8 ways you will benefit from university research

While you’ve been looking at unis, you may have noticed that some institutions say they are ‘research active’ but what does this mean for you as an undergraduate or even postgraduate student, and does it really matter? Yes! Here are eight reasons why it does...

Prof Katy Holloway and Prof Fiona Brookman

1. Active researchers, often leaders in their field, design and inform our course content, ensuring you benefit from the latest knowledge and developments in your subject and beyond.

Research-active university - Associate Professor Duncan Pirrie teaches students on field trip to Azores

2. Being taught by active researchers provides you with privileged access to the very latest practice and knowledge in your field.

Professor John Kinuthia, Civil Engineering

3. Being involved in research helps ensure that lecturers are passionate about their areas, and well connected to their industry, nationally and globally.

David Shearer,  Professor in Elite Performance Psychology at the University of South Wales and a HCPC registered Sport and Exercise Psychologist

4. Students who are taught by research-active lecturers benefit from their industry know-how and contacts, which contributes to your technical skills and abilities, and work-readiness. 

Tom Owens concussion research

5. Opportunities to be directly involved in university research will improve your learning experience and develop your own research and analytical skills, which is fundamental to success in all careers.

Dr Cheryl Allsop

6. Cutting edge research can take years to be published but is transferred to the classroom almost right away!

Chemistry Research and Researchers - Dr Gareth Owen and PhD Chemistry students

7. University research often brings world-class facilities, such as specialist equipment and state-of-the-art laboratories, which you will be able to access. You can test the theory you’ve learnt in the classroom, supported by active researchers. 

Professor Paul Carr - Live Events and Music Research

8. Research impacts your personal life and community too. The products you use, the medicine you take and even some of the live events you attend have been made possible by university research. 

How we benefitted


Benjamin Stacey - Research Assistant, PHd.jpg

In the third year, we were introduced to Professor Damian Bailey’s research into high altitude physiology. Learning directly from the very academic who was conducting the research was exciting, not to mention rewarding and insightful. I had direct access to his latest findings and attended tutorials on the specialist equipment used in the research, both of which greatly enhanced my learning experience. I also benefited from a first-hand perspective into areas that aren’t covered in research publications, such as the logistical or ethical challenges of conducting research. This helped to develop my research capabilities and undoubtedly sparked my interest in pursuing a postgraduate research degree.

Benjamin, BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science graduate and PhD student


Forensic Sciences technicians_29987.jpg

Being involved in university research has enabled me to gain employability skills, develop a research mindset and become a confident, independent researcher. I’ve been given a topic of research that the Chemistry group is involved in (molecular wire architectures, also known as molecular bundles) to investigate and am using this as the basis of my dissertation. Plus, I have been able to use the research facilities to practice the techniques I’ve learnt about in the classroom - all under the guidance of published researchers who really know their stuff. 

Arfon, BSc (Hons) Chemistry student (pictured right)

Earth Sciences

Field work - BSc Geology and MSc Advanced Applied Field Geoscience Field Trip to the Azores_41195.jpg

Every geologist loves to get their hands dirty, so I jumped at the chance to get involved in a geoscience research project on the effect of climate change on land slides in Wales. It was invaluable in helping me think about and approach things in a better way. I got experience of using drones to take 3D imagery of landslides, and benefited greatly from the researchers’ guidance and high standards. Having this experience definitely gave me a competitive edge when it came to job interviews. My current employer does similar work and really valued my practical experience in this area. 

Harry, MSc Advanced Applied Field Geoscience graduate


Megan Ware - Learning Disabilities.jpg

Research is an integral part of our nurse training, and we’re taught all about USW's learning disability research, including how it is conducted, why it is conducted and the importance of it. I had the chance to participate in the research USW did to develop a health profile for people with learning disabilities. As a Welsh speaker, I helped to facilitate focus groups in North Wales. Being involved in research during my studies has developed my confidence and competence. As a result, I feel that as I transition into a registered nurse, I can confidently carry out my own research to gather evidence and improve practice.

Megan, BSc (Hons) Nursing (Learning Disabilities) student