Cambridge fundraising campaign passes £1 billion milestone

Cambridge fundraising campaign passes £1 billion milestone

  • Students at a graduation ceremony
    Students at a graduation ceremony

The campaign for the University and Colleges has reached the £1 billion mark, enabling Cambridge to respond to the new and complex challenges facing the world.

The Dear World… Yours, Cambridge campaign was publicly launched in 2015 to raise £2 billion. Thanks to the generosity of alumni and supporters, a total of £1.08bn has been raised to date to attract the brightest minds regardless of background or means, create the resources and environment for world-class research and ensure that Cambridge remains uniquely placed to address society’s most pressing challenges, in the UK and the rest of the world.

To date more than 47,000 donors have contributed to the campaign, at all giving levels and from across the world. Across the Colleges and University gifts from alumni, friends and partner organisations are funding new scholarships, high impact research and academic posts, and new and improved facilities and buildings.

Philanthropy supporting ground-breaking research

Philanthropic support is enabling Cambridge to deliver answers to some of the most critical issues of our time. Ground-breaking research is being funded to explore core needs including different forms of energy, new approaches to addressing biodiversity loss, preventing the diseases associated with ageing and propelling fresh economic thinking. New academic posts are driving innovation, developing the skills of engineers to address economic and social needs in the UK and globally, and giving a deeper understanding of Africa’s past. Across diverse fields, visionary gifts are ensuring that Cambridge’s impact on the world is huge.

Dr Mohamed El-Erian (Queens’ 1977), co-chair of the campaign, said: “We are extremely grateful to all those who have contributed so generously to this campaign. As an alumnus of Cambridge I am privileged and honoured to be part of the work that is having such a profound impact.”

Philanthropy supporting world-leading facilities

The University surpassed the £1 billion milestone thanks to an £85 million donation from the estate of Ray Dolby, founder of Dolby Laboratories, to support the Cavendish Laboratory, a world-leading centre for physics research where Dolby received his PhD in 1961. The gift, which was announced in San Francisco on 5 December, represents the largest philanthropic gift ever made to UK science. It will complete the development of the new Cavendish Laboratory as a new home for physics research in Cambridge, and a top-class facility for the nation.

Cambridge’s laboratories, lecture theatres and libraries are being funded to ensure the best environment for world-class teaching and research; and across the University’s 31 Colleges, the generosity of hundreds of alumni and supporters is providing new student accommodation and facilities.

Philanthropy supporting students and postdocs

Studentships and bursaries are supporting the most financially disadvantaged undergraduate students to meet the cost of their studies, ensuring that the brightest students, from all backgrounds and circumstances, can benefit from a Cambridge education. Sir Harvey McGrath (St Catharine’s 1971), co-chair of the campaign, said: “As a result of the support shown by so many alumni, we are able to attract, inspire and support the brightest in the world, irrespective of their background or financial capacity. We must continue to do so, and I am delighted to be working as co-chair to ensure that students who would not otherwise be able to come to Cambridge have the financial support they need, now and in years to come.”

Since the campaign was launched in 2015, 81 postdoctoral fellowships and 134 postgraduate studentships have been funded through philanthropy. These scholars will drive cutting-edge and vital research in fields from politics to engineering and chemistry to sociology.

An environment where ideas come to life

Speaking about the announcement Professor Michael Proctor, Provost of King’s College and Chair of the Colleges’ Committee, said: “Collegiate Cambridge is an exceptional environment in which to be a student and an academic. It is a hugely supportive community that places a high value on collaboration, innovation and freedom of thought, driven by a strong desire to have a positive impact on the wider world. It is these strengths that have been recognised by the generosity of our supporters.”

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope, said of the campaign: “This outstanding achievement reflects the extraordinary commitment and support of so many alumni and donors to the Collegiate University, and I am honoured to be assuming the mantle of this campaign at such an important time for Cambridge. Cambridge has had a huge impact on the world for more than 800 years, and our role in society at a time of increasing global complexity and anxiety is more important than ever.

"There is still much to do; but with generosity such as this from our alumni, friends and partners, I am confident that the University of Cambridge will remain an unstoppable force for knowledge, inclusivity, greater understanding and the betterment of our shared world."

Read more about how the campaign is enabling Cambridge to make an impact >