Introducing the university

Full content for this page is coming soon.  In the meantime, feel free to browse some tidbits below. 

You can find a more comprehensive introduction to the University’s environmental research on the Oxford Networks for the Environment (ONE) website.


Wytham: The Laboratory with Leaves

Wytham Woods, an area of over 400 hectares of woodland, with an associated 500 hectares of farmland, for example, was bequeathed to the University in 1942, and is now one of the world’s most famous ecological sites.

The University and agile-ox

To counter the popular shorthand – a seat of learning in a city of dreaming spires – the University is paying direct attention to its local hinterland and forging stronger links between its environmental research and the wider public. Setting up agile-ox is part of this process.

Engaging with the environment

The University is actively engaged in improving its environmental footprint, making efforts to become low carbon and reduce waste in its buildings. Biodiversity is a key consideration in managing its land holdings.

Read more about this work in the Estates Strategy. The University is one of Oxford’s Low Carbon Oxford Pathfinders, with a commitment to reduce its emissions by 40% in line with the city’s target for the year 2020.

A major contributor to environmental research and management


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  • Professor Lord Nicholas Stern, economist and academic, and author of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change published in 2006
  • Sir Jonathon Porritt, environmentalist and writer
  • Molly Scott Cato, politician, academic, activist and the UK’s first Green MEP
  • Pavan Sukhdev, economist and Study Leaders for the ground breaking TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity)
  • Zoologist Professor Lord John Krebs, President of the British Science Association, first Chairman of the British Food Standards Agency (2000-05), current Principal of Jesus College, Oxford and an expert in the field of behavioural ecology of birds
  • Juliet Davenport, founder and chief executive of Good Energy
  • Dr Jeremy Leggett, green-energy entrepreneur, author and activist
  • Kumi Naidoo, International Executive Director of Greenpeace and South African human rights activist
  • Dr Brenda Boardman, hailed by Energy Policy as the primary “researcher, strategic thinker and campaigner” on the world of fuel poverty
  • George Monbiot, environmental and political activist and writer



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The University has made major contributions to our understanding of the environment and our role within it.

Highlights include:

  • 1188 – Gerald of Wales lectured on topography and natural resources in 1188. His account of Ireland’s geography, Topographica Hibernica, was published in 1187 and was the first of its kind
  • 1344 – first daily weather records in the western world, made by William Merle
  • 1677 – publication of the first natural history of an English county – Oxfordshire – written by Oxford-educated Robert Plot
  • 1815 – start of Radcliffe Meteorological Station’s unbroken weather records, the world’s longest weather data set
  • 1942 – Wytham Woods, almost 400 hectares of ancient semi-natural woodland, was bequeathed to the University and became one of the first places studying behavioural ecology. It is now a living research station with decades-long records on birds and mammals. Signs of climate change have been monitored for the past 18 years.


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Many of Oxford University’s departments and institutions are involved in environment-related research.

Oxford Networks for the Environment (ONE) is their interdisciplinary umbrella organisation, and relevant information is brought together through its comprehensive website, and the websites of it’s five sub-networks, covering the University’s Water, Food, Biodiversity, Energy and Climate research.


About Agile-Ox

Agile ox

Due to lack of funding, the agile-ox project is currently on hold. If you have any queries, please contact

agile-ox is a project based at the Environmental Change Institute, working to connect environmental research(ers) from the University of Oxford with others across Oxfordshire, to increase opportunities for collaboration and maximise our contribution to the county’s environmental futures.