Oxford Institute of Digital Health Consultation Event – 28 November

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The event will take place between 4pm and 7pm in the nearby St Luke’s Chapel. This is a chance to learn about what’s planned and to raise any questions or concerns with the project team. Along with the Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities, currently under construction, this will be one of the last developments on the ROQ site.

The proposals involve creating a new weathertight envelope around the University’s existing Gibson and Harkness buildings in the northwest corner of the ROQ. In some places this will be completely new; elsewhere it will be an improved version of the existing facade that carefully considers the visual impact on the surrounding area. This will unite the two buildings into a single facility while providing an enclosed atrium between them where staff and students can relax, collaborate and socialise. Careful landscape design will help integrate OIDH with the wider ROQ campus.

The information boards that will be used at the consultation event are available online, for those interested in finding out more about the project.

The University plans to apply for planning consent for the project in March 2024. The issues raised during the consultation will be taken into consideration in producing the final planning application. A decision from Oxford City Council is expected in mid-2024, with construction planned to start later the same year.

OIDH will be occupied by the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, and will provide more than 5,000m2 of fully refurbished internal space including lecture theatres, offices, seminar rooms, informal teaching space and common areas. It will host teaching and research focused on using digital technology to improve healthcare and transform health systems. This offers benefits including better patient access, equality and choice; reduced costs; improved care; and lower waste. 

For example, AI could be used to deliver personalised medical guidance and risk prediction, so that more health problems can be detected at an early stage or avoided entirely. The research taking place in OIDH will shed light on how these benefits can be maximised while managing the ethical, legal, social and medical risks that may arise along the way.

OIDH will be far more energy-efficient than the existing two buildings, while also preserving the carbon embedded in them and avoiding the environmental impact of complete demolition and replacement.

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The project aims to meet the Passivhaus standard with extremely high build quality and airtightness. This will create a very comfortable working environment all year round with exceptionally low energy inputs. This will in turn support delivery of the University’s environmental sustainability strategy, which includes a commitment to reach net zero carbon and a positive overall impact on biodiversity by 2035.

The proposed approach to re-using the existing buildings as far as possible means that there will be much less disruption to those who live, work and study nearby than if they were demolished and rebuilt. The University is committed to listening to the views of neighbours and doing whatever it can to reduce the disruption the project causes.

If you have any comments or questions, contact public.consultation@admin.ox.ac.uk.

You can also provide feedback on the proposals by filling in the consultation's online form - the deadline for responses is Tuesday 12 December 2023