Research excellence

Oxford Brookes University offers opportunities to conduct outstanding and inspiring research. Our research has global, national and local impact. And our extensive connections - with industry and other academic institutions - increase the range of projects, and their scope and impact. Our well-established and growing international reputation for research has been confirmed with the publication of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 results.


of our research is internationally recognised


increase in research funding following REF 2014


of our research is world leading or internationally excellent

Research that gives students a voice

Claire Gibbs is a Senior Clinical Research Nurse and is studying for an MSc in Nursing Studies. Here she talks about her research.

“I undertook primary research for my dissertation. My particular interest is in supporting nurses of the future. So when I noticed a gap in the literature around investigating student nurses’ experiences of research whilst on their clinical placements, I chose that as the topic of my research.

I carried out a qualitative study which involved interviewing pre-registration degree level student nurses about their experiences. Interviews were up to 30 minutes in length with additional time beforehand for informed consent and any questions.

Interesting results

The results of the study have been interesting:

  • a better understanding of students’ research experiences on placements,
  • students given a voice they previously did not have,
  • some of the suggestions from participants implemented immediately.

I feel very proud that the student voice was taken seriously and they were able to see an immediate difference following their participation in the study.”


Claire works at James Paget University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Norfolk and is also the originator of the #WhyWeDoResearch twitter campaign – which has gone from local to global in the space of a few months. For more information see the Why we do research campaign website.

Photo of Claire Gibbs

From miniature to massive

Oxford Brookes’ Bioimaging Unit creates 3D models of cells and viruses - enabling researchers to really get to grips with the microscopic!

Increasing enjoyment and understanding of opera

Sustained engagement

Dr Alexandra Wilson has worked extensively with the BBC and various opera companies in the UK and overseas. In particular, she has developed a sustained engagement with the audience of the Royal Opera House (ROH). The Commissioning Editor (Publications) for the ROH argues that Dr Wilson’s essays both deepen audiences’ understanding of the opera in question and encourage a heightened sense of participation in operatic culture more broadly. He comments that “all this makes for a more involved audience who are able to get greater benefit from opera in performance: when they learn more, they enjoy and value the experience and the culture more”.

Demystifying opera

In her research more broadly, Dr Wilson has been influential in demystifying opera and demonstrating its relevance to everyday life. Her current project focuses on debates about opera in 1920s Britain, in particular examining opera’s interactions with popular culture.

Dr Alexandra Wilson is Research Coordinator for Music, Subject Coordinator for MA Music and co-directs the OBERTO opera research unit.

Photo of opera house