A research institution established by a US tech billionaire is set to open a new campus in the Oxford area that will work on solving the challenges faced by humanity.

Its faculty includes former prime minister Sir Tony Blair, who said the site “will be an enormous boost to the growth of the UK’s technology sector”.

The campus will also establish a scholarship programme for 20 students each year.

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The Ellison Institute of Technology (EIT) was established eight years ago in Los Angeles by billionaire Larry Ellison – who co-founded software firm Oracle in the 1970s – and Dr David Agus under the name The Ellison Institute of Transformative Medicine.

It initially focused on cancer and global public health and has now broadened its mission to cover four key areas.

These are food security and sustainable agriculture; medical science and healthcare; clean energy and climate change; and government policy and economics.

Its Oxford campus bridges The Oxford Science Park and Littlemore.

Once complete it will comprise almost 323,000 sq ft of research laboratory space, an oncology and wellness patient clinic and education space.

Its location will also support EIT’s current partnerships in Oxford, as well as expanding research collaborations with the university.

EIT is led by a “faculty of fellows”, including Sir Tony, who is chairman of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (TBI).

He will work alongside EIT founding director and chief executive Dr Agus and Professor Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at the University of Oxford.

As part of the move, the Ellison Scholars programme has also been established and will recruit about 20 students each year from 2025.

Sir Tony said EIT “will push the boundaries of invention” and along with the scholar programme “will find and fund the best young minds from the UK and around the world”.

Witney Gazette: Sir Tony BlairSir Tony Blair

He added: “The Oxford facility will be an enormous boost to the growth of the UK’s technology sector and will further the advancement and ambition of using science and technology to improve the lives of citizens globally.

“It will also help inform the work TBI is doing with government leaders around the world and, in particular, I look forward to working with the scholars on how we use the potential of technology to reimagine the state and make government work more effectively.”

Professor Irene Tracey, vice-chancellor of the University of Oxford, said: “Our university has a long-standing tradition of bringing together great minds, fostering innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and harnessing technology to solve global problems – not least in recent years during the Covid pandemic and now with our malaria vaccine.

“The creation of an Ellison Institute of Technology campus in Oxford chimes with that tradition and we welcome their arrival enormously.

“The launch of the ambitious Ellison Scholars programme is also hugely exciting. We look forward to working with the scholars team to support and educate the next generation of thought leaders so they are ready to take on the world’s challenges.”

Witney Gazette: Professor Irene Tracey Professor Irene Tracey (Image: Cyrus Mower)Applications for the Ellison Scholars programme will open in March 2024.

EIT’s Oxford campus is scheduled for completion in 2026.

Sir John said: “This is a remarkable new initiative that will contribute to solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges.

“Locating this in Oxford will provide exceptional opportunities to attract some of the best minds in the world to the project, both as students and faculty.”