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The Oxford Martin School has opened a call for Expressions of Interest on the theme of Navigating progress: managing the risks and rewards of scientific advances

New funding call from the oxford martin school

The Oxford Martin School invite Expressions of Interest on researchable questions into how society can steer a path through the unpredictable consequences of scientific progress. Topics might include issues as varied as coping with the consequences of increased longevity, managing scientific interventions in our food supply, the governance of new and potentially dangerous technologies, dealing with diseases of affluence, or mitigating environmental damage as a result of economic development. The theme is designed as a spur to imaginative thinking and so these examples are merely illustrative; the School is open to broad and creative interpretations of the theme.


The Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford is a world-leading centre of pioneering research that addresses global challenges.

We aim to increase understanding of the most pressing challenges of our time, and we support interdisciplinary teams to address issues that cannot be understood by any one academic field alone. We invest in research that conventional funding channels cannot, or will not, take on but which could have a major impact on the wellbeing of this and future generations.

The Oxford Martin School will make a new round of grants available in 2016. We are now seeking short Expressions of Interest from eligible academics as the first stage of our selection process. Shortlisted candidates will be requested to submit a full proposal. This is primarily a partnership scheme: the School will give preference to proposals which are able to demonstrate a commitment and ability to secure matching and other funds, although the School will actively work with successful applicants to achieve this.

We anticipate that the Oxford Martin School will contribute between £100k and £400k per annum for a minimum of one or maximum of four years. In the previous round, which focused on Global Commons, Collective Responsibility and Market Failure, four proposals (three large and one small) received School support.

How will we decide?

First and foremost, we will judge your Expression of Interest against the School’s membership criteria:

  • Scale and significance: is the research topic of global scale and future significance?
  • Academic excellence: are the people involved the best in their field, through past achievements and future potential?
  • Impact: will this research make a major positive difference in the world outside academia and how will this be achieved?
  • Additionality: what is innovative about this research; how is it interdisciplinary; could the research be undertaken elsewhere; and how will it add value to the School’s overall aims?

Your Expression of Interest should demonstrate in summary form that you:

  • are addressing a key research question that will provide novel and highly significant insights into a subject which falls within the ‘Navigating Progress’ research theme;
  • have the academic expertise and leadership in the relevant area and hold a long term position within the University of Oxford;
  • are able to lead this research and have the ambition to take its results beyond academia, to ensure that the work makes a positive difference in business and/or policy arenas;
  • have a desire to be associated with the Oxford Martin School and a commitment to be part of its community of interdisciplinary programmes.


It is essential that applicants be in a permanent or long-term (five years plus) research post in the University. Please be aware of your Department or Faculty’s policies; if you are not eligible to apply for research funding as a Principal Investigator in your own name, you are not eligible to submit an Expression of Interest.

At this stage we are interested in the subject to be researched, approach to be taken, and your suitability to lead this. If we decide to request a full proposal, we will then need more details of the research, the timetable and the team.

More than a funder

Please note that an Oxford Martin research programme is not solely a funding arrangement but will entail a partnership between the School and you. We view the selection of the Programme’s Director(s) as vital to the success of the programmes; successful applicants will become key members of the Oxford Martin School. The School anticipates providing further opportunities for support, including with fundraising and outreach, but also expects active engagement of the Directors in the School’s community.

Matched funding

This is primarily a matched funding scheme. Where other potential matching funds are available or highly likely, this should be made clear and will be considered positively by the committee, although we are also interested in proposals where potential matching funds have not yet been identified. In such cases the School will work with you to identify and secure potential funds, and your active engagement in this fundraising stage is therefore essential.

What we will offer

The Oxford Martin School is looking for exciting and novel research programmes. As a Director of a programme within the Oxford Martin School, you will become an important part of the School’s community. The School will provide funding for at least 20% of your time as a Principal Investigator – we do this because we want this programme to benefit from your full involvement and for the School to benefit from your membership. We are aware that leading academics have a number of ongoing demands and commitments, and so remain flexible and open to discussing this requirement, though it is important that the commitment to the research and to the School is understood.

The process

At this stage, we request that you provide a short (maximum four pages) description of the proposed research and a short CV for each proposed Principal Investigator. The School would be interested in Expressions of Interest for collaborative proposals from two or three potential Principal Investigators from different departments.
In addition, please provide details of possible other funders and your connections with them. All information will be treated in strict confidence.
The proposals will be considered by the Management Committee of the Oxford Martin School.


6pm, 16 November 2015 – Deadline for Expressions of Interest
Requests for full proposals will be issued in December, and a timetable for the review process will be provided to applicants at that stage.

Further details on the Oxford Martin School can be found on our website:

It is envisaged that the first research teams would start work in Michaelmas term 2016.

Please submit Expressions of Interest to Claire Jordan,

If you have queries, please contact Julian Laird,, ext. 87356