Poverty research wins Oxford prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize
Poverty research wins Oxford prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize

Poverty research wins Oxford prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize

Oxford University has been awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for the development of innovative poverty measurement for more effective policymaking.

The University of Oxford is among 22 UK educational institutions announced as winners of Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for research carried out by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI).

Her Majesty The Queen approved the award of Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in the thirteenth round of the scheme.

OPHI is a research centre, based in the Oxford Department of International Development, whose aim is to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is grounded in people’s experiences and values. It is the only research centre in the world that focuses on multidimensional poverty. In partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, it designed the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) which provides a more comprehensive view of poverty across over 100 developing countries, giving policymakers the tools they need to make more effective, efficient, and coordinated programs to combat poverty and improve the lives of the poor.

Dr Sabina Alkire, Director of OPHI, said: ‘When poor persons, who are the real experts on this subject, explain what poverty is, they articulate multiple disadvantages such as lack of good education, joblessness, poor health, insecurity, ramshackle housing or inadequate sanitation. A multidimensional measure of poverty reflects the lived experiences of impoverished people in order to facilitate and incentivise actions that redress multiple deprivations together. Yet any measurement tool is incomplete. It is the dedicated and creative agency of many actors from the grassroots to policy who use MPIs to bring change, and we celebrate and learn from their leadership and achievements.’

Professor Patrick Grant, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) at Oxford University, said: ‘We have recognised for some time that a new framework for measuring and tackling multidimensional poverty was needed to capture this reality in order to understand these joint deprivations, monitor progress, and improve poverty reduction programmes, and the Oxford team have made a huge step in achieving this.

‘OPHI’s global MPI and national multidimensional poverty indices based on the methodology developed by Sabina Alkire and James Foster, and their dedicated policy engagement, have developed rigorous yet intuitive measures and pushed them from the periphery to the mainstream of development discourse and practice. The result is impact at the very highest levels of international governance and on the ground in the villages and cities where poor people live.’

‘OPHI’s work has also led to the University’s first social enterprise spin-out company, sOPHIa Oxford, formed with support from Oxford University Innovation Limited. sOPHIa Oxford is taking the MPI to the private sector, enabling businesses to measure and respond to poverty amongst their employees, contractors, and in their supply chain.’

The Prize-winners are universities and colleges who have been recognised for ground-breaking work and pioneering research in a wide range of disciplines including science, engineering, education, the humanities, the environment and medicine. Direct benefits of the institutions’ work have been delivered at local, regional, national and international levels.

The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes reward outstanding work by UK colleges and universities which show excellence and innovation and deliver real public benefit. The Prizes are granted every two years by The Queen and are the highest national Honour awarded to UK colleges and universities.

Entries in the scheme are invited in any subject area and are subjected to rigorous independent assessment in a process managed by the Royal Anniversary Trust, an independent charity. Recommendations for the Queen’s approval are made on the Prime Minister’s advice.

Sir Damon Buffini, Chairman of the Royal Anniversary Trust said: ‘Colleges and universities throughout the UK do exceptional work year after year that delivers benefits well beyond the institution – positively affecting education, the economy and wider society in many different ways. The criteria are demanding, and competition is strong; it is a great incentive to our colleges and universities to think critically about the direction of their work and its application and relevance in today’s world. Many congratulations to the latest Prize-winners!’