Annual Review 12-13 header
Annual Review header



The University generated a surplus for the year of £60.7 million (2011/12: £39 million). Of this, £28.5 million is due to the generous donation of heritage assets, leaving an underlying surplus of £32.2 million. The upward pressure on costs and the need to invest for the future continue to be significant; however, the net surplus is sufficient to maintain the long-term sustainability of the University.

Income to the University rose 8% to £1,086.9 million. Research grants and contracts continue to be the largest source of income to the University and increased by 6.8% to £436.8 million. Grants from the Higher Education Funding Council for England amounted to £193.8 million, down by 4.8%.

Academic fees and support grants totalled £197 million, up by 13.7% as a result of increased fee levels and student numbers. Donations increased from £26.3 million in 2011/12 to £30 million in 2012/13.

Donations received during the year for capital projects and endowments, both essential to the underlying success of the Oxford Thinking fundraising campaign, totalled £36.6 million. This is on top of the £26.3 million for donations included within the income and expenditure accounts. Endowment and investment income increased by 8.6% to £27.8 million.

The University’s expenditure of £1,037.4 million was 6.8% higher than in 2011/12. Staff costs totalled £541.6 million, an increase of 8.5%. This resulted from an annual negotiated pay settlement of 1%, annual promotional salary increments, and a 9.2% increase in the average number of staff, offset by a reduction in early retirement charges. Other operating expenses amounted to £433.4 million, an increase of 4.5%.

The increase in surplus for the year led to an increase in net cash flow from operating activities of £93.1 million. Significant capital expenditure of £207.6 million, and the net cash impact of investment activities of £51.5 million and other net inflows, resulted in a net outflow of cash for the year of £76.6 million.

The balance sheet position remains strong, with net assets at 31 July 2013 of £2.4 billion, up £238 million on the previous year’s position of £2.2 billion. Net tangible fixed assets increased by £222 million, reflecting the continued building programme to support the University’s expanding research base. Projects achieving completion include the Nuffield Department of Medicine building and the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology on the Old Road Campus.

Notwithstanding all of these challenges, the University will continue to manage its sources of revenue effectively and its costs efficiently, in order to generate the positive long-term cash flow needed to ensure that Oxford maintains its pre-eminent position amongst the world’s leading universities.

Income and expenditure 

External research funding

The University is committed to disciplinary excellence in research across the spectrum of the sciences, medicine, the social sciences and the humanities. It seeks to maximise the benefits and beneficiaries of research by advancing fundamental know-ledge and contributing to better public policy, improved health outcomes, economic prosperity, social cohesion, international development, community identity and the arts and culture.

The scale of the University’s research activity is substantial: more than 70 departments, over 1,600 academic and 3,600 research staff and 5,500 postgraduate research students are involved. They collaborate with other universities and research organisations, health-care providers (especially the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust), businesses, community groups, charities and government agencies.

Much of this activity is underpinned by research grants and contracts with third parties: the University currently has approximately 6,000 active research awards worth a total of around £2 billion.

The largest funders of competitive research at Oxford are the UK Research Councils and UK charities, including the Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK, the British Heart Foundation and the Leverhulme Trust, as well as a large number of smaller charities. The other major sources include the Department of Health, the National Institutes of Health Research and the European Commission, through Framework Programme 7 (FP7). Their financial support facilitates a wide range of projects, major research programmes, interdisciplinary initiatives, research training and international collaboration.

The University warmly acknowledges the role of all its funders and collaborators in supporting its research efforts.

Research funding