$100 million raised through James Martin 21st Century School Challenge

28 April 2010

Dr James Martin’s ambitious initiative to raise major research funding for the James Martin 21st Century School at Oxford University has defied the economic downturn by raising $100m to support groundbreaking research on key global problems.

In March 2009, Dr James Martin launched a $50 million matched funding challenge to encourage other donors to contribute new funding to develop innovative research projects that would tackle global future challenges. With only a year given in which to raise the matching donations, and in the face of the deep international financial crisis, the scheme has been an unparalleled success.

As a result of the challenge, 30 different donors (including individual philanthropists, charities, corporations and research bodies) have had their gifts matched by Dr James Martin, fulfilling his $50 million pledge. Their donations are to support 19 critical projects on subjects as diverse as the future of cities, brain manipulation, and vaccine design, and which will be incorporated into membership of the James Martin 21st Century School. The research will explore urgent questions like: ‘How do we combat chronic disease in a growing and ageing global population?’ ‘What’s needed to ensure food and fuel security in the 21st century?’ and ‘How can we stop economic shocks happening in future?’

Dr Martin made the $50m pledge on top of an original donation made in 2005, to set up the James Martin 21st Century School with an endowment of $100m. It has significantly contributed to the University’s fundraising campaign – Oxford Thinking – which recently passed the £800m mark.

Dr Martin said: ‘The James Martin 21st Century School has demonstrated it can identify the most serious dangers and opportunities of our future. Some great people from across the planet have been attracted to the School’s vision and this will lead to inspired thinking. The researchers will explore issues like global poverty, the impact of climate change and the need to find sustainable energy sources. They will also push the frontiers in innovative health and computer technologies, and study ways of preventing future economic crashes. Together we are funding solutions that will really make a difference.’

A major outcome of the scheme’s success will be to strengthen the capacity of the James Martin 21st Century School to foster and facilitate high impact research and interdisciplinary collaboration across the University of Oxford.

All programmes and institutes will be incorporated into the James Martin 21st Century School website shortly.

Special note: Dr James Martin gives the annual Commonwealth Lecture on 28 April 2010 at the Royal Institution.

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