Exterior of the Biochemistry Building
Exterior of the Biochemistry Building
Credit: Rob Judges. This image comes from Oxford University Images

REF 2014

Oxford: the UK's top global research university

The official assessment of research across all of the country's universities, the Research Excellence Framework (REF), announced in December 2014, has shown Oxford to be the leading university in world-class research.

The research of more than 52,000 academic staff from 154 UK universities was peer-reviewed by a series of panels comprising UK and international experts. Oxford submitted 2,409 staff and 31 departments for review, with 48% of the University's research in the top 4* (world-leading) category while 39% more was rated 3* (internationally excellent).

The University also performed strongly in the new impact category, reflecting the wide-ranging benefits of Oxford's research. Examples included a new malaria treatment which has saved more than a million lives globally, and miniature chemical reactors created by Oxford chemists which can convert low-value and waste gas into high-grade liquid fuels.

‘It is pleasing to be ranked in first place, but even more pleasing to see recognition of the fantastic contribution Oxford researchers make to knowledge across a huge range of subjects – and of the real impact they have on health, prosperity, policy formation and culture around the world,' said Andrew Hamilton, Vice-Chancellor. ‘However, it is vital – if the full economic, social and cultural benefits of this research excellence at Oxford, and elsewhere in the higher education sector, are to be realised – that strong and sustained public investment in leading university research is maintained and indeed increased.'

The REF results will be used to allocate funding of around £2 billion per year to universities between 2015 and 2021.