Facilitating world-class research
Oxford University was ranked number one in the UK for the quality of its research.
The official UK-wide assessment of all university research, the Research Excellence Framework, found that Oxford has the country's largest volume of world-leading research. 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 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 subjects for their volume of world-leading research. Eight other subjects were ranked first on other measures. The top-ranked subjects covered all four of the University's academic divisions – medical sciences, mathematical, physical and life sciences, social sciences and the humanities.
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."
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.
Oxford University’s results in REF 2014 are given below. Results are shown as the percentage of the submitted research and impact information achieving the following grades:
4* – world-leading
3* – internationally excellent
2* – recognised internationally
1* – recognised nationally
U – unclassified
The top line shows the results for the University as a whole. The table then shows the results for each academic subject, in the order that they are submitted to REF. We also show the number of staff submitted for each subject (full time equivalent).
The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008) was a UK-wide exercise run on behalf of the four UK higher education funding bodies. The results inform the Higher Education Funding Council's (HEFCE) allocations of quality rated (QR) research funding.
Of all the University of Oxford’s research activity submitted to the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise:
This means that the University of Oxford was judged to have the largest submission of world-leading research (4* rated by HEFCE) in the UK. Oxford also made the largest submission of world-leading or internationally excellent research (4* or 3* rated) in the UK.
The University of Oxford has topped those league tables which factor in the number of researchers assessed, thus providing an assessment of research quality and research ‘power’.
Oxford submitted a higher number of staff than any other higher education institution taking part in RAE 2008 (2,246 FTE). More than 85% of academics were submitted.
The RAE 2008 results were compiled in a different way to the RAE 2001. In 2001 departments were given a single rating from 1-5*. This has been replaced by a quality profile which identifies the proportion of activity reaching each of the following ratings:
Unclassified Quality is activity that falls below the standard of nationally recognised work or which does not meet the published definition of research for the purposes of assessment.
Oxford's RAE 2008 results (including full details of quality profiles) are available at the RAE website.
Oxford’s outstanding performance in RAE 2008 was reflected in the research funding awarded by HEFCE. The University of Oxford was awarded the highest level of QR funding from HEFCE of any University (£119.4 million for 2009/10).
Research Assessment Exercises have been held in the UK in 1986, 1989, 1992, 1996, 2001 and 2008. The RAE is conducted jointly by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland (DEL).