Strategic Research Initiatives and Networks build on areas of existing research strength by bringing together a critical mass of expertise from across the Schools, with four key aims: to address large-scale multi-disciplinary research challenges; to strengthen research collaborations and knowledge transfer across disciplines; to increase research capacity and profile by providing a platform for large-scale funding applications, recruitments and international research partnerships; and to enhance our ability to influence national and international research, policy and funding agendas.

They are initiated and developed within the academic community and brought for approval to the University’s Research Policy Committee. Award of Strategic Research Initiative or Network status is for a renewable period of three years, subject to annual review by the Committee, and usually includes funds to support a coordinator role and some associated activities. After six years, our first Strategic Research Initiatives have successfully graduated into a new status as Interdisciplinary Research Centres.

Strategic Research Initiatives

Strategic Research Initiatives aim to create a shared cross-School vision and development plan for building research capacity and partnerships over the medium to long term. Our current portfolio of Strategic Research Initiatives includes:

Collections, Connections, Communities

This new initiative will use the collections in new ways that address the key challenges of our time: Society and Identity (addressing political extremism, racism and inequality); Health and Wellbeing (addressing declining physical, mental and emotional health in the population); Environment and Sustainability (addressing biodiversity loss and unsustainable living).

Precision Health

Transforming health outcomes and wellbeing through Precision Health. Precision Health Initiative identifies the key areas for high impact research, enables collaborative research in this field, and forms an inclusively coherent community. 

Quantum and Advanced Materials technologies for a Sustainable Society (QAMSS)

The Quantum and Advanced Materials technologies for a Sustainable Society (QAMSS) Strategic Research Initiative (SRI) will bring together Cambridge minds to synthesise a coherent vision to facilitate collaboration across disciplines, improve Cambridge visibility, and coordinate large strategic grants. It will investigate emerging business opportunities, policy implications, and ethical considerations. It will explore the impact of these technologies on art, from new techniques to redefinitions.


Facilitating cross-disciplinary research to offer fresh perspectives on a broad range of issues relating to reproduction from global policies to those which affect individuals, families and population.

Strategic Research Networks

Strategic Research Networks aim to link and promote activities amongst a cross-School academic community. Our current portfolio of Strategic Research Networks includes:

Digital Humanities

Engaging researchers across the University in developing shared priorities for research themes in digital humanities, and in extending the IT infrastructure and training for digital humanities research and research tools.


Bringing together the community of immunologists working in and around Cambridge, whose work ranges from discovery of the basic molecular mechanisms underpinning the immune response through to applications relevant to the clinic, to industry and to global health.


Developing an interdisciplinary research community working on scientific, health and social aspects of metabolic diseases, and promoting collaboration to increase impact, efficiency and access to resources.

Enquiries about the Strategic Research Initiatives and Networks scheme may be addressed to Dr Rosalyn Gregory, Research Strategy Office.