Four new initiatives launched to support ‘Building Back Better’ from COVID-19

22 April 2021

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The Oxford Martin School has launched four new solutions-focused research initiatives, designed to make an immediate difference in helping the world ‘build back better’ from the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 has created immediate challenges and paved the way for future challenges across economics, society and global health. However, it also presents real opportunities to make progress on addressing some of the most fundamental issues facing humanity.

As part of its rapid-response funding round, intended to contribute to ‘Building Back Better’ from the pandemic, the School has launched four new short-term research initiatives that have the potential to make a clear difference in this unique moment.

The Oxford Martin Initiative on a Net Zero Recovery asks how governments may best use COVID-19 stimulus packages both to restart the economy and to shift it to net zero carbon emissions. It will propose novel interventions that capitalise on the unique present moment of economic urgency and heightened environmental consciousness.

The Oxford Martin Initiative on Regional Levelling-up aims to develop an evidence-base of what works in closing the stark divide in economic advantage and quality-of-life between regions; a divide which has only been intensified by the pandemic. It will deliver pilot projects in the UK and aims to create a scalable template that is applicable globally.

The Oxford Martin Initiative on Vaccine Misinformation will expand the remit of the Oxford Martin Programme on Misinformation, Science and Media to help understand and counter the spread of misleading health information, particularly around COVID-19 vaccinations.

The Oxford Martin Initiative on Reconfiguring Energy Needs will use the radical changes in patterns of energy use during the pandemic to identify sensitive tipping points and hence interventions that will accelerate society’s transition to net-zero living. It will form part of the existing Oxford Martin Programme on Integrating Renewable Energy.

Director of the Oxford Martin School, Professor Sir Charles Godfray, said: “There are few more urgent challenges than the one we face in overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic and navigating the world that follows. We are privileged to be able to support these four initiatives, which have all demonstrated the potential to have a direct, short-term impact on overcoming the rebuilding challenge and creating something better than what was there before.”