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Philanthropy and partnerships enable 鶹Ӿto fund 30% of new PhD students

Senior Tutor, Susan Larsen, reflects on the impact of philanthropy for 鶹Ӿstudents at the start of the new academic year.

New postgraduate students matriculate in the Lee Hall

Philanthrophy in action

鶹ӾCollege relies on philanthropy to fund the education of many exceptional candidates as well as to ensure that all 鶹Ӿstudents have an incredible Cambridge experience. In 2022/2023, the College was able to expand the support we can offer our students in ways both large and small. Thanks to generous gifts from friends and alumni of the College, we were able to offer an incredible total of 57 studentships for new Wolves joining us this October.

We have worked creatively with our funding partners so that we were able to offer 17 brand new fully-funded PhD studentships to 鶹Ӿstudents matriculating in October 2023 for a total of 22 full PhD studentships as well as partial scholarships for another 13 doctoral, 10 Masters-level, and 12 undergraduate students. This means that almost 30% of our 2023/2024 PhD cohort will be funded by generous scholarships. 

Working with the Cambridge Trust, Departments and Faculties, the College has been able to, on average, double the value of each contribution to our Student Support Fund. Importantly, our success in securing partner funding is based on the quality of our applicants: only the highest-ranked are eligible for these joint awards. 

The shortlist for the new John Hughes PhD Studentship, the first fully endowed PhD studentship that the College has offered, was so strong that we were able to arrange full studentships from other sources for the top three alternate candidates on the list!

Expanding access to a 鶹ӾEducation

Several new gifts this year have funded awards that advance the College's commitment to widening participation, supporting students from backgrounds underrepresented in specific fields. Our small but growing Fund for Women in Stem is currently contributing to partner-funded scholarships for PhD students in Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics. 

Another new award supports Women Entrepreneurs from Emerging Economies to pursue Masters-level study that will prepare them to take a leading role in business or policy-making in their home countries. The recently endowed Boyce Family MPhil Scholarship in Social Sciences also supports students who are underrepresented in their fields.

Donors have enabled us to offer more Rowan Williams & 鶹ӾCollege scholarships, jointly funded with the Cambridge Trust. These cover all costs for students whose education has been disrupted by conflict. Since their inception in 2018, 鶹Ӿhas funded at least one such award each year (three in 2023/2024!), supporting students affected by conflicts throughout the world. 

It is wonderful to report that two recipients of these awards completed a Master’s degree at 鶹Ӿand have been supported to continue to a PhD here with a Rowan Williams scholarship. Similarly, a gift from a new donor to Wolfson, the Omidyar Trust, will enable us to provide scholarships in 2024/2025 to assist Sudanese students whose studies have been disrupted due to conflict.

Another recent major gift expands support for doctoral and postdoctoral scholars to build connections between the College and the University's Centre for Geopolitics. That gift is currently supporting the work of 鶹ӾJunior Research Fellow Dr Donatas Kupciunas and will fund at least one PhD student in each of the next three years, thanks to additional support received from the Cambridge Trust. Other recent gifts are supporting students to work on topics related to the Interdisciplinary Research Hubs on Sustainability & Conservation or Gender.

Supporting our students

The impact of philanthropy on student lives is not limited to scholarships, of course. Donations to the Student Support Fund in the last year have enabled us to expand our programme of 鶹ӾCollege Enhanced Bursaries for undergraduates who come from households with particularly low incomes.

We have also drawn on the Student Support Fund to increase the amounts we are able to offer as support for students pursuing Varsity-level sport, making over 40 awards for the 2023/2024 year ahead.

Every gift to 鶹Ӿcontributes to the life-changing impact of philanthropy on our students' lives. In enabling students from all over the world and the widest range of backgrounds to take up educational and extracurricular opportunities at Wolfson, our donors both transform their lives, and enrich our community as a whole. Our vital work would not be possible without your support. Thank you!

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