Page last updated at 07:08 GMT, Saturday, 14 November 2009

Academic pledges to give away 1m

Dr Toby Ord
Dr Toby Ord says his donations will improve people's lives

An Oxford University academic has pledged to give £1m of his earnings to charity during the course of his life.

Dr Toby Ord, 30, who researches ethics, believes his donations to charities in developing countries could save 500,000 years of healthy life.

He is launching a society to encourage others to follow his example.

Giving What We Can wants others to pledge at least 10% of their earnings to help tackle poverty in the world. The first to join has been his wife.

Dr Ord will give up 10% of his annual salary, plus any yearly earnings above £20,000 for the rest of his career.

"I was living very happily as a student and worked out what I'd need to continue living like that through my life - or a little bit better, to allow some room for improvement - and then I worked out how much I could do with that amount of money.

"I could save thousands of people's lives, and saving one person's life is often thought to be an amazing kind of thing you can do over your whole career," he said.

Sacrifice 'extras'

He said he had been thinking for a while about how he could make a difference in the world.

He has predicted he should be able to earn about £1.5m over the course of his academic career, and has decided to donate about £1m of it to charities fighting poverty in the developing world.

Dr Ord said said he was happy with his life and did not mind missing out on material wealth in the future.

He said he had a "wonderful wife", and enjoyed books and seeing places and people.

"I've got all of that and I just miss out on these various extras of having a bigger house or something like that. But that doesn't really bother me," he added.

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