St Andrews students sit on the grass at St Salvator's Quad in the sunshine

Executive summary

The objectives of the University Strategy are grouped under five themes – World-leading, Diverse, Digital, Sustainable, and Entrepreneurial.

Executive summary

The refreshed University Strategy 2022-2027 is the result of close consultation with our Schools, Professional Service Units, and students at all levels. It will guide the decisions, policies, and investments the University makes over the next five years.

The University’s fundamental goal remains to attract and nurture the best staff and the most promising students from around the world, and provide an environment in which they can produce their best work for maximum societal benefit.

The objectives of the University Strategy are grouped under five themes – World-leading, Diverse, Digital, Sustainable, and Entrepreneurial – and are underpinned by our commitment to social responsibility.

Each theme is introduced by its Vision and the ways in which it has Connections to other themes. Objectives are listed, before detail is given on Delivery and how we will measure Progress. For each theme, we demonstrate how it relates to our twin focuses of Research, impact, and innovation and Education and the student experience. 

Our key objectives are summarised as follows:

  • We will be a world-leading university, advancing knowledge to address global challenges in socially responsible ways.
  • We will share and grow our research, education, and impact through connecting disciplines and collaboration with influential global partners.
  • We will make strategic appointments and create development opportunities for those who want to lead.
  • We will foster an inclusive and compassionate culture where all feel able to be their authentic selves.
  • We will build greater diversity across our student and staff communities and make real progress in addressing inequalities.
  • We will extend our influence and reach through a new online education model and grow the reach and reputation of our research in a digital context.
  • We will embed digital, entrepreneurial, and sustainable opportunities and skills development in our curriculum and culture to prepare us all for the future.
  • We will ensure our governance and processes accelerate our transition to becoming a more sustainable institution.
  • We will decarbonise our energy systems as we develop our estate responsibly.
  • We will cultivate a culture of innovation and offer support, space, and funding to enable staff and students to progress their ideas.
  • We will be a role model for how people and ideas can move smoothly between universities, industry, and the wider world.
  • We will respect, nurture and promote our local community and environment.

The University Strategy will steer us through changes and challenges to realise our objectives. We will connect our staff, students, and stakeholders, engage actively with governments, funders, and policy makers, and mobilise the support of our alumni, friends, and global community. We will develop action plans for each of the themes and revisit this framework regularly to measure progress. The existing Enabling Strategies for People, ICT, and Estate will be refreshed, and will provide the key operational frameworks for delivery.


Graphic of the process. Collaboration, creation, and consultation are all part of a cyclical process between staff and students, which then leads on the to strategy.


Through research, impact, innovation, education, and student experience, the five themes of world-leading, diverse, digital, sustainable, and entrepeneurial can deliver outcomes.


Objectives and an action plan delivery can process decisions, policies, and investment.

Our commitment to social responsibility

Social responsibility is a deep-woven thread which already runs through what we do at St Andrews. Our sense of responsibility towards our staff and students is visible across the themes of the Strategy. Our responsibility towards the environment has been extended under the new theme of Sustainable St Andrews. We retain a keen sense of responsibility towards our local community and recognise that our day-to-day activities and plans have a profound impact.

The University will:

  • Act ethically, transparently, sustainably, and for the wider public benefit at all times.
  • Promote and defend the principles and importance of academic freedom, and freedom of speech.
  • Follow and contribute to best practice in the pursuit of greater equality and diversity.
  • Encourage our staff and students to prize a culture of tolerance, respect, kindness, and courtesy towards each other, and to our broader communities.
  • Involve our staff and students at the heart of our governance and decision making.
  • Make our research findings widely available for local, national, and global benefit.
  • Nurture a culture of civic engagement and volunteering amongst staff, students, and alumni.
  • Ensure all plans, work, and activities are ‘community aware’.
  • Work with businesses whose principles and commitments to the environment and sustainability align with our own.
  • Work with local businesses wherever possible, and consider the impacts of our growth and activities on the sustainability of businesses in St Andrews, Fife, and further afield.
  • Communicate promptly and transparently with our neighbours, stakeholders and partners, listen to ideas, and be willing to adapt where there is evidence that we can improve our proposals and practices.
  • Ensure that funds which the University holds in trust are invested in a socially responsible manner.
Girl in yellow jacket on beach holding Ukraine flag
More than 1000 people from across St Andrews gathered on West Sands in March 2022 to form a powerful line in the sand, standing in solidarity with Ukraine.