Oxford University is today rated number one in the UK for the quality of its research.

18 December 2014

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 is research which sets other academic agendas around the world.

The University submitted 2409 members of Oxford’s academic 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 ranked first in 12 individual academic subjects for volume of world-leading research. These covered all the University’s main academic divisions – the medical sciences, humanities, the social sciences and maths, physics and the life sciences.

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, which puts the University among the forefront of its multidisciplinary peers, reflects the wide-ranging benefits of Oxford University research. Examples of impact submitted by the University ranged from a new malaria treatment which has saved more than a million lives globally to 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.”

For more information contact Stephen Rouse in the University of Oxford News office on 01865 280533 or news.office@admin.ox.ac.uk

Notes to editors:

Oxford is top of the REF ratings for volume of 4* rated submissions. This is calculated by the percentage of 4* results and the Full-Time Equivalent staff submitted. The University is also top of the Research Fortnight Power rankings.

Research Excellence Framework 2014

The four UK higher education funding bodies allocate about £2 billion per year of research funding to UK universities, based on the quality and volume of each university’s research. To distribute funds selectively on the basis of quality, the funding bodies assess universities’ research through a periodic exercise. This was previously known as the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), and was last conducted in 2008.

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