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Oxford University matched funding appeal raises $100m in a year

Oxford University matched funding appeal raises $100m in a year

News (UK)

Last year, Dr James Martin, one of the world’s leading computer scientists, pledged to donate up to $50m (£33m) to the eponymous school he set up at Oxford University, to fund 20 key research projects if other donors would match his gift. A year later, the full $100m (£66m) has been raised for the James Martin 21st Century School with contributions from donors like George Soros and Adrian Beecroft, former chief investment officer at Apax Partners, a global private equity advisory firm.

Dr Martin said, “When the matched funding scheme was announced, many people said this is crazy timing as this is the worst economic crash in recent history. The Oxford Vice-Chancellor and I disagreed with them. Some foundations and wealthy individuals give money in bad times if the cause is exceptionally important. The James Martin 21st Century School at Oxford has demonstrated that 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 new funding will support nearly 20 critical projects on subjects as diverse as the future of cities, brain manipulation, and vaccine design. Other 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 a $100m (£66m) donation in 2005 to set up the James Martin 21st Century School which ‘formulates new concepts, policies and technologies that will make the future a better place to be’.

The James Martin matched funding challenge has significantly contributed to the Oxford University’s overall fundraising campaign, Oxford Thinking, which recently passed the £800m mark. Dame Vivien Duffield, chair of the campaign, said, “James Martin’s pledge was an inspired way to spur philanthropists, charities and funding bodies to give to Oxford.”

Director of the James Martin 21st Century School, Dr Ian Goldin, said, “These new resources will enable us to advance our capacity to tackle some of the biggest and most complex challenges of our time. These include climate change, financial crises, global demographic shifts, poverty and health.”

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