Every year more than 10 million children under the age of five die in developing countries, nearly a million from malaria alone. Every day more than 2500 people die of malaria, most of them children. These are the statistics that help drive the tenacious work of Oxford researchers in tropical medicine. The genesis of Oxford’s involvement goes back to a conversation over a bottle of whiskey, between David Weatherall and Peter Williams, the then Director of the Wellcome Trust, in New York in 1977. This led to David Warrell establishing the Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Bangkok and Weatherall, in the words of Peter Williams, became the “Fairy God Mother” of the Oxford researchers who went to work in the tropics. Today Oxford medicine has a presence in India, China, South East Asia, Africa and South America. It is one Oxford University’s major contemporary achievements and it has given the university a global presence.