New centre to tackle major economic challenges

12 April 2012

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A new interdisciplinary research centre to explore and challenge conventional economic thinking has been created by the Oxford Martin School in collaboration with the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET).

The creation of this exciting new centre comes in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and the on-going euro crisis, after which leading economists, policymakers and business leaders have called for a fundamental re-think in economics.

The Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School builds on an existing INET research programme at Oxford, which was focussed on economic modelling. The new expanded centre will have a five-year budget of over US$25 million with core funding from INET, a New York based non-profit foundation started by Mr George Soros, matching support from Oxford, and research grants from a number of other institutions.

The centre will have over 40 leading academics involved and will aim to stimulate innovation and debate in economics, support visionary interdisciplinary research and contribute to the education of the next generation of economists as well as business and government leaders.

Speaking at the announcement of the formation of INET Oxford at the INET Annual Conference in Berlin (on 12 April), Mr Soros explained his reasons for funding research at INET Oxford: “Fresh thinking in economics is urgently needed to mitigate many global challenges, not least systemic financial crises, the creation of sustainable jobs and employment, and the wide-ranging challenges of development.”

INET Oxford will seek to leverage thinking across academic disciplines in its approach to economics. In addition to economists, the centre will work with physicists, biologists, psychologists, anthropologists and others across the physical and social sciences. An important part of the centre’s mission will be to facilitate application of its research to critical economic policy problems and to actively engage with leaders from government and business.

Professor Ian Goldin, Director of the Oxford Martin School, said “The establishment of INET Oxford is an exciting development which aims to yield major advances in key areas of economic theory and policy. This new centre will focus on addressing some of the greatest economic challenges we face ranging from avoiding future financial crises, to ensuring that the positive potential of globalization is realized and its risks mitigated.”

Taking up the directorship of INET Oxford will be Eric Beinhocker, formerly a partner at McKinsey & Company and a senior fellow at the McKinsey Global Institute.