Oxford has been ranked first for research in the UK
Oxford has been ranked first for research in the UK

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Oxford ranked first for research

REF 2014 results indicate University of Oxford has the largest volume of world-leading research in the UK.

The official UK-wide assessment of all university research, the Research Excellence Framework, found that Oxford has the largest volume of world-leading research in the country. This research sets other academic agendas around the world. The University is also rated top in the REF power rankings published by Research Fortnight.

The University submitted 2,409.27 full-time equivalent staff, researching in 31 academic areas. The assessment panels rated 48 per cent of the University’s research in the top 4* category while 39 per cent more was rated 3*.

The University also had the largest volume of world-leading research in 12 subject submissions. These subjects covered all four of the University’s academic divisions – medical sciences, mathematical, physical and life sciences, social sciences and the humanities.

The University performed strongly in the new impact category of the REF exercise. The assessment panels scored 92 per cent of Oxford’s impact at 3* and 4*. The rating puts the University among the forefront of the UK's multidisciplinary institutions and reflects the wide-ranging benefits of Oxford University research.

Examples of impact submitted by the University include:

  • A new malaria treatment which has saved more than a million lives globally.
  • Catalysts created by Oxford chemists, which work inside miniature chemical reactors that can convert low-value and waste gas into high-grade liquid fuels.
  • Helping policy-makers and practitioners to mitigate the effects of AIDS on orphaned African children.
  • A major database of ancient pottery and gems, used by museums and the antiquities trade around the world.

The Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, Professor Andrew Hamilton, said: “I welcome our superb REF results, which clearly reflect our outstanding world-leading research. 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.

'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.'

Professor Hamilton added his thanks to all University staff involved in the REF, saying: 'The REF has been a huge collective effort and I would like to thank everyone involved for their contribution.'

The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) replaces the previous Research Assessment Exercise. It assesses the quality and impact of research submitted by UK universities across all disciplines. The results will be used by the four UK funding bodies to allocate block-grant research funding to universities from 2015-16.