GuildHE Research is the research consortium for smaller and specialist universities and colleges in the UK. It is the new name for CREST, the Consortium for Research Excellence, Support and Training.

Our vision is to be a consortium that engages the full diversity of our institutions, people, and places in research and innovation, and which successfully promotes and advocates for the recognition and support of excellent research wherever it is found.

Our mission is to achieve influence in policy through GuildHE, specifically highlighting the types of research, disciplines, and methodologies in which our members specialise and demonstrate excellence. We help our members to embed a positive research culture, develop robust research and innovation strategies, and establish appropriate infrastructure through which they can drive forward their ambitions.

With our members we have identified key strategic actions for the Consortium:

  • Enable success in key aspects of research policy and strategy at member institutions, including: Research Excellence Framework and Research Degree Awarding Powers; compliance with research integrity and Open Access; innovation, knowledge exchange, and research-informed teaching
  • Embed and share concepts of research with the wider culture at GuildHE institutions including HR, Marketing, SUs, Estates, academic staff, and senior management.
    Provide access to shared services, and innovating new models with partners, which lead to cost-effective research and innovation infrastructure.
  • Maintain an environment of collegiality and collaboration of equal partners amongst members, such as through creating a common virtual doctoral training facility.

The Consortium is led by Director, Professor John Strachan, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research and Enterprise and Dean of Graduate College at Bath Spa University. The network is managed by Rachel Persad, Policy Manager (Research & Innovation) and supported by Haleema Masud, Policy Support Officer, at GuildHE.

Our History

CREST was established in 2010 by GuildHE, one of the two recognised representative bodies for higher education in the UK, to build on the ‘islands of excellence’ identified through the Research Assessment Exercise in 2008. Originally supported by pump-priming from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), it is now fully funded by member subscriptions.

8 years on, there have been significant changes in the UK research and innovation system, including the establishment of UK Research and Innovation and Research England. Our members have also grown, both in terms of number and diversity, resulting in a broad spectrum of ambitions and needs amongst our members.

The CREST Research Group decided to refresh the aims and vision of the Consortium to rise to the challenges facing research environments at smaller and specialist universities and colleges, and to reassert the vital relationship with GuildHE, a recognised representative body for universities with significant policy influence and experience.

GuildHE Research was launched at the British Library on 4 March 2019.