The Oxford Impacts series celebrates the range of impacts the University has on the world of policy, health, business and culture. All of this is enabled by the world-leading research of Oxford academics. This set of case studies showcases academic research, across a range of subjects, that has had an impact on the world.

Skeeter dronePoetry in motion

Nature’s designs can be more efficient, elegant and powerful than anything yet built by man. A University of Oxford spin out aims to disrupt vehicle design by taking inspiration from the movement of animals.


Tom HartTo the Zooniverse and beyond

Harnessing the time and skills of millions of volunteers worldwide is proving to be an extremely powerful way of driving research in fields as diverse as history, zoology, physics and even the response to humanitarian disasters.


Managing the risk of surface water floodingManaging the risk of surface water flooding

Research by the University of Oxford, in conjunction with the London School of Economics, is playing a key role in combating one of Britain’s most persistent natural hazards.


countrysideThe value of a green and pleasant land

Oxford research work helps to highlight the value of the natural world.


Photo © Peter Juelich 2014Smartphones become Smart Stones

Research at Oxford is demonstrating how ordinary smartphones can be turned into cheap, simple devices to monitor climate and environment.


infrastructure mapGetting critical

Oxford's Environmental Change Institute analyses the risks to the nation's infrastructure.


Helping the 'Greeks' to run faster

Mathematical techniques developed by Professor Mike Giles have led to substantial reductions in the complexity of the Monte Carlo computer simulations run by large banks, cutting both computing costs and energy consumption.


Balancing conservation and commerce in the world's forests

Research into forest ecology at the University of Oxford is helping to reconcile the competing pressures of biodiversity and economic development.


Strategies to reduce animal disease in Africa

Four years' research among South African smallholders has resulted in an argument for attention to local practices in the treatment of livestock diseases.


How changes to inland waters impact regional climates

Oxford scientists have developed a computer model showing how different amounts of surface water can effect changes in regional climate.


Discovering the rainforest 'diversity police'

University of Oxford-led research reveals that fungi regulate diversity in rain forests.


Particle accelerator physics for the masses

A University of Oxford outreach project about accelerator physics was conceived to inspire young minds in Oxfordshire but has gone much further than anyone could have hoped.


A new window on solar energy

Innovative solar cell technology based on research at the University of Oxford has created glass that generates electricity.


Creating cars that drive themselves

An engineering project at University of Oxford offers the possibility of autonomous personal transport, which could save people time, reduce emissions and makes roads safer.


Efficient fuel cells powered by enzymes

Alternative energy sources don't yet pack the desired punch - but researchers in Oxford are changing that by developing fuel cells inspired by nature.


Super-materials made by silkworms

Researchers at the University of Oxford are looking to the natural world to create a new breed of exotic materials - and the applications seem limitless.


Pioneering research takes to the skies

Lighter, faster, more environmentally friendly jet engines are being created by University researchers and Rolls-Royce engineers..


How to be certain of uncertainty in climate and weather forecasts

Within every weather and climate forecast there is embedded a degree of uncertainty. This is inevitable. The big question for meteorologists and climatologists is: how do you quantify that uncertainty? This is the subject of Professor Tim Palmer's research at Oxford University.


Calculating the risks of coastal flooding and cliff erosion

Scientists at the University of Oxford are developing yet further a computer model that will forecast the environmental risks to Britain's coastline for decades ahead. This will be of immense value to local authority planning departments.


How global warming is changing tropical forests

Professor Yadvinder Malhi, is leading a team of scientists researching the impact of climate change on the forests of the Peruvian Andes. His report will influence national and international policymaking.


Understanding oil-rich strata

For more than thirty years Oxford geologist Dr Hugh Jenkyns has been researching what rock formations are likely to have produced oil and why.


Electric motors fit for racing cars

Think of electric vehicles and you probably picture sluggish hybrid cars - but University of Oxford engineers are developing electric motors that power the world's fastest sports cars.


Reducing toxic mercury emissions

Scientists at the University of Oxford are applying their knowledge to inform national and international policy on mercury, which is one of the most dangerous environmental pollutants.


Introducting the Climate Research Network

The Oxford Climate Research Network is a cross-divisional research community, harnessing Oxford’s diverse strengths to address the challenge of managing climate change in a complex and uncertain world. The network aims to develop a research agenda to address key challenges of a changing climate, deepen knowledge to inform policy and planning, and develop instruments to improve practice in partnership with government, research and business communities.

Reducing toxic mercury emissions

Scientists at the University of Oxford, funded by the NERC, are applying their knowledge to inform national and international policy on mercury, which is one of the most dangerous environmental pollutants.

Fuel cells inspired by nature

Alternative energy sources don’t yet pack the desired punch – but researchers in Oxford, funded by the EPSRC and the BBSRC, are changing that by developing fuel cells inspired by nature.

Stopping floods on the cheap: A success story from Yorkshire

A team of researchers—funded by the BBSRC, ESRC and the NERC—ran a pilot project in Pickering, North Yorkshire to study the effectiveness of a new methodology for flood management decision-making. The outcome was much more than academic, and the town is safer for it.

Tracking Life 40 Degrees South

Professor Gideon Henderson and colleagues on on understanding the underpinnings of Life in the Oceans. Based on work funded by the NERC.

Volcano hunting, Italy to Peru

Professor David Pyle discusses work understanding the processes that underpin volcanic eruptions: and the devastating effects that volcanic plumes can have Based on work funded by the NERC.

Chemistry in the garden

Dr Alison Foster on audio trails in Oxford's botanic gardens, which allow visitors to learn about chemistry in beautiful surroundings. Based on work funded by the EPSRC.

Jatropha Curcas in the Global Race for Biofuels

Professor Katherine Willis on the global race for biofuels: and Oxford's role in assessing their impact for policymakers. Based on work funded by the NERC.

Peru's Data Collectors

Professor Yadvinder Mahli on work in Peru on the effect of tropical forests on climate change. Based on work funded by the NERC.

Turbine blade runner

Professor Li He on understanding better how turbines function at high temperatures: making jet engines greener, and turbines cheaper to run. Based on work funded by the EPSRC. Footage courtesy of Rolls-Royce.