Members of the Oxford Martin School’s Advisory Council gathered for their annual meeting on 6 June.
Opening the meeting, the University of Oxford’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Louise Richardson, praised the leadership of the School’s Director, Professor Ian Goldin, who will step down in September. Professor Richardson said: “James Martin’s vision has been translated into reality by Ian’s extraordinary drive, intellect and convening ability. He has done so much for the school and we are very much in his debt.”
Thanking her, Professor Goldin said he was “highly optimistic” for the future of the School. He said the School’s 10th anniversary year had been a memorable one. In terms of research, the School had completed its first thematic funding call, resulting in three new programmes of research on the theme of ‘Global Commons, Collective Responsibilities and Market Failures’. The directors of the programmes - Collective Responsibility for Infectious Disease, Sustainable Oceans, and Integrating Renewable Energy – later gave presentations on their work. The directors of the Oxford Martin Net Zero Carbon Investment Initiative updated the Advisory Council on progress made in the past year.
Council members were briefed on the School’s policy work over the past year, including the publication of the ‘Women's Health: a new global agenda’ policy paper, which in February was presented to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health.
The importance of the School's research partnership with Citi was highlighted, which over the past year has resulted in the publication of the latest Citi GPS report, ‘Technology at Work v2.0: The Future Is Not What It Used to Be’ and in a new research programme on Inequality and Prosperity, which was presented to Council members.
Highlights from the School’s present and recently-completed research programmes were given by Senior Advisor, Sir John Beddington. This included the progress by Professor Henry Snaith in the development of perovskite as a solar photovoltaic material, for which the associated spin-off, Oxford Photovoltaics, has secured over £8,000,000 to accelerate full-scale production and deployment.
The Council discussed the transition to the leadership of the School’s newly-appointed Director, Achim Steiner, currently Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Council members discussed the School’s interdisciplinary approach to research, which brings together leading academics from different fields together to work on global challenges.
Professor Goldin noted that these programmes could not have been funded anywhere else, because of the nature of conventional research funding. To date the School has funded over 500 academics from more than 100 different disciplines, creating 45 different research teams, straddling all four divisions of the University.
Reflecting on the past decade, Professor Goldin said that: “James Martin’s vision created the School and our mission remains very clear. He founded the School because he was a solution-oriented person; he saw that humanity was at the crossroads and that our future would depend on our ability to bring great minds together to tackle crucial global challenges, and to link the research to policy and action in business and governments.
“The School tackles problems on a global scale. The international perspective and wide-ranging leadership experience of our Advisory Council helps to ensure that we do not become parochial and that we continue to strive to achieve our ambitions.”