In 2015, I was awarded a prestigious Visiting Fellowship at the University of Oxford- Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ). The next question was how do I fund such an initiative? Having looked at the various Fusion Investment Fund strands, the Santander Scheme appeared to be the most appropriate since it provides BU staff with travel and subsistence funds to support individual staff mobility and networking in the development of research, education and or professional practice.
During the fellowship period I conducted British Academy/Leverhulme funded research into the successful digital transformations of media firms. This work integrated three primary areas: business models, organisational strategy and dynamic capabilities in a longitudinal analysis (1995-2015).
Being able to conduct this research at one of the world’s greatest institutions has been an incredible experience. Whilst I have undertaken small project work with the RISJ over the past few years, there was a world of difference in living and working at the University. Academic work at the University of Oxford is a ‘lifestyle’ and one based on the pursuit of academic excellence. The work doesn’t stop at 5pm as there are numerous talks and lectures by distinguished people every night of the week!
The RISJ is a part of Green Templeton College which is a postgraduate college whose provision centres on health and management disciplines. At first, one might think that this is a strange combination, but their researchers were able to help with me some innovative work that I’m currently doing with the Boston Consulting Group in New York.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of my stay was the university’s focus on conducting research that aims to produce both conceptual and instrumental impact (vanity based research is clearly not on their radar). There is also a real ‘simplicity’ about the University of Oxford. You can see it everywhere, from the clean toilets, the pristine gardens, the student dress codes and the quality of their research. That ‘simplicity’ can be summed by saying that “everything they do has to be excellent!”
Dr John Oliver
Associate Professor of Media Management
Faculty of Media & Communication