Bench fees are fees received by the University of Oxford in relation to visiting academics from other institutions using our facilities.
Academics undertaking their own research
If an academic from another institution is simply paying for the use of Oxford University facilities in order to undertake their own research activities then this is simply a supply of facilities.
This is subject to the standard rate of VAT, no matter where the academic is based (UK or non-UK).
Academics learning new techniques
If the visiting academic is here to learn new research techniques then we are making a supply of education.
This is exempt from VAT.