Global talent to shape our global future: supporting postgraduate students

There are thousands of students out there who could make their mark on the world.

Global talent to shape our global future: supporting postgraduate students

The problems the world faces in education, security, food supply, climate change, health, and energy supply are complex, vast and urgent. There are thousands of students out there who have the potential to make their mark on the world and help us solve these problems. And Cambridge must always be a place where they can do it.

In just the last five years, Cambridge’s postgraduate students have discovered four-stranded DNA in humans, developed a means to stop HIV transmission through breast milk, built the first computer model of blood cell development, improved low cost housing built in South America, and found new methods to make nuclear power safer and more sustainable.

Postgraduate students make groundbreaking discoveries

Today, our 6,500 postgraduate students are the engine room of the University – driving the development of important new ideas and discoveries such as these. Tomorrow, they will be leaders and innovators – tasked not with maintaining the status quo in society, but with challenging it, and finding ways to make the world work better.

  • Students in front of one of our Colleges
    Graduate students in conversation

Entrepreneur Sir James Dyson recently made a major gift to support space to train PhD students in engineering. He explains that “graduate students are incredibly important – their advanced technical ability combined with deep specialist knowledge makes them indispensable.”


Brie Stark

One of these talented problem solvers is Brie Stark, a student at Gonville and Caius. She explains her motivation for pursuing a PhD at Cambridge:

"My uncle suffered a stroke at the age of 60 which hugely affected his ability to talk: this was a key reason why I came here to study speech therapy. I’m looking at ways to help people get that therapy electronically, using an Apple iPad."

"I’m very lucky to have a hospital on my doorstep, and my own, personal, clinical trial has already shown some amazing results - we’re seeing an 80% improvement for some patients."

"This is significant: there are thousands worldwide who don’t get adequate help. In the UK alone, there are 40,000 people who need daily therapy, but most can’t afford it. My scholarship has enabled me to come here and do this. And if I’m right, stroke patients like my uncle, across the planet, will suffer less because of it."


full-time postgraduate students at Cambridge


of full-time postgraduate students from outside the United Kingdom


Colleges that act as homes for our graduate students


academic departments and faculties that train graduate students


of recent Cambridge leavers in employment or full-time study

We want to grow the numbers of PhD students we can admit, to break new ground in the most important fields of research: mental health, energy, food, language and migration, governance and human rights, cancer and dementia.

And as more and more jobs need Masters degrees, 1 in 9 and counting, we need to make sure graduate education is open to all, regardless of financial circumstances. Students now arrive for graduate studies with up to £53,000 in debt, and we have to make sure we can admit on the basis of ability, not ability to pay.

A range of opportunities 

As one of Cambridge’s highest priorities, we have funding opportunities across the University and Colleges that will support graduate students.

  • £800,000 will permanently endow and name one PhD studentship – covering University and College fees and maintenance
  • £150,000 will enable one talented student to pursue a Cambridge PhD

Next steps

Andrew Paterson

Senior Associate Director - Student Support

+44 (0)1223 332288

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Three individual student pictures. From left to right two men and a woman
What matters most to us? That all students with the potential to excel have a chance to study at Cambridge and its Colleges, not just some.

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