Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The REF is the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions and takes place roughly every seven years. The REF was first held in 2014 and most recently completed in 2021, though the submission and review process was delayed by the pandemic. The next assessment will be REF2029, and more information will be posted once further details are known.


In the Philosophy unit of the most recent REF, 41% of Oxford's submission was judged to be 4*. This is the highest score available, indicating research that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance, and rigour. The Faculty submitted 98.05 FTE staff (as compared to 71.5 in REF2014), and the overall volume of 4* research was therefore 40.2% (as compared to 36.5% in REF2014).

The full results, including impact case studies, are available at REF2021.

The REF is no small task, and the Faculty thanks everyone involved, including those who produce the research and impact and constitute the research community, those who supported the process from an administrative perspective in the Faculty and Division, and especially the successive Directors of Research, Alison Hills and Ofra Magidor, who carefully steered the submission through to conclusion.

Previous results