IT’S not the first thing most people think about when their pay packet lands on the desk.

But one Oxford man has pledged to give away up to half his income for the rest of his life – and wants others to join him.

Dr Toby Ord, a researcher at Oxford University, will today hand over £10,000 to the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative –which carries out research into tropical diseases – to add to the £1,500 he gave to the Stop TB Partnership earlier this year.

He plans to give away everything he earns above £20,000 – which would amount to about £13,000 this year – and estimated that over his lifetime, he would be able to hand over £1m to good causes.

Dr Ord said: “I started thinking seriously about what I should be doing with my life and what I could do to help people less fortunate than myself.

“I sat down and tried to work out what the most I could do was and I quickly realised that I would earn much more than I thought throughout my career – and that it was money which I could do a tremendous amount with.”

The 30-year-old, who lives in Mansfield Road, has so far signed up 22 people who have pledged to give at least 10 per cent of their income to charity each year – including his wife, Dr Bernadette Young, who works at the John Radcliffe Hospital, and has promised to give her earnings over £25,000.

Each year, Dr Ord will reassess exactly how much he will give, depending to inflation, but said it would always be a minimum of 10 per cent of his earnings – although if he had children or dependants he would not make sacrifices on their behalf.

He said: “I know we’re in a recession and this is against the trend but I don’t think it’s all that difficult. I’m not claiming to be any kind of hero, I think it’s the least I can do.

“If you’re a single person earning £25,000, that would put you in the top one per cent in the world’s population and even £12,000 is in the top five per cent.”

He has set up an website, Giving What We Can, where people can pledge to use part of their income to help the developing world. It provides information on charities which he believes make donations go the furthest.

He said: “I’m making this pledge with the full intent and expectation of keeping it.

“People tend to get more cynical as they get older, so I want to tie my hands by making this commitment and making it in such a public way to stop me from spending more on myself.

“I don’t think I’m making all that much of a sacrifice .The things I like best are very cheap or free, such as a beautiful book or spending time with my wife.” For more details of the scheme, see