James Martin believed that “we can make any kind of world we want”. He saw that it is vital not only to innovate and develop new ideas, but also to understand how to implement those innovations in practice

Call for Expressions of Interest

James Martin established the Oxford Martin School to bring together teams of researchers from across disciplines to innovate and find solutions to the most pressing global challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

He saw that it is vital not only to develop new technologies to meet challenges and opportunities, but to understand how these could deliver improvements for society: invention and innovation are not straightforward as new technologies co-evolve with organisational, cultural, legal and behavioural changes. Research into solutions for complex global challenges requires not only ingenuity and new thinking, but also an understanding of how new ideas can be best deployed and of their unintended consequences.

In response to that vision, the Oxford Martin School is now inviting Expressions of Interest (EoI) that address one or both of the themes below:

  • The development of state-of-the art innovations to address a major contemporary challenge. We take a broad view of innovation but see it as a real-world implementation of a new idea, method or device. We welcome informal enquiries about potential proposals before the development of an EoI.

  • The development of novel ways to remove barriers to the deployment, adoption or effectiveness of important innovations. Such barriers might be economic, cultural, social or involve legal or governance constraints.

The Oxford Martin School aims to support new ways of conceptualising, analysing and addressing the challenges of the 21st Century. Proposals must demonstrate a feasible pathway to implementation at scale, but we encourage adventurous ideas.

The Oxford Martin School will make a new round of grants available in 2023. We are now seeking short Expressions of Interest from eligible academics as the first stage of our selection process. Shortlisted candidates will be requested to submit a full proposal.

All prospective applicants are encouraged to read the application guidelines and discuss their project with the School’s Research and Programmes Manager, Dr Jean-Charles Buffet, ahead of submission.

Deadline for EoIs: 5pm, Monday 30th January 2023

Download the application guidelines

How will we decide?

First and foremost, we will judge your expression of interest against the School’s research funding criteria:

Scale and significance: does the project address a contemporary challenge of global significance?

Academic excellence: does the project involve research of the highest international standard?

Impact: will this research make a major positive difference in the world beyond academia, and how will this be achieved?

Additionality: what is novel about the proposed research, and why should this research be funded by the Oxford Martin School, rather than by another funder?

Your EoI should therefore demonstrate in summary form that you:

  • Are addressing a key research question that facilitates innovations, or the creation of solutions for the major challenges of the 21st Century.

  • Have the academic expertise and leadership in the relevant area and are eligible to apply.

  • Have a clear pathway of impact so that the results of the project, if successful, will be taken up by policy-makers or practitioners.

  • Are proposing an idea that would not be easily fundable through conventional research channels.

more than a funder

The Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford is a world-leading centre of pioneering research that addresses global challenges.

The Oxford Martin School aims to find solutions to the most pressing challenges of our time, in particular issues that cannot be understood by work in any one academic field alone. We seek to create exciting and novel research consortia from across the University. An Oxford Martin research programme is not solely a funding arrangement but entails a partnership: we provide strong support for our researchers both in the unique challenges of interdisciplinary research and in disseminating the outcomes to effect real world change. We offer flexible, pragmatic funding and fundraising support: in return, we expect our researchers to engage actively in our community.

The process

For the first stage of our selection process, we are seeking short Expressions of Interest from eligible academics. We request that you provide a short (maximum of four pages) description of the proposed research and a short (<2 page) CV for each proposed Lead Researcher.

We are not prescriptive about the structure of the Expression of Interest, but a typical one might comprise:

  • A non-technical summary (300 words);
  • The context and statement of the problem;
  • A description of the proposed research and anticipated outputs (~2 pages);
  • An outline of how the work, if it is successful, will effect change.

At this stage we are interested in the subject to be researched, approach to be taken, and the suitability of the lead applicants. If we decide to request a full proposal, we will then need more details of the research, the timetable and the team. We do not require costed proposals at this stage, but please provide a rough estimate of budget and length of the proposed programme.

The Oxford Martin School will meet directly allocated, directly incurred and estates costs, but not indirect costs. Real costs associated with the project will be allowable.

The Expressions of Interest will be considered by the Management Committee of the Oxford Martin School. All information will be treated in strict confidence.

Requests for full proposals will be issued in March 2023. The deadline for full proposals will be in February, and it is hoped that final decisions will be made in June. It is envisaged that the research teams would be able to start work Michaelmas Term 2023.

The length of the programme is flexible and, in the past, has been between one to five years. The budget is also flexible and, in the past, has ranged from £100k upwards, with this funding round having a maximum amount of £1 million.

The Oxford Martin School does not support research external to the University of Oxford. Further eligibility information can be found in the application guidelines.

Deadline for EoIs: 5pm, Monday 30th January 2023