Future of Cities: Innovation and Sustainability Summer Course

Date: 14/08/2017

14–27 August 2017
Christ Church College, University of Oxford
St Aldate’s, Oxford OX1 1DP

Cities all over the world face complex and rapidly evolving challenges, such as climate change, global migration flows, transnational governance demands, financial volatility, and expanding social inequalities. The Oxford Programme for the Future of Cities at the University of Oxford aims towards rethinking the city as a flexible and dynamic space that better responds to evolving circumstances.

The Future of Cities: Innovation and Sustainability Summer Course is jointly provided by the Oxford Programme for the Future of Cities, Oxford Sustain, and Summit Education Enterprise for talented and advanced university students and professionals aspiring to pursue high-level research or management careers with the exposure to the key areas involved in making urban development sustainable, flexible, dynamic, resilient and vibrant in response to evolving challenges and circumstances. These areas include governance and policy; design and planning; technology and innovation; economics, finance and commerce; and social and cultural development.

Aiming to connect top research and best practice, the course engages participants in interactive and participatory lectures and seminars taught by leading experts at the University of Oxford, Imperial College London, Warwick University Business School, and management personal and practitioners in the UK government, business and industrial sectors. It provides a global and comparative perspective on major aspects of contemporary and near future urban development with case studies on mega cities around the world, in order to explore innovative and sustainable practices that balance economic, environmental and social aspects of urban development.

The course also organises visits to London as a mega city through which participants will gain first-hand experience of London’s political, financial, business, and cultural districts, tour the world’s largest exhibition of low carbon design of our urban future, and interact with experts at a world renowned architectural design and urban planning firm. Attendees will also visit state-of-the-art waste water treatment and energy recovery facilities and the Mini Cooper Plant nearby the City of Oxford.

As an integral part of the course, attendees are required to complete a relevant group research project under the guidance of outstanding postgraduate students and experienced researchers at Oxford and leading professionals in sustainable industries. To complete this project, attendees need to do pre-course reading assignments, and apply and integrate what they have learned each day from lectures, seminars, project workshops, and site visits. At the end of the course, each research project group will develop and deliver a power-point presentation, which will be evaluated by supervisors and mentors in comparison with presentations given by other groups. Top-ranking presentations will be granted award certificates by the Oxford Programme for the Future of Cities.

On the final day, all the participants who successfully complete the course will receive a Certificate of Attendance from the Oxford Programme for the Future of Cities, University of Oxford. As a follow-up step, participants who successfully complete the Summer Course may apply for the MSc or DPhil in Sustainable Urban Development or other relevant degree programmes in public administration and policy; business, economics and finance; law; science and technology; social sciences; environmental studies, and humanities subjects at the University of Oxford; Imperial College, London; Warwick University and other UK leading universities. The course also provides a great opportunity for networking and developing collaboration with experts from relevant fields.







Professor Richard Templer, FRSC, Director of Innovation, Grantham Institute, Imperial College London



Professor Ivo Vlaev, Professor of Cognitive Science and Behaviour Economics, Warwick University Business School



Dr Monika Zurek, Senior Researcher at the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford



Application Information
Target Participants
– University students (normally postgraduate students at PhD or Masters level, and 3rd year undergraduate students; exceptionally talented 2nd year undergraduate students may be considered)
– Professionals from related fields
Total Number of Places Available: 45 (world-wide)

1.  Strong interest in sustainable urban development
2.  Preferably intending to pursue postgraduate study in the UK, and having previous work, internship or volunteer experience in areas related to sustainable (urban) development.
3.  Sound academic standing: normally GPA 3.2 (on a 4.0 scale) or 80 (on a 100 scale) at the minimum. (Those with a GPA slightly below the above standard may be considered if they could demonstrate that they have strong experience and qualifications relevant to the theme of the Summer Course.)
4.  Proof of English proficiency
Applicants need to meet one of the following standards:
– IELTS: minimum 6.0 for overall average and each area
– TOEFL: minimum 85 for the overall score (listening section: minimum 20)
– College English Test (CET)-4: minimum 525 (applicable to Chinese university applicants only)
– CET-6: minimum 480 (applicable to Chinese university applicants only)
*  For those applicants who have not taken the above tests by the time of application, their English proficiency needs to be assessed by their home institutions and the Organising Personnel of the Summer Course at Oxford.
*  The English proficiency proof is not required for applicants whose first language is English, those whose first language is not English but have successfully completed a full-time degree-level programme at a university where English is the language of instruction, or those who have extensive experience working in a professional English-speaking environment.
5. Initiative to interact with teachers and students at the University of Oxford
6.  Having teamwork experience and the ability to work on a group project
*   During the admission process the Organisers will consider the overall qualifications of each applicant.

Scholarship (normally for undergraduate and postgraduate students only, on a first-come-first-served basis)
A limited level of scholarship may be available for those students who have highly competitive application packages and interview performance. Scholarship will be granted by deducting an equal amount from the total Course Fee. Scholarship applicants who submit their applications by 24 April 2017 will be given priority.

How to Apply
Please contact the Course Manager Dr Samuel Chen (samuel.chen@wolfson.ox.ac.uk) for more detailed information about the Summer Course and Application Form. Please submit the following by 25 May 2017.
1.  Fill out the Application Form, then email it back to Dr Samuel Chen.
– CV and a digital passport-size photo of the applicant
– Statement of Purpose (please fill out the relevant part of the application form)
– Two recommendation letters (these can be waived for experienced professionals who demonstrate their qualifications and work experience through their   CVs)
1)  One letter covering your academic work
2)  One letter covering your work/internship/volunteer experience, preferably related to sustainable urban development
– Copies of academic records and IELTS, TOEFL, CET-4 or CET-6 scores (CET-4 or CET-6 scores are only applicable to Chinese university applicants), except for those applicants who are exempt from the English proficiency requirements (please see above).

Rest of the Application Procedures:
1.  The Organisers will notify the applicant of the result of his or her application within three days after receipt of his or her application package.
2.  Those who have been accepted will need to do the following within three days after having been admitted to the programme:
(i)   Sign the Course Agreement form sent by the Organisers and email the scanned agreement to the Organisers.
(ii)  Pay the entire course fee through international bank transfer. This includes the non-refundable application fee £660 and the rest of the course fee £2900 for a student and £3300 for a professional. Information about payment methods will be provided with the Official Letter of Acceptance.
Cancellation policy: Participants may cancel their enrolment by giving notice in writing by 1 July 2017. Any fees paid, with exception of the non-refundable application fee £660, will be returned to the participant. Participants who cancel their participation of the Summer Course after 1 July 2017 are liable for the following fees:
– Between 2 July 2017 and 14 July 2017: 50% of the course fee
– After 15 July 2017: 100% of the course fee
Note: The above dates are all inclusive.
3.  Attendees who need visas to enter the UK are responsible for obtaining their UK visas in time for their participation of the course. Normally they need to complete the visa application procedure by 1 June 2017.
4.  Participants coming from overseas should have completed the following by 1 July 2017:
(1) Obtain UK visas (for those who need visas to enter the UK);
(2) Purchase international airplane tickets;
(3) Purchase international travel insurance; and
(4) Email a scanned copy of your passport and visa, as well as your flight information and insurance policy to samuel.chen@wolfson.ox.ac.uk.
5.  The organising personnel of the Summer Course, upon receiving the payment of all costs and related information via email, will issue a confirmation email together with instructions on how to prepare for the trip and the Summer Course prior to participants’ arrival.

Application Deadline: 25 May 2017.