Oxford University’s quality of research has once again been judged one of the best in the UK, coming second only to Cambridge.The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), which grades research undertaken at UK universities every 7 years, announced the verdict as part of its Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).70% of Oxford’s research, submitted by 2246 staff, was deemed to be either world-leading or internationally excellent. This contrasts with Cambridge University’s 71% submitted by 2040 staff.Oxford’s Vice-Chancellor, John Hood, said, “we are delighted with these results. Having submitted over 85% of our academics for assessment, this is a genuine reflection of the breadth and depth of Oxford’s research activity.”Because of many variables assessed, there are several different league tables in the circulation. Tables based on the average research standard place Cambridge University first, but Oxford tops the charts that prioritise number of researchers assessed.Of all UK universities, 54% of the work examined across the institutions was world leading or internationally excellent.David Eastwood, HEFCE’s Chief Executive commented, “this represents an outstanding achievement, confirming that the UK is among the top rank of research powers in the world.”RAE grading influences how £1.5bn of government funding is distributed to research institutions. The news is eagerly awaited by many universities concerned about their financial futures, amid predictions that the government will cut back on HE spending in the current economic conditions.Wealthier institutions like Oxford have also lost money from their endowments in the economic downturn.