The Oxford Social Sciences Division represents one of the largest groupings of social scientists in the world. We bring together outstanding departments, faculties and schools committed to tackling some of the major challenges facing humanity, such as sustainable resource management, migration, global governance, justice, poverty and development. Our research combines rigorous and innovative quantitative methodologies and theoretical approaches using individual and collective experiences and actions. The quality and diversity of our research and our over 1,000 researchers creates a virtuous circle, attracting the most talented students and researchers, allowing us to create an intellectually fertile environment for the next generation of world leaders. The Times Higher Education (THE) University Rankings placed the University of Oxford as number one in the world for Social Sciences in 2022, 2019 and 2018.
Over 5,000 students are enrolled on our wide-ranging, innovative programme of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, all underpinned by the ground-breaking research of our academics.
The Divisional Office supports academics and researchers, as well as the administrative functions in departments by undertaking much of the day-to-day work relating to planning and resource allocation, the administration of academic appointments, on-course graduate administration, and the detailed supervision of education and research. Our responsibilities cover budgeting, educational provision, and academic policy across the Division, with a particular role in monitoring and quality assurance.
Divisional Office Staff
The Academic Appointments team manages:
- Associate Professorship posts
- Statutory Professorship posts in conjunction with the Senior Appointments Team (Personnel Services)
- Requests to confer the title of Visiting Professor
- Appointments to Statutory Visiting Professorships
The team oversees the management of appointments to the grade of Associate Professor and the lifecycle of the post and employee thereafter. These are joint appointments where there is an association with a college.
In conjunction with the University’s Senior Appointments team, the Academic Appointments team is also involved in the establishment and recruitment to statutory Professorships.
In cases where departments propose the conferral of the title of Visiting Professor on an individual, the approval of the title and issuing of conferral letters is managed by the Academic Appointments team.
There are also a small number of statutory Visiting Professorships which the team deal with on an annual basis.
Appointments to the grade of Associate Professor
The team is involved in all stages of the academic appointments process for the grade of Associate Professor. This includes:
- giving approval to establish such posts or to release vacant posts for refilling
- advertising posts
- issuing contracts for newly-appointed academic staff
- managing the reappointment procedures
- administering the sabbatical leave scheme
- absences from work (maternity, paternity, sickness, secondments)
- administering the appraisal scheme
- managing requests to work beyond the Employer Justified Retirement Age
- managing cases where there is an exceptional need to retain a member of staff and providing advice on various HR issues relating to academic staff
The division works closely with departments at all of these stages.
Staff in the division’s Academic Office undertake educational quality assurance work in conjunction with departments, faculties, and the central university, and provide dedicated graduate studies assistance to a number of the division’s units. The Office is also responsible for developing the division-wide research and skills training programme for doctoral students and for managing the funding and strategic development of the ESRC Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership.
The Social Sciences Development Team’s sole purpose is to fundraise for professorships, scholarships and capital projects within the Social Sciences Division.
Our fundraisers work hard to find appropriate sources of funds for Social Sciences projects. We liaise with a number of our in-house specialist development teams who are experienced in seeking funds from trusts and foundations, corporate organisations and offering tailored funding support for students. We offer a comprehensive fundraising package to ensure the University can continue to provide for scholarships, teaching posts and capital projects.
The Divisional Finance Team seeks to ensure the sound financial management of the Division and its departments. We are formally part of the Finance Division, but firmly embedded within the Division, and pride ourselves on working closely with senior management in the Division, and with academic, administrative and finance colleagues in departments. Our key responsibility it is to lead the Division’s financial planning, budgeting and forecasting activity. We support departments in addressing their challenges – whether through the delivery of specific projects, acting as a source of advice, or by advocating for change on our departments’ behalf across the wider University. And we strive to build a network of financial professionals across the Division, ensuring departments can learn from and support each other.
Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting
The financial year runs from August to July. The University has a well established planning, budgeting and forecasting cycle which we lead on behalf of the Division. Throughout, our focus is on ensuring that departments can develop academically and operationally in a sustainable manner, and commensurate with the University’s financial needs. We also aim to ensure that departments have early sight of financial risks and opportunities, and are placed to respond quickly and effectively to those.
Managing financial risk
We seek to help departments manage their financial risks as easily as possible. Working with divisional colleagues, we have built financial and operational KPIs, helping departments identify financial trends, and to benchmark against other departments. We actively support departments facing particular financial challenges (whether through growth, or financial pressures) in developing and actively monitoring robust financial plans. We also seek to provide divisional models (e.g. for reconciling payroll, or projecting overheads) which allow departments to focus their time on analysis and control. If you have ideas for other ways the Division can help, please contact us.
The Research, Impact and Engagement Team supports divisional research strategy and research policy and practice in departments, facilitates research and impact initiatives and provides professional administrative and management advice in support of divisional priorities.
How can the RIE Team help you?
External research funding
- Advice and guidance on research funding applications, i.e. ESRC, H2020/ERC
- Support in preparing research funding applications
- Research workshops, briefings, and training
- Advice and guidance on managing research projects, i.e. ERC, ESRC Centres.
Contact Armando Roman Zozaya, Senior Research Facilitator
Internal research funding
- Advice and guidance on John Fell Fund applications
Knowledge Exchange (KE) and Impact activities
- Advice and guidance on KE, Impact and Public Engagement activities
- Divisional funding schemes for KE and impact, including ESRC Impact Acceleration Account
- Support in preparing KE and impact applications
- KE and impact workshops, briefings, and training
- Support for developing relationships with external organisations and partners.
Contact Aileen Marshall-Brown, Senior Research Impact Facilitator
Strategy and consultations
- Developing relationships with, and point of contact for, external research funders
- Advice on, and support for, departmental research strategies
- Support for Divisional research strategy
- Coordinating responses to consultations: The University is often asked to respond to government or funder reviews and consultation exercises. The Divisional Team will request input to these reviews, usually via email, from Heads of Department, Research Directors/Coordinators and academics and research staff, where appropriate.
Contact Sam Sneddon, Head of Research, Impact & Engagement
Providing a broad range of research communications support in partnership with departmental communications officers, including:
- Developing new stories and media releases in liaison with the University's central news team
- Social media support
- Developing research impact case studies, blogs, and graphic content
- News and updates on research communications training opportunities
Contact Elizabeth Crawford, Research Communications Officer
- Advice and guidance on funder and REF Open Access policies.
REF, research policy and systems
- Information and advice on the Research Excellence Framework
- Support for research information and data management, research support systems.