Enabling Strategy

University of Leeds Strategy
2020 to 2030

The Parkinson Building on a sunny day with blue sky

Our Enabling Strategy supports the delivery of the University of Leeds Strategy 2020 to 2030.

Underpinned by digital technology and new ways of working, it sets out the actions the University will take to enable our community of staff and students to deliver the Strategy successfully. It provides the means to create a Fairer Future for All and supports the ambitions of our Climate Plan.


The University’s intellectual, operational, digital and physical assets will be organised to enable our talented, diverse, digitally-literate, collaborative and empowered community to deliver our academic ambition, and to underpin our sustainable societal impact.


By focusing on our shared values, we will create the conditions and culture for our community to thrive. At its heart is a commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.

Our actions

We will cultivate an environment for working and studying that fosters a sense of belonging across our staff community. We will do this by:

  • Encouraging collaborative team working, innovation, learning and adaptability.
  • Developing a cultural framework to support and embed desired practices and behaviours.
  • Refreshing our reward and recognition schemes to incentivise teamwork and collaboration alongside individual achievement.

We will ensure our approach to leadership aligns with our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) values. We will do this by:

  • Supporting leaders to exemplify desired values, behaviours and practices.
  • Ensuring that staff engagement, including the effective, transparent and mutual flow of information and ideas, is at the centre of our leadership framework.


Our culture will support academic and professional colleagues to work closely together and achieve their full potential.

Our actions

We will attract and retain talented people from diverse backgrounds, providing them with equitable opportunities to develop and progress. We will do this by:

  • Reducing short-term contracts and boosting job security.
  • Refreshing our staff recruitment and progression processes and policies.
  • Recruiting, inducting and developing our leaders and managers to champion and implement our EDI ambitions and practices.
  • Refreshing our employment offer framework, including staff recognition, reward and benefit schemes.
  • Developing our approach to apprenticeships and internships to better support our talent pipeline and expand the opportunities for our local community.
  • Celebrating achievements and recognising sustained demonstration of our university values.

We will equip our staff with the capabilities, skills, and resilience to realise their full potential. We will do this by:

  • Continuing to build leadership and management capability.
  • Providing learning opportunities which support individuals to fulfil their role, realise future potential and support career progression.
  • Being consistent in our design of roles and responsibilities, promoting collaboration, adaptability, and agility.
  • Developing and implementing new approaches to support collaborative, adaptable and digitally-enabled working.

We will support a healthy staff community. We will do this by:

  • Developing the guidance and support to enable staff to manage their own health, safety and wellbeing.
  • Increasing awareness of, and access to, health and wellbeing resources amongst our staff and student community.
  • Supporting competence-based training in health, safety and wellbeing.

We will make sure that the University’s deliberative structures, management and resources support delivery of the strategy. Our professional services will collaborate across academic and service boundaries to support delivery. We will do this by:

  • Revising the University structures to enhance integration between research and student education.
  • Removing physical barriers to collaboration.
  • Exploring opportunities for strategic partnerships with major service providers and/or other higher education institutions.

Ways of working

We will transform the way we work, building on socio-technical developments to evolve our practices and deliver sustainable change and continuous improvement.

Our actions

We will identify and implement new and improved ways of working to enhance and balance effectiveness, efficiency, and the wellbeing of staff and students. We will do this by:

  • Co-creating and implementing ways of working that benefit the University and its staff and student community as standard working practice.
  • Implementing a transparent and consistent HR framework to reflect new ways of working that support the health, wellbeing and safety of our staff and students.
  • Empowering staff to adapt to new, more agile ways of working which optimise available resources and space, make the best use of digital resources and technologies, and promote a healthy work/life balance.

We will use digital technology and data-enabled insights to improve operational agility, effectiveness, and efficiency, freeing up staff to work on higher-value and more satisfying activities. We will do this by:

  • Investing in processes that work in harmony across faculties and services to develop collaborative working.
  • Upskilling and reskilling our staff to support their transition to more digitised ways of working.

We will embed effective occupational health and safety management to protect individuals and the organisation. We will do this by:

  • Implementing programmes to support attainment of ISO45001 accreditation – the international standard for occupational health and safety – and meet other national and international requirements.
  • Designing a consistent approach to compliance using electronic safety management systems.
  • Proactively developing health and safety arrangements to address the expansion of the University’s activities.


We will create a campus environment that encourages interaction and physical activity, and fosters a sense of belonging.

Our actions

We will create a sustainable, agile, smart, and inclusive campus, with education and research facilities that support delivery of our academic strategy and facilitate wellbeing. We will do this by:

  • Ensuring all new and refurbished spaces facilitate digitally-enabled, collaborative and hybrid working and support our target of achieving net-zero emissions by 2030.
  • Developing a portfolio of flexible, safe, technology-rich education spaces that support students to work collaboratively.
  • Developing the campus into a connected network of inclusive places which all have the potential to support the learning process, including cafés, shops and accommodation.
  • Ensuring all new or refurbished research laboratories are safe, open and collaborative.

We will invest in supporting the physical and mental health and wellbeing of our staff and student community. Our campus will facilitate engagement, physical activity and a sense of belonging across the wider community. We will do this by:

  • Developing safe and accessible outdoor spaces which encourage physical activity and have a positive impact on biodiversity and wellbeing.
  • Listening to our community and collaborating with local and national initiatives, to deliver a flexible and responsive approach to health, safety and wellbeing.

Sustainability – environmental and financial

Implementing an integrated institutional approach to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, to make an impact locally, nationally, and internationally.

Our actions

We will improve the understanding of sustainability across the organisation. We will do this by:

  • Embedding a university-wide narrative which clearly expresses what it means to be socially and environmentally responsible at Leeds.
  • Publishing the new Sustainability and Community Strategy and the associated Climate Plan and Pathway to Net Zero Plan to support our seven principles for tackling the climate crisis.

Developing new sources of profitable revenue, that are consistent with our values and culture, will support our academic mission and contribute to a sustainable operating model.

Our actions

We will develop the campus to support the evolution of our commercial services and activities, taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by digital technologies. We will do this by:

  • Ensuring that ‘smart campus’ developments reflect the needs of our commercial services customers.
  • Re-purposing vacated Victorian houses as residential properties for students, staff, or visitors, or letting them commercially.

Our role in the city and region

We will engage and collaborate with the local community and civic partners, with a focus on the public good and driving benefit to the region in the context of post-pandemic recovery.

Our actions

We will increase the local impact of our research and education. We will ensure our students and staff feel they are, and are seen to be, active and positive citizens. We will do this by:

  • Engaging business, cultural partners, government, local community and the third sector to coordinate and build our community impact.
  • Co-creating projects with local stakeholders to reduce inequalities and allow mutual learning and knowledge sharing.
  • Working in partnership with the city and region to realise our ambitions in net-zero emissions and sustainable travel.
  • Ensuring that student dissertation, placement and volunteer opportunities are recognised by all partners and are actively encouraged.
  • Extending the Leeds Living Lab programme further within the city and region, to provide a research test-bed for a wide range of organisations and communities.
  • Using our outdoor spaces to deliver a programme of events that engage the wider community.