Fossil fuel funding and world-leading research at Oxford | Letter

Peter P Edwards, responding to a report about Oxford University’s receipt of money from fossil fuel firms, writes in support of the KACST-Oxford Centre for Petrochemical Research

Re your report (Oxford University receives £11m from fossil fuel firms, report finds, 20 April), the KACST-Oxford Centre for Petrochemical Research (KOPRC), has been located and supported at Oxford to the tune of £3m. In 2018, KOPRC, a joint research centre created by the University of Oxford and the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), was designated as a centre of excellence in petrochemicals by Saudi Arabia – the only such centre outside the Middle East.

This recognition stems from two world-leading advances from KOPRC of pressing global concern: first, the discovery of an earth-abundant catalyst to produce sustainable aviation fuel directly from CO2; and second, a process for producing high-purity hydrogen from plastic waste. Is it climate justice, therefore, that Oxford University should now “stand free from these ties” and disband this centre?
Peter P Edwards
Statutory chair in inorganic chemistry, University of Oxford

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