Department launches new Centre for Technology and Global Affairs

The department is pleased to announce the establishment of The Centre for Technology and Global Affairs. The Centre is the first global research initiative focusing on the study of technology in a political science department at any of the world’s major universities. Its members will produce interdisciplinary research and provide analysis on the impact of modern technology on international relations, government, and society. They will apply new knowledge to guide the design of policies to manage this impact.

The Centre’s agenda and scope of expertise will be wide-ranging. Affiliated faculty and researchers will explore developments across a broad spectrum of technological dimensions, including Cyber Issues, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Robotics, Outer Space, and Nuclear Issues. The Centre will house research programmes dedicated to exploring these specific research dimensions. One of these programmes, the Cyber Studies Programme – an interdisciplinary research initiative investigating contemporary cyber challenges that provided the foundation of the new Centre – was established in DPIR in 2014. The Centre will further the department’s efforts to lead the way in understanding the rapidly changing technological forces that are transforming politics and society in the twenty-first century.

The Centre aims to foster a global network of representatives from technology companies, policymakers, entrepreneurs, and private investors and offer them expertise on cutting-edge technologies as well as opportunities to partner with world class researchers. Accordingly, its members will seek to apply research findings to the guidance of public policy and industry activity. The Centre consists of faculty members, senior visiting fellows, researchers, postgraduate students as well as experts from DPIR, other Oxford departments, and other renowned universities. Its members will build on and benefit from established networks of expertise and knowledge across the university community.

The Centre’s vision, mission, and identity were conceived on the backdrop of the disruptive influence of cyberspace on global affairs, financial markets, and domestic politics – in particular, the hacking incidents during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Dr Lucas Kello, Senior Lecturer in International Relations and the Centre Director, said: “We live in intensely technological times. Never before has technology permeated society so completely or affected the affairs of states and their peoples so intricately. It is inconceivable that the study of politics today should not include the new technologies which define our era – such as cyberspace and robotics – as a central aspect of investigation. The Centre’s mission is therefore timely and vital. We will conduct advanced research on some of the most important yet understudied problems facing the contemporary world.”

The impetus and inspiration for the Centre’s establishment was largely due to a generous donation from the Founding Donor Artur Kluz. Mr Kluz is an investor, lawyer, and international affairs advisor. He is the founder and Managing Partner of Kluz Ventures, an investment firm focused on venture capital and breakthrough technologies. Mr Kluz said: “I am delighted to partner with the University of Oxford, which strives to apply first-rate research to the analysis and resolution of the world’s most pressing social problems. Kluz Ventures was founded with the single vision that breakthrough technologies should be applied to the improvement of human lives. I strongly believe that the Centre’s work on selective research dimensions such as Blockchain, AI, and Robotics can improve the prospects for human growth in a way that meets the legitimate needs of all peoples.”

Dr Lucas Kello is Senior Lecturer in International Relations, Director of the Centre for Technology and Global Affairs, Co-Director of the Centre for Doctoral Training in Cyber Security (Dept of Computer Science)