Prof Linda King
Interim ProVice-Chancellor, Research and Knowledge Exchange, Oxford Brookes

As the Interim Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange at Oxford Brookes, it is my job to champion our thriving research community and further the university’s research agenda.

I took over this role in March after Alistair Fitt became our new Vice-Chancellor, having previously worked as the Associate Dean for Research and Knowledge Exchange for the Faculty of Health and Life Science.

I was delighted to pick up the role after such a fantastic end to 2014 and I know Alistair was pleased to hand over on such a positive note.

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) results, which were announced in December, judged 94 per cent of Oxford Brookes’ research as “internationally recognised” which compared to 78 per cent in 2008, when the last national exercise took place.

Of this, 59 per cent of our research was found to be “world leading” or “internationally excellent”, which was again a great improvement on our 2008 performance.

The REF is the system for assessing the quality of research in the UK’s higher education institutions and determines what funding universities will receive from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

Our REF results are a reflection of the expertise and confidence of our researchers at Brookes and it means that we are delivering ambitious research that is having a real impact, not just in the UK but the wider world.

As a result of all this hard work from world-leading experts, our “quality-related” funding from HEFCE increased by 41 per cent, compared to a three per cent rise across universities in the sector.

This significant increase means that Oxford Brookes was ranked as the eighth best performing university for increasing its funding.

The REF process had an emphasis on research which has a real world impact.

As part of Oxford Brookes’ submission, we produced 44 research impact case studies that covered a diverse range of subject areas.

These included research that helped shape the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games, work that has influenced counter-terrorism policy and studies that have helped to significantly reduce the environmental impact of buildings.

For 10 years, Oxford Brookes’ Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice has specialised in research on equality and diversity in the workplace.

Professors Lucy Vickers and Simonetta Manfredi have worked on enhancing the public’s understanding of diversity issues surrounding religious belief, age and discrimination.

Their work has had considerable and far-reaching impact both nationally, and within the European Union, and has underpinned legal challenges to government legislation on equality.

Another area of pioneering research, which contributed to the success of our most recent REF results, is the work by Professor Nigel Groome that has led to significant advances in human medicine, in particular areas of pre-natal care and fertility.

Professor Groome’s work has contributed to the improvement in the accuracy of pre-natal screening for Down’s syndrome and it has also been used in the clinical diagnostic and monitoring applications for male and female infertility, abnormalities in sexual development in children and a type of ovarian tumour.

If you want to read more about these impact case studies and other excellent research on-going at Oxford Brookes, the latest issue of our research magazine, Research Forum, has just been published.

The issue can be found on the research pages of the Oxford Brookes website

It is a great honour to be leading on research and knowledge exchange at Oxford Brookes and I’m looking forward to building on our recent successes and working with colleagues from across the university and our collaborators across Oxfordshire.