Medical research, Old Road Campus

18. Our core strategies set out how we propose to build upon Oxford’s existing strengths and share the knowledge we create with the wider world. They are also informed, as relevant, by our new overarching priorities. Each strategy is expressed as a series of commitments.

Commitment 1. To maintain originality, significance and rigour in research within a framework of the highest standards of infrastructure, training, and integrity.

19. We believe that deciding what to research is a matter for the individual researcher or research group. This belief reflects the value we accord to the principle of academic freedom, enabling the pursuit of academic enquiry subject to the norms and standards of scholarly undertaking, without interference or penalty. This freedom to seek out truth and understanding, whether through theoretical or empirical means, will ensure that our strong core disciplines flourish.

20. The maintenance of a sustaining research environment is crucial to the University’s research standing. We will enhance the infrastructure which supports research at the highest level, including libraries, laboratories, museums, and information systems.

21. We will provide appropriate training in research methods and conduct at all career stages from research student to principal investigator.

Commitment 2. To empower the creative autonomy of individuals to address fundamental questions of real significance and applied questions with potential to change the world.

22. The unparalleled breadth and depth of Oxford’s expertise enables us to lead the international research agenda across the spectrum of the sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities. Our commitment to the range and depth of our disciplinary work is reflected in sustenance of both applied research and that which may not necessarily yield immediate impact.

23. Increased engagement with research councils, government departments, and industrial collaborators, will enhance our capacity to set research questions in the context of key international themes. Development of translational activities, of international consultancy and of spin-out companies, will ensure that Oxford’s research endeavours and expertise continue to shape the world.

Commitment 3. To maintain and develop resources, and invest in subject areas of long-term worth.

24. The University plays a key role in preserving subject areas which may be vulnerable nationally but have not been identified as a priority for government support. This curatorial responsibility encompasses maintaining and developing resources for subsequent generations and training the research leaders and teachers of the future.
Autumn in Oxford, UK Copyright © Oxford University Images / Rob Judges Photography -- All rights reserved. This is a Rights Managed image.


The University of Oxford has four academic divisions, within which are individual departments, faculties or other centres. Click on the headings below to reveal the different departments, faculties or centres that make up the four academic divisions, or scroll to the bottom for a video explanation of the remit of each division’s research.

The Humanities Division
The Medical Sciences Division
The Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division
The Social Sciences Division

Research impact

Research carried out by Oxford’s staff, students and alumni has made an enormous impact on the world over the centuries. You can explore some of the more recent examples in the Oxford Impacts case studies and films. These range from impact on culture, business and policy to environment and health.

The impact of some research is evident immediately, whereas in other cases it can take years, or even decades, before the true value becomes apparent. There are no simple predictors of potential benefit or outcomes, and no single measure of impact. This is where the funding of research councils and charities is vital in supporting research which increases our fundamental understanding of the world and allows us to apply that improved knowledge.

Bodleian facade


Oxford meets the needs of its students, academics and the international research community with a wide range of library services provided by more than 100 libraries, making it the largest library system in the UK.

Bodleian Libraries

The Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford is the largest university library system in the United Kingdom. It includes the principal University library – the Bodleian Library – which has been a legal deposit library for 400 years; as well as 30 libraries across Oxford including major research libraries and faculty, department and institute libraries. Together, the Libraries hold more than 12 million printed items, over 80,000 e-journals and outstanding special collections including rare books and manuscripts, classical papyri, maps, music, art and printed ephemera. Members of the public can explore the collections via the Bodleian’s online image portal at or by visiting the exhibition galleries in the Bodleian’s Weston Library. For more information, visit

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to study in the Bodleian? Tune in and listen to the sounds of Oxford’s most famous libraries.

The Bodleian Library

Is the University’s main research library and a legal deposit library. It is the second largest in the UK after the British Library. Visit the Bodleian Library website.

College libraries

Every College has its own library, often consisting of a modern, working library and older collections. See more information on College libraries.

Oxford University Libraries A-Z

The University also houses many departmental and museum libraries, such as the Museum of the History of Science Library and the Oxford University Museum of Natural History Library. Further information on all University libraries can be found using the ‘Libraries A-Z‘ or ‘Subjects A-Z’ indexes.

Finding resources

SOLO (Search Oxford Libraries Online) is the main search engine for library collections across Oxford, providing access to information in over 100 Oxford libraries including circa eight million bibliographic records and more than 13 million item records. It offers a one-stop search and delivery solution for quickly accessing Oxford’s main library information resources regardless of type, format or location. These include ORA (Oxford University Research Archive), OxLIP+ (currently over 800 e-resource databases) and OU E-Journals (over 28,000 e-journals). Single Sign-On offers easy access to subscription resources, whether on or off campus. Visit the SOLO website. Find more information on finding resources at the Bodleian Libraries.

Digital projects and services

The Bodleian is actively involved in developing new digital collections and services in close collaboration with students, researchers, and staff from around the University. To learn more about these services please see this overview or have a look at a selection of our past or current projects.

Innovation and Partnership

Big challenges face our world today: from pioneering new cures to setting society-shaping policies, from creating new energy sources to determining modern ethics. At Oxford University we’re passionate about the creation and impact of our knowledge and how, in partnership, we can apply this to real challenges.

Support for researchers

Oxford provides a huge range of support for research staff, ranging from help finding funding, to career advice, to guidance for new principal investigators.

Your primary source of information and support will be your departmental administrator and your principal investigator or line manager. These pages point you to the wealth of support available from your division and the wider University, whether you’ve just arrived and want to find your way around, need help applying for or managing grants, want to get in touch with other researchers, or are thinking about the next step in your career.

If you are in a research support role, please see the research section of the staff gateway for additional information and guidance.

Research in conversation

Research in conversation is a series of interviews with researchers across Oxford University. Each interviewee raises a question arising from their research, which the next interview follows up on, approaching from a different discipline. Together, these linked interviews form ‘chains’ that collectively, and from many different perspectives, ask big questions like what it is to be human, how to live a healthy life and our changing relationship with information.

Public Engagement with Research

Here you can explore what is meant by Public Engagement with Research; look at examples of excellent engagement happening around the University; find out about the upcoming engagement opportunities and the support available for researchers including how plan an engagement activity.