OXF1 - Global Challenges of the 21st Century – Environmental, Technological and Urban Sustainability
25 June 2018 – 21 July 2018
Hosted by University of Oxford
The 2018 Oxford Global Summer Programme offers a general introduction to a range of scientific and development challenges of the 21st century. The course is designed for undergraduates, and it addresses issues of climate change, conservation and urbanisation.
It is assumed that the majority of students will have had a minimum of two years’ study in the humanities and social sciences. Each student will be expected to work outside their usual area of expertise and be required to adopt methods (scientific/non-scientific) appropriate to the questions posed. However, no prior scientific knowledge is required.
The course will be delivered through tutorials, class meetings, seminars/presentations, project work and discussions as indicated below.
Figures are estimates only. Click on each item for details.
Tuition FeesGBP 1,170
AccommodationGBP 2,915 (includes deposits)
TextbooksEstimate c. GBP 110
Living ExpensesEstimate c. GBP 440
Visa FeeEstimate c. GBP 93
ScholarshipsScholarships/funding for incoming students:
- Ten awards of GBP 1,000 provided by the Santander Bank.
- For students from Peking University, Fung Scholarships are available.
The target audience is undergraduate students with a minimum of two years’ study in the areas of humanities and social sciences.
The prerequisite is a minimum of two years’ study in the areas of humanities, social sciences, and sciences. No prior scientific knowledge is assumed.
Students are expected to have completed preparatory work prior to arrival; please see details of required academic preparation below.
Students should have read the following before arriving in Oxford. (Please note that the edition specified is significant.)
- Hambler, C. and Canney, S.M. (2013) Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, UK.
- R.O. Bierregaard, Jr., C Gascon, T.E. Lovejoy and R. Mesquita. (2001) Lessons from Amazonia: The ecology and conservation of fragmented forests. Yale University Press. USA.
- Richardson K. Steffen, W. and Liverman, D. (2014). Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges and Decisions. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, UK
Students will need to consult these books in Oxford, so may wish to bring them with them. A limited number of copies of each work listed above will be available for borrowing.
Preparation for the “Urban Challenges” plenary class
These are to be viewed and read in advance of the summer school, but the texts are not required in class in Oxford.
- Video: Steve Rayner, “What will be the pros and cons of city life in the future?” available via the Oxford Martin School, at: http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/videos/view/192; and op-ed: Michele Acuto and Susan Parnell “Leave no City Behind” Science 352: 873, available at: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/352/6288/873
- Video: Robert Neuwirth, “The hidden world of shadow cities” TED talk, at: https://www.ted.com/talks/robert_neuwirth_on_our_shadow_cities; and op-ed: Neil Blackshaw, “Whose city is it anyway? The harsh truth about urbanization.” The Guardian 16 April 2014, available at: http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/apr/16/whose-city-is-it-anyway-the-harsh-truth-about-urbanisation
- Video: Michele Acuto “Networking City Leadership” UN-Habitat Global Urban Lectures season 4, at: http://uni.unhabitat.org/michele-acuto-networking-city-leadership/ ; and op-ed: Michele Acuto “Cities Need a Seat at the Top Table” Nature 573: 611 available at: http://www.nature.com/news/give-cities-a-seat-at-the-top-table-1.20668
The course will be delivered through tutorials, class meetings, seminars/presentations, project work and discussions.
TutorialsStudents, normally in groups of four, will attend a total of three tutorial meetings. Students will research and write short essays on subjects addressing technological and environmental issues. These will be assessed and returned with comments by their tutor.
Tutorial 1 - One essay of 1,500 words
Tutorial 2 - One essay of 1,500 words
Tutorial 3 - One essay of 1,500 words
Students’ individual contributions to the tutorial discussion will be assessed by the tutors. The pattern of the tutorials will vary. The topics addressed in the tutorials will be:
Plenary session followed by meeting with one tutor (2 hours)
Each student will meet both tutors for two hours, (overall total = 4 hours)
Topic: Introduction to the science of climate change
Meeting with one tutor (2 hours)
Tutorial contact time: 8 hours
Plenary ClassStudents will take a six-session course on Urban Challenges for the 21st Century. The students will meet as a whole group (c.15 people). They will prepare one essay of c.2,000 words and this will be assessed by the tutor and returned before the end of the School. Students’ contributions to the class discussion will also be assessed.
Class contact time: 12 hours
Student Projects / Role PlayIn groups of four, the students will prepare a presentation for a role play in the final week. (There will be reviews of the near-final drafts in the third week.) Each student will contribute a section of the presentation and the entire project will be followed by questions from both staff and fellow students. The project, its presentation and the Q&A session following will be assessed by the programme directors, as will students’ individual contributions as a member of the audience.
The four groups will choose between the following topics, with the two groups in the same theme arguing their position against the other:
1. Constructing a dam in Amazonian Ecuador
2. Protecting the Amazonian rainforest Ecuador
Project contact time: 8 hours
Seminar PresentationsStudents will attend three one-hour presentations given by experts drawn primarily from the Oxford Martin School. Students will have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the content with the presenter. Each session will last for a total of 90 minutes.
The provisional list of topics is:
Each presentation will be followed by an informal discussion in the evening, led by a convener and usually lasting one hour.
Seminar contact time: 10 hours
Students will be given Summer Readers’ Tickets for the Bodleian Library, the University’s reference library.
Students may also find it helpful to ensure that they have access enabled through VPN and Eduroam (or equivalent) with the library resources of their home institution.
- To acquire a critical and informed understanding of some of the global challenges confronting humanity in the 21st century.
- To appreciate the inter-relation between aspects of scientific, technological and developmental issues of the 21st century.
- To apply the knowledge acquired from the programme.
- To develop critical skills within a more sophisticated understanding of particular aspects of human development and the implications for the future.
- To extend the knowledge of issues and challenges beyond the student’s own area of disciplinary study.
- To research and produce analytical work within tightly specified deadlines, requiring effective research skills and the rapid assimilation and analysis of complex information.
- To work with a group of peers from different parts of the world and to extend the student’s awareness and sensitivity to cultural differences.
- 3 essays, together worth = 40 marks
- Contribution to discussion in tutorials = 10 marks
- 1 essay = 15 marks
- Contribution to discussion in classes = 5 marks
Group Project/Role Play:
- PowerPoint Presentation = 20 marks
- Delivery = 10 marks
Distinction (70% and above)
High Pass (60-69%)
Low Pass (50-59%)
Fail (49% and below)
Credit equivalent at host university & Contact hours
10 ECTS (estimated) credits
The University of Oxford does not award credit. However, for this programme we assess the credit equivalent in ECTS as being c. 10 ECTS.
35.5 total contact hours (classroom)
- Tutorials: 8.0 hours
- Classes: 12.0 hours
- Project, preparation classes: 2.0 hours
- Project, presentation day (min.): 6.0 hours
- Seminars, presentations: 4.5 hours
- Seminars, discussions: 3.0 hours
Total contact hours: 35.5 hours
- No field trip
- Self-study hours (estimate): 150 hours
Lecturer(s) / Tutor(s)
Programme Chairman: Professor Angus Hawkins
Professor Angus Hawkins is Oxford University’s Director of Public and International Programmes, based in the Department for Continuing Education. He is also a member of Oxford’s History faculty, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and Fellow of Keble College, Oxford. His research and publications examine aspects of modern British politics and political culture.
Co-Directors & Tutors: Dr Stephen Barlow & Dr Justin Bishop
Dr Stephen Barlow is a Research Associate in the Department of Zoology (Behavioural Ecology Research Group) and Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford. His current research interests include risk taking and decision making in people, communication in birds; shape recognition and tool use in birds and children; cognitive maps; and, of particular relevance to this summer school: conservation and sensitivities of island populations to change in climate.
Dr Justin Bishop is a Research Associate in Transport Analysis in the Centre for Sustainable Road Freight and the Energy Efficient Cities Initiative at the University of Cambridge Department of Engineering. He is a Visiting Research Associate in the Transport Studies Unit at the University of Oxford. Previously, he was a James Martin Research Fellow in the Oxford Martin School Institute for Carbon and Energy Reduction in Transport at the University of Oxford. His research interests include electric power generation, road transport and the built environment.
Tutor, Urban Challenges for the 21st Century: Professor Michele Acuto
Dr Michele Acuto is Professor of Urban Theory and Director of the City Leadership Lab at University College London (UCL), a joint hub of UCL, the World Bank and UN-Habitat. He is also Fellow of the Oxford Programme for the Future of Cities at the University of Oxford, Senior Fellow of the Chicago Council, and expert advisor on city diplomacy for the World Health Organization (WHO).
The names of the three guest lecturers will be confirmed early in 2018.
Accommodation and meals are provided in Exeter College in central Oxford. The college is one of the University’s oldest and details can be found on its website at http://www.exeter.ox.ac.uk.
- Participants will have a single study-bedroom, with shared bathroom and toilet facilities. The college buildings are mainly four storeys high and access to bedrooms is by stairs only. (Applicants with mobility problems should contact us at an early stage to discuss arrangements.)
- Meals are provided in the college dining Hall. The first meal is lunch on Monday 27 June and the last is breakfast on Saturday 23 July. No lunches are provided at weekends.
- Students must arrive by 12.30 (lunchtime) on Monday 25 June 2018.
- Students will be able to check in from 11.00 (am) on Monday 25 June 2018.
- Check-out date 09.30 on Saturday 21 July 2018.
- Students cannot be accommodated either before or after the programme;
- The final event concludes at 21.30 on Friday 20 July 2018.
Required and/or Recommended Insurance(s)
Students are very strongly recommended to ensure that they have adequate medical insurance to cover dental charges, doctor’s bills and hospital charges. No cover is provided by the Programme or by Oxford University.
Students would also be wise to have insurance that covers the loss of, or damage to, personal items, especially electronic devices.
Course website: www.conted.ox.ac.uk/iaru-gsp