OSGA REF 2021 Statement

On May 12th 2022 the UK funding bodies published the results of the UK’s most recent national research assessment exercise, the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021. Research from OSGA was submitted to Unit of Assessment 25 along with Area Studies research from the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (formerly, Oriental Institute) and other departments from across the collegiate university. In keeping with the multidisciplinary ethos of OSGA, research from the School was also submitted to other Units of Assessment including Geography, Law, Politics and International Relations, Social Policy, Sociology, Anthropology and Development Studies.

osga ref 2021 statement

In Unit of Assessment 25, 53% of the overall submission was judged to be 4* (a score indicating research quality that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance, and rigour). This represents a significant increase in world-leading research since the previous REF (2014), in which 36% of the overall submission was judged to be 4*.  The results situate Oxford at the forefront of Area Studies in the UK – producing world-leading research across the Social Sciences and Humanities.

Research at OSGA has also had significant influence in framing policy debates and narratives and in influencing their formulation and implementation. This real-world impact that Area Studies scholarship has is demonstrated by the three impact case studies submitted by OSGA to REF 2021. 

  • Changing the discourse on Japanese university education policies.
  • Re-centring UK official understandings of and responses to India’s rise and the UK-India relationship.
  • Improving Understanding and Monitoring of Marine Fisheries Catches in New Zealand.

Welcoming these results, Professor Christopher Gerry, Head of OSGA said: ‘The 2021 REF results for Oxford’s Area Studies submission, represent an outstanding achievement and a substantive improvement on the 2014 results. They reflect a breadth and depth of Area Studies excellence that is unrivalled in the UK. I am enormously grateful to the faculty, researchers, postgraduate students and professional support staff whose work underpins this result and most especially for all of their efforts in preparing for REF over the past few years.’