17 june 2010

University of Oxford to establish new School of Government

University | Society

Dreaming spires

A major new School of Government is under formal consideration at the University of Oxford. The £100 million-plus initiative would be the result of one of the most generous philanthropic gifts in the University’s 900-year history. Until now, schools specialising in government and public policy have been found largely in the United States.

As proposed, a multi-year donation of £75 million will be made by Leonard Blavatnik, an American industrialist and philanthropist. This gift will help fund more than 40 academic posts and a purpose-built home for the School on the University’s new Radcliffe Observatory Quarter. Additional funding will come from the University. Mr Blavatnik has also indicated the possibility of increasing his benefaction up to £100 million over time.

The 21st century is already presenting new challenges to governments and societies around the world. These challenges require a broader and more inclusive approach than in the past. Disciplines such as the sciences, law and medicine need to be brought to bear as often as traditional studies such as politics, social sciences and economics.

This is a visionary act of philanthropy. It is a major vote of confidence in Oxford with the potential to transform how we and the rest of the world approach government and public policy issues.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Hamilton

It is anticipated that the new School will welcome its first students in 2012, offering a one-year Master’s degree. A global search for the Dean for the School, and detailed discussions with potential architects for the new building should start in the near future.

Professor Andrew Hamilton, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said: ‘The creation of the School would represent an immensely exciting milestone for Oxford. For centuries the University has made a uniquely varied contribution to government and public policy around the world. The prospect now of being able to bring together under one roof, both this rich tradition, and new and exciting strands of thinking, represents the culmination of a long journey and a new beginning for Oxford.’

Commenting on the donation by Mr Blavatnik, the Vice-Chancellor said: ‘This is a visionary act of philanthropy. It is a major vote of confidence in Oxford with the potential to transform how we and the rest of the world approach government and public policy issues.’