Known as the UK's first 'redbrick' civic university in the UK, the University of Birmingham was founded in 1900 by Joseph Chamberlain, and currently has more than 27,000 students and 6,000 members of staff, making the University one of the biggest employers in Birmingham and a considerable business in its own right, with an annual turnover of c £320 million.
The University encompasses not only the green landscape of its Edgbaston campus, but also has bases across Birmingham as well as the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford upon Avon, the Ironbridge Institute, concentrating on Heritage Management and Industrial Archaeology, and its outward bound Priestley Centre on the edge of Lake Coniston in the Lake District. The University also has a strategic partnership with University College Worcester.
The University is currently ranked fifth in the UK for research excellence. Despite its urban location, the University has a number of research themes that incorporate rural matters from a social, economic, political, environmental and infrastructure point of view. Topics covered include the sustainable environment, housing and homelessness issues, local government politics, formulation engineering, transportation, waste minimisation, and water resources and health.