Get involved

We connect academics, non-government organisations (NGOs), charities, community organisations, local authorities and businesses.  

You can get involved through:

To find out how to get involved email the Horizons Institute via

Headline theme

We invite members of the University of Leeds community to collaborate on a specific theme with a global resonance that we refresh every two years. Our current headline theme is ‘What comes after the UN Sustainable Development Goals?’  

Our headline theme is used to underpin opportunities for open intellectual engagement in curated environments such as guest lectures, workshop series and collaborative labs – offering researchers space and time to develop new thinking and collaborations.  

Our current theme launched in Spring/Summer 2023. For more information, visit our Headline Theme page

Challenge themes

Our Challenge Theme Networks are open to University of Leeds colleagues, with these networks working collaboratively with policymakers, non-profit organisations, charities, businesses and the public to address pressing challenges. 

Together with partners, we aim to address specific societal, scientific or technological challenges of global significance. We believe having diverse inputs and perspectives will help us to identify the most important challenges and create robust engagement strategies. 

Set up by University of Leeds researchers with support from the Horizons Institute, the Challenge themes aim to establish thriving interdisciplinary networks that: 

  • bring researchers together from across the University to collaborate in the development of ideas.
  • share understanding, evidence-based knowledge and data.
  • build and strengthen capacity in interdisciplinary skills and leadership.
  • strengthen their research impact by increasing its influence in local, national and global policy development.
  • communicate the depth and breadth of their research to local, national, and global audiences. 

Our opportunities are a mix of face-to-face and online activities. Several challenge themes will run at the same time, with a duration of two semesters each. 

You can join our existing Challenge Theme networks, or get help in setting up a new one. We open our application process to become a new challenge network every autumn. 

Our current Challenge Theme networks:

  • Reimagining Ageing
  • ReMaking Places: an interdisciplinary network for safe and thriving places
  • The Interdisciplinary Network on Time
  • Global Biosphere Sensing Network

To find out more about each of these networks, please visit the Challenge Theme Networks page.

Challenge Themes receive one year of support from the Horizons Institute. Each academic year, we will support new Challenge Themes through a fair and transparent process. Our support includes helping to identify potential partners, facilitating collaborative working, communications guidance and helping to shape an interdisciplinary research agenda, external engagement and societal impact. 

Global Academy

Open to research leaders at Leeds and around the world, our Global Academy provides an arena for early and mid-career researchers around the world to come together to develop skills, ideas and network. 

For more information on the Global Academy programme, including Crucible, Insight Series and Methods Series, visit our Global Academy page.

Partnerships for societal impact and innovation

We provide a platform to encourage early-stage, interdisciplinary and inclusive collaboration between academic researchers and partners from a variety of sectors, helping to create a seamless link between challenge-led research and real-world impact.

Over the past year, we have worked with multiple partners, including LEEDS 2023, Yorkshire and Humber Policy Engagement Research Network (Y-PERN) and Leeds City Council. 

To find out more about our work with external partners, please visit our Partnerships for Societal Impact page.