Faculty of Science

Organisation profile

Organisation profile

Overview of the Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science consists of five Schools: Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Geographical Sciences, Mathematics and Physics. The Faculty is characterised by its interdisciplinary and collaborative approach and has a prominent international profile thanks to its outstanding people, education, research and facilities.  

Our academics are world leaders in their subjects, regularly winning prestigious awards from national and international organisations as well as publishing in elite journals. Our community includes 22 Fellows of the Royal Society, 2 Fellows of the Academy of Social Sciences, 1 Fellow of the US National Academy of Sciences, and 2 Fellows of the British Academy. Colleagues from across the Faculty are approached for their expert advice by governments and industry. We have led reports to the UK’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, recommended actions following nuclear disasters at Chernobyl and Fukushima and advised on the spread of viral particles during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Areas of excellence

The Schools of Mathematics and Physics host one of the UK’s leading research ecosystems for quantum technologies. The Bristol Quantum Information Institute brings together researchers across the discipline. The Institute is working in ‘Prosperity Partnership’ with Google and UCL to develop quantum software for modelling and simulating the behaviour of materials and chemical reactions, leading to the development of new materials, chemicals and drugs. The School of Mathematics and GCHQ work together within the Heilbronn Institute for Mathematical Research funding over 30 full-time research staff in the School of Mathematics.

From fundamental research to environmental impact and decision-making, the Schools of Earth Sciences, Geography and Chemistry are internationally recognised. Earth Sciences is ranked 15th in the world by the Centre for World University Rankings with expertise covering Palaeontology, Geochemistry and Geophysics.  Geography is the only department to have been ranked in the top category in every UK national research assessment exercise, excelling on subjects from hydrology to personal finance. The Organic Geochemistry Unit is a NERC facility that uses high end analytic techniques to investigate Earth Systems at a molecular level. Bristol’s School of Chemistry is leading the way in Digital Chemistry which will transform manufacturing in many sectors, and is part of the Bristol BioDesign Institute, a forerunner of synthetic biology research, teaching and innovation.

The Faculty actively leads, engages and contributes to four University Research Institutes. These draw together thematic, multidisciplinary research across the University to produce incisive, innovative research in environmental issues (Cabot Institute), health (Elizabeth Blackwell Institute), data science (Jean Golding Institute) and new ways of living (Brigstow Institute). The Faculty also jointly leads the Max Planck-Bristol Centre for Minimal Biology which conducts research at the interface between the physical and life sciences.

Our research and teaching benefits from excellent facilities, including: a cleanroom; soundproof and low vibration laboratories; spectroscopy, spectrometry, tomography and other outstanding imaging services; X-ray diffraction; and mechanical, electronics and glass workshops. Nationally funded Doctoral Training Partnerships and Centres for Doctoral Training (DTP and CDTs), as well as a wide range of individual PhD opportunities, ensure the next generation of researchers receives excellent training and support.

Collaboration and partnership

As a result of its reputation, the University is a partner of choice by organisations with national and global impact. We work with partners ranging from the World Bank to local spin-ups.

Our collaborative and interdisciplinary approach is fundamental for our research to remain innovative and engaged with current issues. Our partners work with us to co-develop research and provide student opportunities through sponsorships or placements. The Faculty has established a Science Partnership Office to connect external organisations with Bristol Science expertise.


The Faculty has a thriving entrepreneurial culture, supported by University expertise and the growing number of business incubators in the city, including those set up by Faculty staff such as UnitDX. Staff and students have developed their research into successful companies, contributing to the local economy and society, and maintaining the Faculty’s reputation for innovation and expertise, while strengthening links to our local city and community.




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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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