Blavatnik School of Government
The 2015 Blavatnik School of Government building by Herzog & de Meuron on Walton Street in Oxford.
Established2010 (2010)
Parent institution
University of Oxford
Officer in charge
Calum Miller
DeanNgaire Woods
Academic staff
Paul Collier, Stefan Dercon, Karthik Ramanna, Jonathan Wolff
Postgraduates120 (2015)
25 (2019)

The Blavatnik School of Government is a 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 a business magnate Len Blavatnik, supported by £26 million from the University of Oxford.[4] It is part of Oxford's Social Sciences Division, which aims to train current and future leaders in the practice of government.

Alongside the Harvard Kennedy School, the School is widely considered one of the most prestigious schools for public policy in the world.


The Blavatnik School of Government admitted its first students in 2012.[5] The School's flagship program is the 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). Applications are made through University of Oxford's central Graduate Admissions and Funding Office.[7]

A range of short courses is also offered for senior professionals and practitioners on specific policy challenges.[8]

Academic staff

Professor Ngaire Woods is the first Dean of the School.[9] Members of faculty include:

In August 2017 Bo Rothstein resigned his position as Professor of Government and Public Policy in protest at Leonard Blavatnik's support for Donald Trump's Inaugural Committee.[13] Rothstein subsequently criticised the School, stating that he had been "excommunicated" and banned from accessing the building; the School and the University of Oxford denied these claims.[14]


Alumni include the youngest mayor in Germany, Marian Schreier;[15] British politician Keir Mather MP; Rafat Al-Akhali, a former minister of youth and sports in Yemen;[16] Shamma Al Mazrui, the youngest Minister of Youth Affairs in the United Arab Emirates [17] and two members of parliament in Panama, Gabriel Silva and Edison Broce.[18]


The Blavatnik School of Government is located in the University of Oxford's Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, with its main entrance on Walton Street.[19] The building is designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron to promote open discussion, interaction and collaboration.[20] The central forum is inspired by the idea of openness and transparency and connects all the floors together.[21] Construction work started in autumn 2013, after some controversy,[22] and ended in late 2015. The building is controlled by a combination of systems and technology that helps minimise its environmental impact.[23]

The building is taller than Carfax Tower in the centre of Oxford, thus dominating the site[24] and causing opposition to the scheme by local residents in the Jericho district of the city and elsewhere.[22][25] 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.[26] 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".[27] A historic wall on Walton Street would be demolished as part of the plans.[26]

Later in 2015, the building was described as "the latest striking building nearing completion in Oxford".[28]

In June 2016, the building received a RIBA National Award.[29] The building was shortlisted for the Stirling Prize for excellence in architecture (July 2016)[30] and was awarded the Oxford Preservation Trust plaque in the 'new buildings' category (November 2016).[31]


  1. ^ "Blavatnik School of Government launched". UK: University of Oxford. 20 September 2010. Archived from the original on 30 December 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. 19 September 2012. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  6. ^ "Master of Public Policy". UK: Blavatnik School of Government.
  7. ^ "How to apply". Archived from the original on 19 February 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  8. ^ "Short courses for senior practitioners". UK: Blavatnik School of Government. Archived from the original on 11 September 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  9. ^ Blavatnik School of Government announcements Archived 2011-10-07 at the Wayback Machine University of Oxford, 6 October 2011
  10. ^ "Paul Collier". Blavatnik School of Government. UK: University of Oxford.
  11. ^ "Professor Karthik Ramanna joins the School".
  12. ^ "Professor Jonathan Wolff joins BSG | Blavatnik School of Government". Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  13. ^ Weaver, Matthew; Bengtsson, Helena (29 August 2017). "Oxford University professor quits Blavatnik school in Donald Trump protest". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  14. ^ Weaver, Matthew (31 October 2017). "Oxford academic claims Trump protest led to 'excommunication'". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  15. ^ Pausch, Von Robert. "Marian Schreier: Wahlkampf kann der Junge". ZEIT ONLINE. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  16. ^ "Rafat Akhali". Rafat Akhali | World Economic Forum. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  17. ^ "Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid announces new UAE Cabinet | The National". Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  18. ^ "Alumni elected to Panamanian National Assembly".
  19. ^ Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, University of Oxford, 27 May 2010; Retrieved 20 February 2011.
  20. ^ "Blavatnik School of Government new building". Blavatnik School of Government. Archived from the original on 28 March 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  21. ^ "Herzog & de Meuron". Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  22. ^ a b Whittaker, Freddie (2013). "Controversial Blavatnik School of Government building gets planning consent". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  23. ^ "Pioneering green technology set for new £75m uni building". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  24. ^ "Herzog & de Meuron: Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford". 13 May 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  25. ^ Little, Reg (28 February 2013). "University is facing battle over £30 Jericho plan". The Oxford Times. pp. 1, 3.
  26. ^ a b Little, Reg (7 March 2013). "Shadow over cafe culture". The Oxford Times. p. 29.
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ "Glass goes in at the Blavatnik". Oxford Mail. 11 July 2015.
  29. ^ "RIBA National Award Winners 2016". Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  30. ^ "Damien Hirst gallery and underground house among Riba Stirling Prize nominees". BBC News. 14 July 2016.
  31. ^ "Oxford Preservation Trust | Oxford's own national trust". Retrieved 8 February 2017.

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