Brunel University has created 20 professorial posts and approved a change of academic structure in an attempt to boost its research performance.
The move, agreed by Brunel's governing council, follows £14 million of investment in 60 new research staff over the past two years. Seven schools and one institute will emerge from the university's faculty structure. The university has also received planning permission for a £100 million redevelopment of its main campus at Uxbridge.
Steve Hodkinson, pro vice-chancellor of Brunel, said: "As we prepare for the research assessment exercise in 2007, our goal is to drive academic excellence so that we can secure the best possible research and teaching results for our staff, students and industry collaborators.
"A more flexible school structure will allow us to develop innovative courses that stimulate demand from students. We aim to deliver research that has a positive impact on society, and graduates that are highly employable."
The development comes after moves by other universities to boost their research assessment exercise performances. The exact timing of the RAE is due to be announced next month.
Queen Mary, University of London, advertised up to 48 professorial posts in The THES last week. Significant numbers of new chairs have been or are being created at Royal Holloway, Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham, Sheffield, East Anglia and Aberdeen universities.
The working titles for the new schools at Brunel are: arts; business; engineering and design; health and social care; information systems, computing and mathematics; social sciences and law; sport sciences, exercise and education; and the environment.