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Reinvesting in academia: How our success benefits the academic community

By Laura Jose

As a department of Oxford University, OUP’s mission is to further the institution’s objectives of excellence in research, scholarship, and education through our publishing. The careful stewardship of our finances has also allowed us to generate a surplus on our publishing in recent years. Much of this surplus is reinvested in the Press to help to sustain our activities, but at the Delegates’ discretion, a percentage can be transferred to the wider University to support its activities. Some of these transfers are used to support the John Fell OUP Research Fund, and the Clarendon Fund for overseas scholarships.

The John Fell OUP Research Fund

Launched in 2006, the John Fell OUP Research Fund provides early-term support for University researchers. Named after John Fell, the father of the modern press, its mission is to foster creativity and a proactive approach to research opportunities in all subject areas, and particularly interdisciplinary fields. OUP allocates £5 million each year to the fund which contributes start-up grants, funds early career researchers, sponsors conferences, seminar series and visiting researchers, and provides staff and funds to support applications for external funding.

In 2011, the Fund supported over 350 projects, ranging from establishing an Institute for Advanced Research in the Humanities, developing an AIDS-related Child Abuse Prevention Project, founding Oxford-wide research communities working on issues relating to water security and climate change, creating a new digital morphology centre for paleobiology, and holding international conferences on subjects as diverse as Tibetan Studies and the work of Candide.

The Clarendon Scholarships

A flagship programme at the University, the Clarendon Fund is a major graduate scholarship scheme which since 2001 has enabled over 1,100 international scholars, representing the elite academic candidates of their generation from more than 50 countries, to undertake graduate studies at Oxford. The Fund is unique in its ability to provide assistance to over a hundred students every year, from a wide variety of countries, who are selected based solely on academic excellence and potential. To date, the fund has received over £65million (around £7.5 million annually) in support from OUP, allowing scholars to study at Oxford regardless of financial capability, and helping to remove any barriers that may stand in the way of the best graduate applicants. At the tenth anniversary of the Scholarship, in November 2011, OUP’s CEO Nigel Portwood spoke of his support for the programme: “OUP’s involvement in the Clarendon Scholarship is a shining example of the benefits that the Press can bring to the wider University. I’m very proud of the impact it has had in its first 10 years and I look forward to its continuing success in the future.”

In 2012-13, there are over 300 Clarendon scholars at Oxford. Here is what some of them had to say about the Scholarship:

Felipe Correa, Brazil (DPhil Medieval & Modern Languages, 2010-present)

“With the support of [Oxford University and the Clarendon Fund], I have the privilege of not only dedicating myself full-time to research without financial concerns, but being part of a select group of people from all over the world… I deeply appreciate the opportunity I have been given.”

Melissa Jansen van Rensburg, South Africa (DPhil Zoology, 2011-present)

“Studying at the University of Oxford is something most international students can only dream of, and I would never have been able to take up my offer without a scholarship. My field of study is particularly new, and I would not have been able to carry out a similar project in South Africa… I have been able to collaborate with several South African universities, giving me the opportunity to transfer knowledge and skills to former colleagues.”

Laura JoseLaura Jose is a Publishing Assistant at OUP working on humanities and social science journals. Before joining OUP, she completed a PhD in medieval literature at Durham University.