Professor Sonia Contera, biophysics

Oxford Physics’ research excellence recognised by REF 2021

Today, 12 May 2022, the UK funding bodies have published the outcomes of the recent national research assessment exercise, the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021. The REF 2021 results show Oxford’s Department of Physics’ submission had the largest volume of world-leading research [1].

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Oxford, said: ‘The REF 2021 results demonstrate once again that Oxford is a research powerhouse and 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, and I would like to thank everyone involved for their contribution.’

Professor Ian Shipsey FRS, Head of the Department of Physics at the University of Oxford, said: ‘The REF 2021 results mean Oxford Physics has overall the largest amount of world-leading research of any UK physics department. Relative to our performance in 2014, we have improved in our impacts, our outputs and our environment, and we are delighted that our progress to enhance these further has been recognised. I should like to thank all my colleagues for their impactful research and the way that so many work together to make Oxford Physics a very conducive environment in which to conduct world-leading research.’

Highlights of our research in action can be found here.

[1] Largest volume of world-leading research is calculated from the overall %4* (57% for Oxford) x submitted FTE (171.28 for Oxford) for Unit of Assessment 9 (ie Physics). Full results are published at:

For more information on the University of Oxford REF 2021 results please visit: