Manchester offer entices laureate

December 2, 2005

A US Nobel laureate has been lured to head Manchester University's new World Poverty Institute with an initial salary and support package worth Pounds 250,000.

Joseph Stiglitz, a former vice-president of the World Bank, was approached by Manchester while professor of economics at Columbia University. He will head Manchester's Brooks World Poverty Institute.

Professor Stiglitz, who won the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economic Science, will be given £250,000 for the initial budget of the institute, including staffing costs, plus an estimated £250,000 for his salary and additional resources.

The appointment of the one-time chairman of US President Bill Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers is a major coup for Manchester, which has pledged to recruit four more Nobel prize-winners by 2015.

The university, which has also allocated £350 million to capital development, hopes to propel itself into the world's top 25 universities.

It also plans to challenge the "golden triangle" of London and Oxbridge in terms of research clout.

The institute's new head intends to create a world-leading centres for research into poverty, uniting academics from a variety of disciplines.

Professor Stiglitz, whose position will be part time, said: "We need to have more centres of thought on global poverty outside the US. Manchester University has had the insight to under-stand this.

"Manchester has asked me to develop a research and teaching programme aimed at looking into poverty and poverty reduction, and I was enticed by this."

Professor Stiglitz said he believed development in the poorer parts of the world was possible but not inevitable.

He said: "The fact that Asia has proved to be so successful provides hope for other parts of the world. However, at the start of the 21st century there are billions of people in the world living in extreme poverty."

Professor Stiglitz said he was also attracted to Manchester because of the quality of its economists, including the late Nobel laureates Sir John Hicks and Sir Arthur Lewis.

Manchester will also appoint three chairs, six research fellowships, six visiting professors, 15 postdoctoral fellows and 45 PhD positions at the institute.

Alan Gilbert, vice-chancellor of Manchester, said: "This is going to be the human century. We have the capacity to destroy or improve the planet.

Universities are going to have to play a major part in that and the Brooks World Poverty Institute will, I hope, be a leading light."

Next week: Andrew Charlton on working with Joseph Stiglitz

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