Professor Sue Hartley

Chair of the N8 Strategic Executive Group & Vice-President for Research, University of Sheffield

Professor Sue Hartley joined the University of Sheffield in January 2020 as Vice-President for Research and in 2022 became the Vice-President for Research and Innovation.

Sue leads on the University’s research and innovation activity, including research excellence, the flagship institutes, the Research Excellence Framework (REF), research income and impact, as well as overseeing the University’s innovation, partnerships, and commercialisation activities. Sue is also the Institutional lead for sustainability.


Before coming to Sheffield, Sue was Director of the York Environmental Sustainability Institute, a pioneering interdisciplinary research partnership generating solutions to global environmental challenges, at the University of York. She was also the University of York’s Research Champion for Environmental Sustainability and Resilience, driving a range of research activities with colleagues from multiple disciplines and external partners. Sue has served as a trustee of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, as a board member of Natural England, the UK Government’s statutory adviser for the natural environment in England, and as President of the British Ecological Society.

Her research interests focus on understanding how plants adapt to their environment and how they defend themselves against the organisms that attack them. The findings improve the resilience of crops to climate change, inform agricultural policy, and aim to increase the environmental sustainability of agriculture.