The exterior of the Radcliffe Science Library, with a woman walking in front of it


A landmark gift from the Reuben Foundation secures a bright future for Oxford’s newest college

Published: 6 July 2020


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Oxford’s 39th college was established on 7th May 2019 as a graduate society at the University, similar to Kellogg College and St Cross College. It is the first new college to be founded in thirty years and will welcome its first students in October 2021.

The exterior of the Radcliffe Science Library, seen from the opposite side of South Parks Road

The college takes on the site of the existing Radcliffe Science Library

Subject to Congregation approval, Reuben College is the name of the new college following a landmark £80 million gift from the Reuben Foundation in June.

Situated in the heart of the University Science Area, the college will share its building with the historic Radcliffe Science Library and a new Museums Collections Teaching and Research Centre.

The building is currently undergoing an extensive programme of refurbishment, which will create exceptional new spaces and facilities for teaching, study, research, public engagement and social interactions.

Reuben College will be a vibrant research and social community that draws together researchers from different disciplines to explore some of the big questions of our time.

Drawing on expertise from all four Divisions of the University, the college will address three central areas of knowledge in the 21st century:

  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning – addressing problems of global significance from billions of data streams, people and sensors; which will involve not only computer scientists, engineers, mathematicians and statisticians, working on fundamental principles or applications of AI, but also neuroscientists and biologists interested in characterising human intelligence, philosophers working in philosophy of mind and social scientists exploring ethical issues.
  • Environmental Change – addressing the drivers, impacts of, and responses to, environmental change. This theme covers research ranging from the institutional, social and behavioural drivers of biodiversity loss and climate change; earth system changes (physical, biological and social); and responses to these changes (including human relationships with their environment).
  • Cellular Life – involving research that seeks to understand the underlying mechanisms of living organisms, with an emphasis on the cell; and including approaches that look at processes, causes, cures, and impacts from social, economic, historical, or biological perspectives.

Much 21st-century research is interdisciplinary, and some of the most exciting research takes place at the boundary between two or more disciplines. This new college will provide the space, facilities and resources to actively promote interaction and exchange both among Oxford researchers and with the wider public, including industry, government and other organisations.

Professor Lionel Tarassenko is the founding President of Reuben College, and the first 29 Official Fellows have been recruited. Preparations are now underway to open for admissions in September 2020, and welcome the first cohort of graduate students arriving in autumn 2021.