First cohort of Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars welcomed to the University

First cohort of Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars welcomed to the University

  • 23 Harding Scholars standing in front of St Catherine's College with the VC Stephen Troope and philanthropist David Harding
    Professor Sir Mark Welland, Mr David Harding and Professor Stephen J Toope met with the scholars in St Catharine's College.

The first Harding Scholars were welcomed this week at a special event at St Catharine's College.

The new ideas and energy they will bring – incubated in our unique environment of research, learning and cross-disciplinary collaboration – have the potential to change the world for the better.

Professor Stephen J Toope, Vice-Chancellor of the University

In February, the University announced David and Claudia Harding’s unprecedented £100 million gift to help attract the most talented postgraduate and undergraduate students, from the UK and around the world. David, together with University Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen J Toope and Sir Mark Welland, Master of St Catharine’s College, met 25 students from 14 countries.

The students are studying subjects in 17 University Faculties and Departments, at 14 Colleges. Their PhD research topics include cancer therapy, quantum gravity, street crime, and homelessness.

The Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars Programme — funded by the David and Claudia Harding Foundation — will ultimately fully fund, in perpetuity, more than 100 PhD students in residence across the University at any one time. Scholarships are available to the most talented students for research in any discipline.

St Catharine’s, of which David Harding is an alumnus, received £25 million of the gift to support postgraduate scholars on the Programme at the College.

Undergraduates are also benefitting from the donation. In collaboration between the University and the Colleges, The Harding Collegiate Cambridge Challenge Fund, worth £20 million, aims to encourage further donations from alumni for financial support to undergraduates. A further £1 million is set aside to stimulate innovative approaches to attracting undergraduate students from under-represented groups.

David Harding said: “My education at Cambridge formed the foundation of my career, and indeed, my life. I am delighted that, through the Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars Programme, Claudia and I are able to assist others to join one of the greatest universities in the world. We are extremely pleased that our gift to Cambridge is already enabling more outstanding students from around the globe to research and study here.

“The breadth and depth of talent within the first cohort of Harding Scholars is incredibly impressive, and we look forward very much to following their progress in the years to come. And that isn’t simply because we want each and every one of them to excel, although of course we do. It’s because we know that through their research, innovation and ideas, the Harding Scholars will become leaders in our society, and key contributors in tackling the world’s greatest challenges – something Cambridge has done with outstanding success for more than 800 years.”

This article was first published on the University of Cambridge news website on 25 October 2019.