Blavatnik School of Government

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Blavatnik School of Government
Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford.JPG
The 2015 Blavatnik School of Government building by Herzog & de Meuron on Walton Street in Oxford.
Type Public
Established 2010 (2010)
Parent institution
University of Oxford
Dean Ngaire Woods
Academic staff
Paul Collier, Monica Toft, Simon Wren-Lewis, Stefan Dercon
Postgraduates 120 (2015)
Location Oxford, England, U.K.
BSG LOGO for word.jpg

The Blavatnik School of Government (BSG) is a global school of public policy founded in 2010 at the University of Oxford in England.[1][2][3] The School was founded following a £75 million donation from Leonard Blavatnik, supported by £26 million from the University of Oxford.[4]


The Blavatnik School of Government admitted its first students in 2012.[5] The School offers a Master of Public Policy (MPP), an intensive one-year graduate degree which seeks to prepare students for a career in public service.[6] The School also offers a DPhil in Public Policy (a three-year full-time research degree).

A range of short courses is also offered for senior professionals and practitioners on specific policy challenges.[7]

Academic staff[edit]

Professor Ngaire Woods is the first Dean of the School.[8] Members of faculty include development economists Sir Paul Collier, who is Professor of Economics and Public Policy,[9][10] and Stefan Dercon, who is Professor of Economic Policy. Other members of faculty include former African Development Bank chief economist Mthuli Ncube, political scientist Bo Rothstein, international relations scholar Monica Toft, economist Simon Wren-Lewis and one of the 'top 30 climate thinkers'[11] Thomas Hale.


Alumni include the youngest mayor in Germany, Marian Schreier,[12] a former minister of youth and sports in Yemen.[13]


The Blavatnik School of Government is located in the University of Oxford's Radcliffe Observatory Quarter on Woodstock Road, however its main entrance is on Walton Street.[14] The building is designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron to promote open discussion, interaction and collaboration.[15] The central forum is inspired by the idea of openness and transparency and connects all the floors together.[16] Construction work started in autumn 2013, after some controversy,[17] and ended in late 2015. The building is controlled by a combination of systems and technology that helps minimise its environmental impact.[18]

The building is taller than Carfax Tower in the centre of Oxford, thus dominating the site[19] and causing opposition to the scheme by local residents in the Jericho district of the city and elsewhere.[17][20] The site is immediately to the south of the café/bar Freud, in the historic 1836 Greek revival St Paul's Church on Walton Street.[21] The scheme was opposed by the cafe's owner, David Freud, due to its size compared to the church building. The site is also opposite the classical Oxford University Press building. In spring 2013, a public meeting was held in St Barnabas Church and the building was described as "a concrete marshmallow".[22] A historic wall on Walton Street would be demolished as part of the plans.[21]

Later in 2015, the building was described as "the latest striking building nearing completion in Oxford".[23]

In July 2016, the building was shortlisted for the Stirling Prize for excellence in architecture.[24]


The Blavatnik School of Government admits graduate students for its Master of Public Policy and DPhil in Public Policy programmes. Applications are made through University of Oxford’s central Graduate Admissions and Funding Office.[25]

Admissions to the Blavatnik School of Government is highly competitive. Latest available admissions statistics listed the Master of Public Policy programme, with an admissions rate of 11.3%, as the most selective taught graduate programme at the University of Oxford, and the third most selective graduate programme overall.[26]


  1. ^ "Blavatnik School of Government launched". UK: University of Oxford. 20 September 2010. Retrieved 20 February 2011. 
  2. ^ Oxford University to open school of government The Telegraph, 20 September 2010; Retrieved 20 February 2011
  3. ^ School of Government launched at Oxford University BBC News, 20 September 2010; Retrieved 20 February 2011
  4. ^ "Oil tycoon's £75m gift for Oxford University school". BBC News (UK: BBC). 17 June 2010. Retrieved 20 February 2011. 
  5. ^ "University of Oxford's Blavatnik School of Government opens". BBC News. UK: BBC. Retrieved 2015-12-22. 
  6. ^ "Master of Public Policy". UK: Blavatnik School of Government. 
  7. ^ "Short courses for senior practitioners". UK: Blavatnik School of Government. 
  8. ^ Blavatnik School of Government announcements University of Oxford, 6 October 2011
  9. ^ "Monica Toft | Blavatnik School of Government". Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  10. ^ "Paul Collier". Blavatnik School of Government. UK: University of Oxford. 
  11. ^ "Climate Changers: 30+ Top Thinkers and Doers". ORIGIN Magazine. 19 November 2015. Retrieved 2015-12-22. 
  12. ^ Pausch, Von Robert. "Marian Schreier: Wahlkampf kann der Junge". ZEIT ONLINE. Retrieved 2016-01-12. 
  13. ^ "Rafat Akhali". Rafat Akhali | World Economic Forum. Retrieved 2016-01-12. 
  14. ^ Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, University of Oxford, 27 May 2010; Retrieved 20 February 2011.
  15. ^ "Blavatnik School of Government new building". Blavatnik School of Government. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  16. ^ "Herzog & de Meuron". Retrieved 2015-12-22. 
  17. ^ a b Whittaker, Freddie (2013). "Controversial Blavatnik School of Government building gets planning consent". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 29 December 2015. 
  18. ^ "Pioneering green technology set for new £75m uni building". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 2015-12-22. 
  19. ^ "Herzog & de Meuron: Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford". Retrieved 29 December 2015. 
  20. ^ Little, Reg (28 February 2013). "University is facing battle over £30 Jericho plan". The Oxford Times. pp. 1, 3. 
  21. ^ a b Little, Reg (7 March 2013). "Shadow over cafe culture". The Oxford Times. p. 29. 
  22. ^ Fantato, Damian (4 April 2013). "'A concrete marshmallow': Damian Fantato reports from a public meeting on controversial proposals for Jericho". The Oxford Times. p. 10. 
  23. ^ "Glass goes in at the Blavatnik". Oxford Mail. 11 July 2015. 
  24. ^ "Damien Hirst gallery and underground house among Riba Stirling Prize nominees". BBC News. 14 July 2016. 
  25. ^ "How to apply". 
  26. ^ "Graduate Statistics 2012–13" (PDF). UK: University of Oxford. 2013. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°45′34″N 1°15′53″W / 51.7594°N 1.2646°W / 51.7594; -1.2646