10 october 2008

The Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment officially launched

Dr John Hood, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, Elise Smith, Martin Smith, Sir David King
Dr John Hood, Elise Smith, Martin Smith, and Professor Sir David King

The Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment was officially opened by Dr John Hood, Vice-Chancellor of the University, on 9 October 2008. The reception for over 100 guests from across the University was held at the School’s new premises in Hayes House on George Street. Special tribute was paid to Martin and Elise Smith, whose generous benefaction allowed the School to be founded.

The Smith School is a new research and teaching initiative, aimed at understanding and pioneering ways for private enterprise, government, and academia to work towards solutions to the environmental challenges of the 21st century. It will build upon the University’s existing strength, with units such as the Oxford University Centre for the Environment, the Environmental Change Institute, and the Saïd Business School actively involved in the creation and ongoing life of the new School.

What the world needs at this time is a global hub to pull together the private sector, governments, and academe to help generate solutions to all of the challenges around climate change. Our ambition is to build that hub.

Sir David King, Director of the Smith School

Since Sir David King arrived in January to become the School’s first Director, the School has grown from just three staff members to more than 20. The School now has seven Research Fellows and seven Visiting Fellows with plans for others joining from government and the private sector. More than 40 researchers from across the University have become Faculty Associates of the School, and more will be added in the coming year. The School’s researchers span a range of disciplines, from engineers to atmospheric physicists, from lawyers to philosophers, from geographers to economists.

At the launch Sir David King explained the School’s role: ‘What the world needs at this time is a global hub to pull together the private sector, governments, and academe to help generate solutions to all of the challenges around climate change. Our ambition is to build that hub.’

The School’s Researchers Fellows will run two weekly seminar series each term. The seminars will have speakers from both within and outside the University, including government and the private sector. In Michaelmas Term, one series will focus on environmental and ecological economics and one will focus on risk, uncertainty, climate, and policy.

The School’s broad research agenda includes a Futures Laboratory that will partner with the private sector to develop visions of the future. By helping to identify potential environmental risks and opportunities, the Futures Laboratory will help enable decision-makers to develop better strategies to manage our future. Plans are also underway for the School to host its first annual World Forum on Enterprise and the Environment, to be held in Oxford in July 2009.

With further expansion of the School, plans are under way to move to a new purpose-built building within five years.

People at the official launch of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment.
© Rob Judges