Priorities | University of Oxford
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Priorities

6. We have identified two overarching priorities for development over the period of this Plan. These priorities span our core strategies and open up the potential for new and enhanced activity on the part of staff and students, departments and colleges.

Priority 1. Global reach. To develop the University’s position as a global forum for intellectual engagement, through the proactive communication of ideas generated at Oxford and through openness to new ideas generated elsewhere.

7. The University of Oxford is active worldwide across the broadest range of disciplines and, with Oxford University Press, our global involvement in education from pre-school level onwards puts us in a unique position to influence and engage with the world. This global reach in itself draws students and staff of the highest international calibre to the University, taking Oxford’s way of engaging with the world with them when they depart. We will seek opportunities to co-ordinate the University’s activities more effectively, and we will build upon Oxford’s excellence in, and commitment to, the delivery of education for all.

8. A great university both conveys the knowledge created by its community and is open to new ideas generated elsewhere. We will maintain the freedom for individuals and research groups to decide what to research, while making it clear where and how to access Oxford expertise. We will seek to develop external collaborations, noting that these may be most effective in those areas where research and teaching strengths are complementary, while supporting connections between research groups at the level of individual projects.

9. An enhanced online presence will form part of this strategy. Digital technology is revolutionising the manner in which knowledge is created, collected, and communicated across the globe. The University will position itself so that it can engage speedily and effectively with digital initiatives generated by our staff, students, alumni, and those outside the University. We will create a strong and coherent online presence in order to direct those seeking knowledge about any area of academic study to relevant work carried out at Oxford. We will further develop our globally available teaching resources and collections for our own community, for our distance-taught students across the world, and for learners everywhere.

10. The University’s extensive network of libraries and museums offers unique opportunities to learn and engage with resources. We will continue to enhance our collections to the benefit of future generations. Access to the University’s collections will be improved through programmatic digitisation, extending appreciation of the role Oxford plays in preserving and sharing the record of human existence and cultural achievement. Access to our museums, galleries, and scientific collections contributes significantly to our public engagement on regional, national and global scales, and we will continue to promote this through programmes of events and exhibitions and by fully exploiting the opportunities offered by the web, social media, and other innovative modes of transmission.

11. ‘Oxford Open Access’ will enhance the Oxford Research Archive (ORA) as a permanent and secure online archive of research materials produced by members of the University. Copyright permitting, these materials will be made freely accessible by the Bodleian Libraries.

12. Oxford is both a national and an international resource for education. A mix of home and international students at both undergraduate and postgraduate level enriches the academic environment and best serves our vision of the University as a global hub for intellectual engagement. Working closely with the colleges, we will develop our approaches to the recruitment and support of undergraduate and postgraduate international students and we will continue to develop scholarship schemes to support overseas students. We will also develop opportunities for staff and students to gain international experience while working or studying at Oxford.

Priority 2. Networking, communication, and interdisciplinarity. To build on Oxford’s multiple disciplinary strengths and enable collaborations in new and developing areas.

13. Many of today's research questions cut across traditional subject boundaries. Examples include biomedicine, philosophy of mind, energy, the environment, information, and the issues of our origins. Strong core disciplines therefore need to be combined with mechanisms to promote collaboration. We will build upon our current disciplinary strengths to encourage intellectual cross-fertilisation.

14. The opportunities for major discoveries are found quite commonly at the interfaces between traditionally distinct subject areas. We will enable opportunities for research in novel areas that sit between traditionally distinct subjects by promoting activity across departmental and divisional boundaries.

15. Oxford has long pioneered multidisciplinary degrees. The depth of expertise at Oxford across the broadest range of subject areas, and our college communities, which bring together scholars across many disciplines and at different stages of their academic careers, make the University the natural place of study for those who wish to learn across subject boundaries. New thematic research collaborations will lead to new study opportunities for undergraduates and postgraduates. We will develop policy to support interdisciplinary study where the case is made for it.

16. Sharing resources, advanced facilities, and collections is a useful way of developing research interdisciplinarity through bringing individuals together who have common interests. We will explore opportunities to join forces with institutions and organisations internationally where such collaboration will enable us to address issues of global significance that require large scale as well as interdisciplinary collaboration.

17. The natural interactions that colleges afford academics and students ensure Oxford an advantage in promoting interdisciplinary working. Our strategy to build on this advantage will include working to establish college associations for research academics without college affiliation and arranging research conferences and international events through colleges. We will also partner with colleges to establish ways of building academic clusters in selected subject areas. Divisional doctoral centres and colleges will work together where facilities can be shared.