Global Challenges Programme

Reuben College has been awarded a $250k grant to pilot a new programme designed to address some of the most pressing global challenges of our day. The Global Challenges Programme will take an interdisciplinary and impact-driven approach, bringing researchers, innovators, technologists, and policymakers together to workshop solutions to a range of issues. In its pilot phase (2024-2026), the Global Challenges Programme will focus on the impact of advanced AI systems on human development.


Understanding the challenge: What impact will AI have on human development?

Advanced AI systems, sometimes known as foundation models, have shown extraordinary capabilities, enabling new ways of learning and working in multiple domains. Generative AI models can synthesize vast amounts of input data and generate useful and compelling output in text, image, and other formats.   

Human development is associated with a series of cognitive, emotional, social, and moral transitions influenced by our culture and environment. In childhood, cognition centres on the acquisition of language and the rudiments of abstract reasoning, while emotional skills such as self-regulation and empathy take root. Adolescence begins with an exploration of identity, social concerns, refinement of moral reasoning, and critical thinking. Our development continues far into adulthood, as higher-order characteristics like wisdom, perspective-taking and forgiveness increase along the lifespan.  

Within ​high-income countries we may live​​ ​in an environment which is “AI rich” but this does not necessarily mean that our lives will be enriched. Advanced AI systems can be used as a means of reinforcing beneficial and critical aspects of human development, but only if we actively seek to promote such an agenda.​ Within a low- and middle-income country context, early childhood and adolescent needs may be quite different, but the impact of advanced AI systems may be no less important.​  


Contacting the Global Challenges team:

The Global Challenges Programme is led by Dr. Andrew Serazin and Coordinated by Katie Glover.

If you would like to find out more about the programme, please email