Sabancı University adopted an integrated and multidimensional approach to designing its research strategy in alignment with its vision and mission, and determined the following key strategic research objectives based on institutional, national and global assessments and developments:
- Improving the processes for the conversion of research outputs to commercial value
- Performing interdisciplinary and breakthrough research
- Ensuring the integration of teaching and research, and the involvement of undergraduate students in research processes
- Leveraging local advantages to gain effectiveness and leadership in research
- Developing international strategic partnerships
The “What is Next?” process initiated in June 2013 led to the definition of strategic research objectives, and the focus was on "quality of education", "quality of research" and protection of "brand value" while ensuring the sustainability of success at Sabancı University. The research objectives resulting from the "What is Next?” process were described as a transitional period between the new strategic plan of the university in development, and its shift to a performance-focused process.
Sabancı University prioritizes two components of its R&D activities: fundamental research and applied research. Fundamental research initiatives are mostly supported by public funds, while applied research activities are predominantly funded through private partnerships.