The world’s researchers have been working to understand and solve societal challenges such as biodiversity loss and climate change for decades. However, decision makers in government, NGOs and business need to have this information available to them in the format they need and at the moment that they are making critical policy choices.
The Agile Initiative at the Oxford Martin School aims to put this essential knowledge in their hands, and revolutionise how world-class, high-impact research supports policymaking.
It responds to specific social and environmental policy questions with fast-paced solution-focused ‘Sprints’ that deliver demand-led new research precisely when it’s needed. In these Sprints, new interdisciplinary research teams drawn from across Oxford work with partners to feed evidence into the policy cycle in real-time.
The Agile Initiative will share its learnings, develop training in the Sprint approach, and create a critical mass of interdisciplinary, engaged early career researchers who are keen to make a difference. It has ambitions to reshape how academic institutions value interdisciplinary collaborations and outputs beyond publishing papers, thereby catalysing a lasting culture shift for researchers and funders alike.
The Agile Initiative was established in February 2022 with a major £10 million grant from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). It is part of the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford, building on its mission to foster innovative collaborations to solve the world’s most urgent challenges. The Agile Initiative reflects Oxford University’s commitment to net zero carbon and net biodiversity gain and is part of an increasing community of projects and institutes at the University focussed on pressing environmental issues.