Enabling Strategies | University of Oxford
Interior of the Biochemistry Building
Interior of the Biochemistry Building
Credit: Greg Smolonski. This image comes from Oxford University Images

Enabling Strategies

62. Staff and students require the best facilities for their work. To support our academic communities with appropriate libraries and museums, seminar rooms, laboratories, IT systems and research equipment, significant capital investment is required. To ensure that facilities can be sustained responsibly into the future, long-term strategic planning is necessary, underpinned by coherent strategies for Finance, Estates, Information Technology, and Development. The University therefore aims to achieve an operational surplus (calculated as earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) of at least 5%, taking into account the increasing cost of replacing assets through inflation or rising expectations of functional suitability.

Enabling Strategy 1. To generate a sufficient recurrent surplus to sustain the University’s infrastructure, collections and academic activities.

63. The University will embed a more coherent approach to budget setting and monitoring across divisions and services, looking to reduce overheads and to promote a more proactive approach to value for money and shared services. The level of investment in administrative services and support will be kept under review including through benchmarking activities against similar organisations.

64. The University will maximise revenues including through increased research funding, philanthropy, and licensing of intellectual property.

Enabling Strategy 2. To allocate unrestricted income to reflect the collegiate University’s strategic priorities and commitments.

65. We shall review our resource allocation, cost recovery mechanisms and use of unrestricted resources including HEFCE grant, fee income and long-term loan capital to ensure effective support of the University’s strategic priorities and commitments.

Enabling Strategy 3. To invest in estate where this will facilitate new or improved ways of working, increased efficiencies, improved opportunities for interdisciplinary working, or the decommissioning or transformation of inappropriate spaces.

66. Over generations, the University has been responsible for the creation of some of the world’s greatest buildings. Ambitious projects, such as the development of the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, carry the potential to add to this legacy. Reductions in government funding require the University to review its approach to resourcing and investing in capital projects, and we shall implement a more proactive prioritised system of capital allocation.

67. More efficient and flexible use of space will reduce the pressure to fund maintenance of unnecessary estate, enabling resource to be re-directed. Effective shared use of space may also yield enhanced opportunities for research and education and improved shared central social and common spaces.

68. We will work with the academic divisions to facilitate responses to new opportunities for interdisciplinary research and education and with administrative services to identify where space may be used more efficiently.

69. We will balance capital spending on refurbishing, renewing and replacing the existing estate with the delivery of new buildings to meet research and education needs. While both types of investment can facilitate our academic plans, the former can enhance institutional sustainability by reducing maintenance costs and improving the suitability and flexibility of our current building stock.

70. The University will continue to address energy and sustainability targets, such as the Carbon Reduction Commitment and waste recycling, to ensure that we meet our own targets and priorities and the challenging local and national requirements.

71. We will continue to develop additional accommodation for graduate students in order to meet demand.

Enabling Strategy 4. To invest in information technologies that enhance the capacity of Oxford’s academic communities to collaborate with each other and with global partners, and that support the student experience.

72. IT Services will work with Estates Services and colleges to develop flexible, technology-enhanced teaching spaces and with the Bodleian Libraries in ensuring the seamless delivery of digital knowledge resources.

73. The University will enhance the computing facilities available to support research, in particular by involvement in regional resource centres, by provision of infrastructure for effective data management, and by developing and deploying tools for collaborative working. We will also implement robust systems with minimum necessary functionality to support all aspects of the student experience in a cost-effective way.

74. The University is a challenging environment for the provision of high-quality, secure and robust communications technology due to the nature of the buildings, spaces, and federated systems. We will meet these challenges, and bring in new physical and wireless networking that will allow high-bandwidth and device-neutral communications capabilities.

75. The University has a large resource of digital assets; IT Services will work with academic departments and university collections to enhance their range and quality. With appropriate innovative infrastructures we will provide a platform for engagement with these materials by potential students, researchers, educators, and the general public. Building effective digital preservation environments will ensure the availability of these digital assets for future generations.
genetic scientist

Enabling Strategy 5. To realise the Oxford Thinking Campaign target to support the academic strategies of the University and colleges.

76. The Oxford Thinking Campaign is the largest University fundraising campaign outside North America by a considerable margin. The announcement in October 2012 of a revised goal of £3 billion provides the focus for our fundraising over the planning period. This ambitious target will require the University to co-ordinate with colleges and departments to maximise respective strengths, share resources, and develop initiatives which help us to engage with, and secure the support, of our alumni and donors.

77. We will ensure that fundraising and outreach efforts concentrate most strongly on those areas where the need is greatest and the strategic goals of the University are most strongly reflected.

78. Our objectives reflect the University’s overarching priority to develop global engagement and international collaborations and the need to engage an ever larger proportion of the donor community, within the UK and abroad, alumni and non-alumni, in our priorities. We will identify new philanthropic and commercial opportunities for support such as trusts, foundations, and businesses. And we will use to maximum advantage the University’s global reputation and its network of alumni and supporters to engage with institutions and individuals, especially with those that have no previous philanthropic relationship with Oxford.