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Oxford University students and Alumni reject Shell Sponsorship

Get the SHELL out of Oxford University

21st May 2013

Today [9th May 2013] sees the celebration of a renewed and enforced partnership of an Oxford University research institute (Earth Science Department) with a private funding body (Royal Dutch Shell). This is just one of many comparable partnerships in the recent history of our University, which are undoubtedly beneficial for the short term pursuit of our University’s main goal – the conduct of high profile research.

So you might wonder why a growing coalition of Oxford students, academics, alumni and NGOs is opposing this partnership- see their letter in the Guardian today.

 

The answer lies in our understanding of the wider role and unique responsibility that Universities play in our society. As places of learning and research we are working to advance knowledge and welfare of society through our pursuit of science. In this framework scientists of Universities are not only seen as top specialists in their field, but their opinion and advice is valued and heard by many institutions, including governments. To ensure the integrity of universities and their scientists in this role of high moral responsibility, our Universities have traditionally been state funded.

Dwindling state funding caused by the global financial crisis is compromising the efficiency of Universities’ research and is driving them to source alternative funding, and much of this is coming from the fossil fuel industry. I can’t help but question what underlying agenda these multi-billion pound corporations have for sponsoring departments, research, studentships and more? If they were primarily concerned with ensuring the on-going excellence of the UK’s University research, why would they not anonymously donate funds to departments? More...

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