Innovation: the world needs more Oxford talent

The last eighteen months have seen the profile of this great university reach stellar heights. Our brilliant colleagues demonstrated that a cheap anti-inflammatory, found in all pharmacy stores was effective in treating Covid infections. Our celebrity scientists, now rightly household names, worked night and day with AZ scientists to produce a vaccine for the world at cost price. We have rallied together across all four divisions, partnered with industry, regulators and funders in an unprecedented way, and demonstrated the importance of public investments in science, technology, universities and national infrastructures.   

This army of Oxford heroes has been showered with national and global honours. I never thought I would see the day that a doll would be made of a scientist. Well done Sarah Gilbert - something for the rest of us to aspire to!

No one has ever doubted the excellence of our teaching and research. Now we are also seen as a global leader in life science and healthcare research, and therapeutic discovery. More students and researchers, than ever before, wish to study or work here. I believe we are the broadest and greatest university in the world and hope that in decades to come historians will write that this university was pivotal to rescuing the world from this pandemic.

Even more is now expected of this awesome institution – the world needs more Oxford talent (great leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs), more solutions to major global challenges, more breakthrough innovations, new industries and many more jobs. Of course, the biggest challenge now facing us all is climate change: I feel sure we will rally once more, across departments, divisions, colleges and with our alumni network, to support the great work of colleagues such as Cameron Hepburn and Myles Allen.

The university is doing everything possible to support all our researchers as they try to advance their brilliant science from the lab, to create benefits for patients, societies, industries and economies. It is helping colleagues create social enterprises, making it easier for our academics to ‘accelerate impact’, encouraging diversity in entrepreneurship, building more innovation space, attracting more investors into Oxford. The Development Office is working with colleagues to define cross university funding priorities for accelerating innovation in Oxford; and there are ongoing discussions with our business school about how we can offer more leadership and entrepreneurship training across the university.

This is such an exciting time to be in Oxford. I wish I was several decades younger, so that I could train again under the guidance of our brilliant academics, innovative researchers and world changing entrepreneurs.