CHICAGO, IL / November 8, 2023 – Today, the Rhodes Trust based at the University of Oxford, which administers the preeminent Rhodes Scholarship, and Equitech Futures (EF), a talent incubator and applied research lab working on tech for societal challenges, announced the launch of the Rhodes Forum on Technology & Society. The first forum will take place Saturday, November 11.
This annual hybrid conference will bring together leading thinkers and practitioners working at the intersection of science, technology, and society at Rhodes House in Oxford. The collaboration aims to build global networks of technologists working for the public good, especially from communities who are underrepresented in science and tech. Saturday’s conference will include emerging innovators from EF and the wider Rhodes international networks (including Schmidt Science Fellows and Atlantic Fellows). Keynote speakers include Sophia the Robot (her first visit to a British university), Anna Brailsford (founder, Code First Girls), Deeph Chana (NATO), and Danil Mikhailov (data.org).
“Our purpose is to bring together exceptional people from all over the world who are driving change,” said Dr. Elizabeth Kiss, Warden of Rhodes House and CEO of the Rhodes Trust. “We’re excited to partner with Equitech Futures to foster a global community of scientists and technologists working on urgent societal challenges. This furthers our goal to build a ‘fellowship of fellowships’ anchored at the Rhodes Trust,” Dr. Kiss added.
The collaboration is made possible through generous support from philanthropist and biotech entrepreneur Kevin Xu through the Kevin Xu Initiative, his philanthropic organization.
“The Rhodes Trust, Equitech Futures, and Kevin Xu share a common mission: to support the next generation of global leaders working at the intersection of technology and society,” said Dr. Abhilash Mishra, founder of EF and a senior Rhodes Scholar. “The Rhodes Technology & Society Forum is a significant step in furthering our mission to build networks of innovators that are inclusive so we can tackle real-world problems at scale.”
The Rhodes Forum will also include the newly created annual Kevin Xu Innovation Competition, a contest in which network members will pitch game-changing ideas leveraging science and technology to solve the stickiest challenges facing society. Winners will receive a financial award and mentorship to advance their work.
“Emerging technologies like AI have enormous potential to tackle global challenges but they also pose significant risks. Harnessing these opportunities and managing these risks calls for bold, creative solutions,” said Kevin Xu. “I am thrilled to support a collaborative approach to finding ideas by bringing together young, passionate scientists and technologists from around the world.”
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