The James Martin 21st Century School – understanding the future

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I am a huge fan of James Martin. Not the celebrity chef. Nor the inventor of the aircraft ejection seat. Nor any of the other famous James Martins. I am a huge fan of James Martin the futurist and author of one of the best books of all time, “The Meaning of the 21st Century” (see a previous post about the book here).

I recently discovered that a think tank “school” has been created at Oxford university, and named in his honour. It’s the James Martin 21st century school. It seems to be a fantastic institution. You can see an 8 minute video of the Dean of the school, ex-South African, Ian Goldin, speaking recently at TED. Follow the school at Twitter/21school.

The school’s aim is to tackle the toughest challenges of the 21st century, and provide input and resources for the Oxford university community on these issues (see the list below). They aim to formulate new concepts, policies and technologies that will make the future a better place to be. Very nice!


Their website states the following:

It is likely that the 21st century will be an unusually challenging one in the history of mankind. The goal of the School is to develop strategies for responding to the most serious problems, some of which even have the potential to threaten the future of humanity itself. At the same time, we also seek to harness the most promising opportunities facing the world in the new century.

The James Martin 21st Century School, founded in June 2005 at the University of Oxford, is a unique collaborative research effort. As a world class university with leading scholars and practitioners across a very wide range of disciplines, the University aims to be at the forefront of the work to find these solutions.

The focus of the School is on stimulating Oxford’s research, by giving the University’s scholars the resources and space to think imaginatively about the problems and the opportunities that the future will bring.

The institutes at the school include:

  • Ageing
  • Armed Conflict
  • Cancer Therapy
  • Carbon Reduction
  • Energy materials
  • Pandemics (infections)
  • Ethics of biosciences
  • Environment
  • The Mind
  • Future of Humanity
  • Migration
  • Nanoscience
  • Oceans
  • Science and innnovation
  • Stem cells

These are clearly key issues for our future. Watch this school closely if you’re interested in the future!

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