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Forget the TV clichés about Oxford – all punting and pass the port. The 925-year-old university is full of the most amazing people who are helping and benefiting the world, well beyond the quads and spires, says Professor Chas Bountra, the university’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Innovation. After the events of the last two years - and the COVID-19 vaccine [2.5 billion doses delivered and counting] - this most enthusiastic champion of Oxford maintains there can be no doubt, innovation is part and parcel of the historic university’s future. Who knows what is coming next, he says, expectantly.

Professor Chas Bountra at the Old Road Campus, Oxford University © John Cairns

‘Everyone across the university has been inspired by the vaccine team,’ insists Professor Bountra. ‘They have seen what is feasible...[the creation of the vaccine and the work with Astra Zeneca] must be one of the biggest knowledge transfers in history.’

Professor Bountra is fizzing with undisguised enthusiasm, as he discusses everything from a dementia cure [do not count on it], to the COVID-19 vaccine [just fantastic] to the faculty [incredible] and the students [astonishing]. He really does not want to talk about himself – although this is supposed to be an interview about him. The self-effacing professor wants to talk only about Oxford and the future – ‘far more interesting’.

He maintains, ‘I’m so proud of what the vaccine team achieved...people wanted hope, they were desperate for hope and our colleagues gave them hope, and eventually a route out of this wretched pandemic. People looked to scientists to come up with answers, people were scared and some still are scared....and worried.’

This, he suggests is the beginning of a new age, he says, ‘Everyone at Oxford wants to come up with solutions for the world’s biggest problems. They’re inspired.’

Read the full story on the University of Oxford website

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