The Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division (MPLS) celebrated the outstanding achievements of Oxford University departments in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessment exercise at its Winter Party, which was held last week in St John’s College. In the REF exercise the Department of Engineering Science was ranked the best engineering department in the country.

The Winter Party began with a presentation from Susannah Speller from the Department of Materials about her research using superconductors. Mike Bonsall from the Department of Zoology then outlined the highs and lows of mathematical biology using M&Ms sweets as a prop! Finally, Eleanor Stride from the Department of Engineering Science provided an insight into her research involving ‘engineering bubbles’ which deliver chemotherapy drugs to cancer tumours in the body. The Vice-Chancellor led a toast with Professor Alex Halliday, Head of MPLS, congratulating everyone in the MPLS Division on their achievements in the REF exercise.

Five winners from Engineering Science

Professor Charlotte Deane from the Department of Statistics presented MPLS Impact Awards to Paul Bailey and Mike Dadd (joint award), Terry Jones (formerly of Engineering Science), Paul Newman and Ingmar Posner (joint award), and Alex Rogers from Zoology. It was very gratifying to see that five of the award winners were from the Department of Engineering Science. Our research has had major impact on the design of jet engines (Professor Jones), satellite-based instruments for earth and astronomical observation (Drs Bailey and Dadd), and driverless vehicles (Professors Newman and Posner).

The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF2014) assesses the quality and impact of research submitted by UK universities across all disciplines and is the official UK-wide assessment of university research: