Medical researchers in lab
Some 170,000 philanthropists have contributed to the campaign since it began in 2004
Credit: John Cairns

Donations and research funding

The University of Oxford is a global, outward-facing university, whose core objectives of teaching and research are supported to a significant extent by donations and research funding. As such, funding from a variety of sources is welcomed, and indeed, is necessary for us to continue to fulfil our mission. We are immensely grateful to our benefactors for their support.

This funding contributes to many different areas, from UNIQ summer schools, scholarships and teaching posts to funding for research projects, people and facilities. To find out more, please visit the Development website.

The University is careful to ensure that funding does not impinge on academic freedom or create potential conflicts of interest (that cannot be disclosed and appropriately managed), or otherwise harm the reputation of the collegiate University. In addition to considering reputational issues and the wider interests of the University, funding is also reviewed in light of the University’s responsibilities as a charity.

Funding is therefore only requested or accepted if it will not have an influence on decision making at the University, will not interfere with its charitable objectives of teaching and research, will not harm the reputation of the University, and if it will not result in the University or any of its members acting illegally, improperly or unethically. The latter includes, for example, the following considerations:

  • Illegal or unethical activity, such as where the funding is believed to be a result of criminal activity, is linked to money laundering activity, or otherwise originates from or is associated with unethical activity.
  • Bribery, either where the University believes it would be accepting a bribe or would be offering a bribe to the funder.
  • Terrorism, where the funding is suspected to be associated with terrorist financing activity.
  • Where any conditions attached to funding would require the University to act illegally or unethically in any way.
  • Funding will not generally be accepted if the potential funder is actively involved in the tobacco industry.

In addition, in respect of funding opportunities from companies or individuals linked to the fossil fuel industry, the following considerations will be applied:

  • The proposed use of the funding (either the proposed use is unconnected to fossil fuel extraction or is focused on enabling meaningful accelerations away from carbon usage and speeding the transition to net zero carbon).
  • The funder’s commitment to net zero, as evidenced through credible plans to achieve net zero carbon by 2050 or sooner, consistent with the Oxford Martin principles, involving:
    • A commitment to net-zero emissions
    • A profitable net-zero business model
    • Quantitative medium-term targets.
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