University of Oxford's REF results


The REF 2021 results show Oxford’s submission had the highest volume of world-leading research. 


The University of Oxford made the largest submission of any Higher Education Institution (HEI) in the UK, submitting over 3,600 researchers (3,405 full time equivalent) into 29 subject areas, over 8,500 research outputs in a range of formats from journal articles to compositions, and 220 case studies about the impact of Oxford research beyond academia.

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Oxford, said:

‘The REF 2021 results demonstrate once again that Oxford is a research powerhouse. The impact case studies highlight our effectiveness in putting this research in service to society by making critical contributions to global health, economic prosperity and cultural life.’

‘The REF is one of the few opportunities to see the remarkable breadth of our research and to draw together all parts of the collegiate University in a single collaborative effort, I would like to thank everyone involved for their contribution.’

Professor Patrick Grant, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Oxford said:

‘The publication of the REF 2021 results marks the culmination of the work done by staff across the University, especially in the past two years or so. Thank you to everyone involved in the submission — both those who, in a variety of ways, led and supported our research and impact activities, and also the many colleagues who coordinated the submission itself.’

‘We are pleased to have submitted work from researchers at a variety of career stages and from across the Collegiate university, thus giving us the opportunity to showcase the depth and breadth of our research. Our submission also shows how through our collaborations with external partners our research is used to benefit society, across the UK and around the world.’

REF 2021 results table

The University of Oxford’s results in REF 2021 are given below. Results are shown as the percentage of the submission achieving the following starred levels:

4* – quality that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour
3* – quality that is internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour, but which falls short if the highest standards of excellence
2* – quality that is recognised internationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour
1* – quality that is recognised nationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour

Unclassified (U/C) – Quality that falls below the standard of nationally recognised work, or work which does not meet the published definition of research for the purposes of this assessment.

The overall results for the University as a whole are given as an FTE-weighted average of the subject results. The table then shows the results for each subject area submission. We also show the total number of full time equivalent (FTE) staff submitted for each subject.

REF 2021 overall results

  FTE of submitted staff 4* 3* 2* 1* U/C
University of Oxford overall 3.404.62 59 32 8 1 0

 

REF 2021 results by unit of assessment (UOA)

Number and name (multiple submissions indicated by A,B) FTE of staff submitted 4* 3* 2* 1* U/C
1 Clinical Medicine 498.02 59 34 7 0 0
2 Public Health, Health Services and  134.31 68 28 3 1 0
4 Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience 169.15 69 26 4 0 1
5 Biological Sciences 308.94 61 34 5 0 0
7 Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences 40.75 63 33 4 0 0
8 Chemistry 83.00 66 32 2 0 0
9 Physics 171.28 57 38 5 0 0
10 Mathematical Sciences 171.85 78 21 1 0 0
11 Computer Science and Informatics 73.65 81 19 0 0 0
12 Engineering 168.50 71 26 2 1 0
14 Geography and Environmental Studies 95.40 57 36 7 0 0
15 Archaeology 48.15 53 35 12 0 0
16 Economics and Econometrics 83.87 51 44 5 0 0
17 Business and Management Studies 84.20 59 29 10 2 0
18 Law 138.23 55 28 14 3 0
19 Politics and International Studies 114.80 53 33 12 1 1
20 Social Work and Social Policy 26.35 62 30 7 0 1
21 Sociology 44.20 63 30 6 1 0
22A Anthropology 48.21 39 33 27 1 0
22B Development Studies 49.15 52 36 12 0 0
23 Education 55.30 69 23 7 1 0
25  Area Studies 88.05 53 37 9 1 0
26A Modern Languages 105.60 42 37 19 2 0
26B Linguistics 34.25 33 44 13 9 1

27 English Language and Literature

116.00

61

35

4

0

0

28 History

172.75

53

33

13

1

0

29 Classics

90.65

52

32

15

1

0

30 Philosophy

98.05

41

39

16

1

3

31 Theology and Religious Studies

55.20

33

47

20

0

0

32 Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory

8.16

85

15

0

0

0

33 Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts, Film and Screen Studies

28.60

40

37

14

9

0

             

 


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 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. 27 full-time equivalent staff, researching in 31 academic areas. As a weighted average, 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 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."

REF 2014 results table

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 weighted average 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).

REF 2014 overall results
Unit of assessment name FTE Category A staff submitted 4* 3* 2* 1* unclassified
University of Oxford overall 2409.27 48 39 11 1 0

 

REF 2014 results by unit of assessment
Unit of assessment name FTE Category A staff submitted 4* 3* 2* 1* unclassified
             
Anthropology 55.80 23 45 28 4 0
Archaeology 33.33 41 39 18 2 0
Area Studies 71.10 36 40 19 5 0
Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory 9.00 22 53 20 5 0
Biological Sciences 223.80 47 46 7 0 0
Business and Management Studies 42.10 51 36 11 2 0
Chemistry 83.90 49 47 3 0 1
Classics 68.65 47 34 17 2 0
Clinical Medicine 238.51 53 39 8 0 0
Computer Science and Informatics 73.50 53 34 9 2 2
Development Studies 44.13 40 39 20 1 0
Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences 36.45 43 51 5 1 0
Economics and Econometrics 83.90 56 33 10 1 0
Education 39.22 65 27 8 0 0
Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials 34.12 60 38 2 0 0
English Language and Literature 87.79 42 42 16 0 0
Geography and Environmental studies 53.85 41 42 16 1 0
General Engineering 93.79 55 41 4 0 0
History 130.05 45 37 17 1 0
Law 108.88 40 44 15 1 0
Mathematical Sciences 148.60 59 37 4 0 0
Modern Languages and Linguistics 116.75 27 43 23 5 2
Music, Drama, Dance and Performing Arts 20.25 55 34 10 1

0

Philosophy 71.50 51 31 16 2 0
Physics 124.70 43 49 7 1 0
Politics and International Studies 76.65 54 27 15 4 0
Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience 98.30 67 28 5 0 0
Public Health, Health Services and Primary Care 47.70 57 35 7 1 0
Social Work and Social Policy 27.40 79 14 7 0 0
Sociology 32.85 37 45 18 0 0
Theology and Religious Studies 32.70 34 38 24 4 0

 

 

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:

  • 32% was rated 4* (world leading)
  • 70% was rated either 4* or 3* (world-leading or internationally excellent)

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:

  • 4* Quality that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour
  • 3* Quality that is internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour but which nonetheless falls short of the highest standard of excellence
  • 2* Quality that is recognised internationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour
  • 1* Quality that is recognised nationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour

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.

QR funding for 2009/10

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).

RAE results by department, 1992, 1996 and 2001

Department

Year
  1992 1996 2001
Clinical Laboratory Sciences (Clinical Laboratory Sciences) - 5 5
Clinical Laboratory Sciences (Dunn School of Pathology) 4 5* 5*
Community-based Clinical Subjects 4 5* 5*
Hospital-based Clinical Subjects 5 5* 5*
Anatomy 5 5 5
Physiology 5 5 5
Pharmacology 5 5 5*
Biochemistry 5 5* 5
Psychology 5 5* 5*
Biological Sciences (Zoology) 5 5 5
Biological Sciences (Plant Sciences) 3 4 4
Chemistry 5 5* 5*
Physics 5 5* 5*
Earth Sciences 5 5* 5*
Pure Mathematics 5 5* 5*
Applied Mathematics (1992 - included in Pure Maths) - 5* 5
Statistics and Operational Research 5 4 5*
Computer Science 5 5* 5
General Engineering 5 5* 5*
Metallurgy and Materials 5 5* 5*
Geography 5 4 4
Law 5 5* 5*
Anthropology 5 4 5
Economics and Econometrics 5 5* 5
Politics and International Studies 4 5* 5*
Social Policy and Social Administration - 3a 4
Sociology 4 5 5
Business and Management Studies 3 4 5
Middle Eastern and African Studies 4 5 5
East and South Asian Studies 5 - -
Asian Studies - 5* 5*
English Language and Literature 5 5* 5*
Celtic Studies 5 5 5
French 4 5* 5*
German and related languages 5 - -
German, Dutch and Scandinavian Languages - 5* 5
Italian 5 5 5*
Russian 3 - -
Russian, Slavonic and East European Languages - 5 5*
Spanish 4 -  
Iberian and Latin American Languages: Spanish - 5 -
Iberian and Latin American Languages: Portuguese - 4 -
Spanish and Portuguese - - 5
Linguistics 4 5 5*
Classics and Ancient History 5 - -
Classics, Ancient History, Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies - 5* 5*
Archaeology 5 5* 5*
History 4 5* 5
Philosophy 5 5* 5*
Theology, Divinity and Religious Studies 5 5 5*
Art and Design 3 5 4
Music 3 5* 5*
Education 4 5 5