  • Generating meaningful objectives for tracking our progress against EDI and collaboration with a representative group of colleagues and independent experts to ensure our work actively involves, supports and prioritises those from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds, while also challenging and empowering colleagues from more privileged backgrounds to support them in turn.  
  • Supporting colleagues, internal and external to the university, to generate new solutions and ideas to complex challenges which prioritise the need to dismantle systemic inequities at their heart and prioritise research culture change. 
  • Engaging proactively with finance, and contract processes, striving to make them more accessible to international partners to ensure that the research environment is fully in line with the University’s stated aim to be ‘open and welcoming’ to global research.  

Interdisciplinarity and research culture change 

The Horizons institute will connect people across disciplines to foster an environment that encourages risk-taking, innovation, and ambition. To achieve this, we must create a research culture where collaboration across disciplines is business as usual; questions of equity, diversity and inclusion will be integrated into all areas, and successes and failures will be considered valuable and discussed openly.  

We will do this through: 

  • Tracking the number of novel quality ideas and collaborations that we support by collating case studies, highlighting unanticipated and unexpected outcomes of research collaborations, and gathering feedback from academics and partners. 
  • Reporting changes at an individual, team, or network level, including an increased openness to working in new ways and increased confidence in testing new ideas, approaches, and entering new collaborations with unknown consequences. 
  • Analysing and reviewing the lifecycle of a research idea through the collection of baseline surveys/interview data.
  • Developing assessments of our interdisciplinary programs to indicate and understand where and how interdisciplinarity develops.

Engagement – local, national and global 

The Horizons Institute will act as a catalyst for engagement, facilitating research and professional services colleagues to engage across faculty and disciplinary boundaries, and supporting them to develop meaningful relationships with key external partners.  

We will do this through:  

  • Developing opportunities for research, professional services, and external participants to progress up a ladder of opportunities, from being informed, to initial engagement, through to developing collaborations and growing and transforming ideas.  
  • Lead on developing new and best practice in research engagement, evaluating our activities to better understand what works in each situation.  
  • Promote examples of best practice of ethically researching with minoritized communities from across the University.
  • Work with colleagues within the University to develop pathways to recognise and reward researchers who develop their external engagement and make sure they are institutionally supported to do so.  
  • Build researchers’ capacity to work with external stakeholders, equipping them to navigate ethical and political dimensions and forge valuable and lasting relationships.  


The Horizons Institute aspires to be recognised at a local, national, and global level as an innovative platform, facilitating interdisciplinary research and engagement, with ambitions to contribute research-informed responses to complex global challenges.  

We will do this through: 

  • Creating an integrated approach to communications across platforms, ensuring a distinct institute identity.
  • Develop accessibility guidelines and templates to ensure that communication is inclusive.
  • Increasing the visibility of pioneering interdisciplinary research at the University with a specific focus on research, ideas, and collaborations supported by the Horizons Institute. 
  • Utilising communications channels to celebrate interdisciplinarity and improve buy-in across all constituent parts of the University. 

Measures of success 

The Horizons Institute will use a variety of qualitative and quantitative measures to determine impact of our work, and the levels of engagement and understanding around our aims and objectives.  

Qualitative methods to include short testimonials/questionnaires from participating partners throughout their association with the Institute to assess added value, culture change, and indirect influence beyond the University of Leeds including; sampling of understanding around the Institute’s work through random selection for questionnaires from the University of Leeds staff body.  

Quantitative measures will include but are not limited to the following: levels of engagement with the Institute through our digital presence (social media and web), number of subscribers to the Institute mailing list, participants in events, applications received, and queries received through the Horizons Institute email account. 

Horizons Institute and the University of Leeds strategy 

The University of Leeds strategy is intrinsic to the ambitions and activities of Horizons Institute. Our dual objectives are to increase our University community’s impact for global change, while helping to create an inclusive and collaborative research culture across the university and beyond.