The Principal’s Visiting Fellowship at Mansfield College, Oxford

ISF Fellow Spotlight: Reuben Ng (Asia 2022)

Principal's Visiting Fellow Dr Reuben Ng and Principal of Mansfield College Helen Mountfield KC

Executive Summary

This year, thanks to the support of Schmidt Futures, Mansfield College was able to collaborate with ISF to provide an ISF Fellow with the opportunity to further a globally important project or piece of research work at the world-leading University of Oxford, within the supportive and multi- disciplinary community of an Oxford college, across a one-year period as the Principal’s Visiting Fellow.

ISF Fellow Dr Reuben Ng was appointed Principal’s Visiting Fellow in 2022, after a competitive application process open to all ISF Fellows. The selection was made collaboratively by ISF and the Principal of Mansfield College Helen Mountfield KC.

Shared Goals

Like ISF, Mansfield’s goal is to seek out non-traditional talent, and then provide the academic input, inspirational education and mentoring, and the benefit of a lifelong community, to support exceptional people to tackle hard strategic problems that will have a global benefit. There are strong correlations between the College’s mission, and that of ISF: to bet early on the next generation of problem solvers with extraordinary potential in geopolitics, innovation, and public leadership.

Shared Outcomes


Dr Reuben Ng produced the following publications during his Principal’s Visiting Fellowship at Mansfield College:

  1. Ng, R., Indran, N., & Suárez, P. (2023). Communicating Risk Perceptions through Batik Art. JAMA – Journal of the American Medical Association.This is one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world. Acceptance rate of papers to this journal is 5%. Impact factor is 120.7, ranking it one of the top 5 journals across all disciplines globally.Impact: As society wrestles with the perennial challenge of relaying information during situations of chaos and disarray—especially apparent amid the COVID-19 pandemic—the union between art and science presents a powerful means for public health risk communication. This paper describes an epitome of the integration of arts and science for public communications.
  2. Ng, R. & Indran, N. (2023).Innovations for an Aging Society through the Lens of Patent Data. The Gerontologist.Impact: This is the first study that evaluates the state of innovations for an aging population. While there are inventions aimed at optimizing the well-being of older adults, there are also those designed due to beliefs that see old age as a problem to solve. As the world experiences a demographic shift, it is imperative that collective ingenuity be harnessed to build a society conducive to all facets of the aging experience.
  3. Ng, R. & Indran, N. (2023). Impact of Old Age on an Occupation’s Image over 210 years: An Age Premium for Doctors, Lawyers and Soldiers. Journal of Applied Gerontology.Impact: As older adults continue to contribute to the labor force, it is critical that perceptions of them reflect these contributions. We explore whether portraying older adults based on their occupational roles instead of their age is linked to more positive sentiments and test the possibility of an age premium. We created the largest historical corpus of American English—a 600-million-word dataset with over 150,000 texts—spanning 210 years (1810–2019). Top descriptors (N = 675,213) of nouns related to age, occupation, and age × occupation over 21 decades were compiled and rated for valence (negative-positive) on a 5-point scale. Collage of batik themes depicting risk-related topics mentioned in popular written media published from 1810.-2009. Credit: Dr Reuben Ng et al. (2023)

Public Talk: “Age Stereotypes, Ageism, and Why It Matters”

On Friday 9 June 2023, Dr Reuben Ng gave a well-attended public lecture as part of Mansfield College’s Public Talks series, established and convened by the Principal with a view to engaging the wider Oxford and indeed international community with topics of global importance. Reuben articulated the impact of his work using big data to analyze attitudes to age, and how we can use behavioral science to counteract ageism and reframe aging.

With support from Schmidt Futures, Mansfield was also able to convene our New York-based alumni at Schmidt Futures’ offices at which Reuben also spoke to these same themes. Schmidt Futures and the International Strategy Forum have enriched our Public Talk series and helped create a forum in which diverse communities can be engaged with global challenges.

About Mansfield College

Mansfield College is one of Oxford’s most open and forward-thinking Colleges. It is a thriving and inclusive academic research hub within the world’s leading University, that places particular emphasis on identifying and nurturing networks of talent from across the globe. Mansfield’s aim is to pioneer a model of education that equips students to connect and communicate with their fellow citizens, to address the urgent challenges facing us, and to make the world a stronger, safer, better place.