Alliances and partnerships

We are distinctive for our strategic collaborations and academic and industrial research alliances, both national and international, and take advantage of the reach of our Scottish and international campuses for global research opportunities.

Research pooling

The University takes a lead role in the development of research pooling in Scotland and is a partner in the research pooling initiative created by the Scottish Funding Councli. The aim is to develop a research landscape in Scotland that attracts leading researchers from around the world.

Excellence in research is at the core of the research pools, extending to knowledge exchange and sharing of facilities. Graduate Schools within the research pools offer an enhanced and collaborative environment for PhD students from around the world. 

We are a partner in the following research pools, funded by the Scottish Funding Council and the participating universities:

Edinburgh Strategic Alliance (ESA) in Architecture, Built Environment and Planning

The Edinburgh Strategic Alliance (ESA) in Architecture, Built Environment and Planning is a joint research endeavour between the School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society at Heriot-Watt University, and the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, University of Edinburgh. Our institutes; The Urban Institute, Institute for Sustainable Building Design and Institute for Social Policy, Housing, Equalities Research (i-SPHERE) engage collaboratively with questions of architecture, built environment, planning and policy. Our work is recognised internationally and engages with diverse audiences, including academia, community and industry.

Edinburgh Research Partnership in Engineering (ERPE)

The Edinburgh Research Partnership in Engineering (ERPE) is a strategic alliance between Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh. As two of the UK's leading research universities, we work with academic, industry and public sector partners delivering world-leading expertise in engineering to deliver the most effective commercial, social, environmental and economic impacts.

Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS)

Marine Alliance for Science & Technology for Scotland (MASTS) 

The Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS) is a consortium of organisations engaged in marine science and represents the majority of Scotland's marine research capacity. This pooling of marine research talent has a constituency of some 700 researchers with the management of resources consisting of over £66 million annually.

Scottish Universities Physics Alliance (SUPA)

Scottish Universities Physics Alliance (SUPA)

SUPA is a pooling of physics research and post-graduate education in 8 Scottish universities. Supported by the Scottish Funding Council, SUPA is focused on seven research themes: Astronomy and Space Physics, Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, Energy, Nuclear and Plasma Physics, Particle Physics, Photonics, Physics and Life Sciences.



ScotCHEM is a mature “research pool” for chemistry - a strategic collaboration pooling and enhancing resources for chemistry research  and research training in Scotland. It brings together seven universities and other major players in research in the chemical sciences to generate enhanced critical mass and collaboration and to enable wider access to major facilities.

The Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA)

Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA)

The Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA) is a collaboration of Scottish Universities whose goal is to develop and extend Scotland's position as a world leader in Informatics and Computer Science research and education

Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR)

The Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR) is a strategic collaboration between 12 of Scotland's universities and the Police Service of Scotland. It offers a a range of opportunities for conducting relevant, applicable research to help the police meet the challenges of the 21st century and for achieving international excellence for policing research in Scotland.

Research network


Interface Food & Drink, Agritech and Acquaculture

Heriot-Watt is a partner in the Interface Food & Drink network, a partnership designed to meet the research and innovation needs of Scottish food and drink companies. It includes 17 Scottish universities together with Interface, and is funded by partners including the Scottish Funding Council, trade associations and Scotland Food & Drink with contributions from companies and universities.

Read more about Interface partnerships.