Vice-Chancellor announces ?3 billion fundraising target

Vice-Chancellor announces £3 billion fundraising target




£100m matched funding scheme for postgraduate scholarships also announced

The Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University has announced that the new target for the University’s fundraising campaign is three billion pounds – while warning that despite the power of philanthropy, public funding will always have a vital role in higher education.

In his annual Oration to the University today, Professor Andrew Hamilton revealed that the Oxford Thinking fundraising campaign has already comfortably exceeded the original target of £1.25 billion. This was ‘a remarkable milestone, but a milestone nevertheless on a continuing road’. He went on to announce a new target of £3 billion. ‘I am sure we can do it – and frankly we have to do it, because it represents the essential down payment on the future aspirations and achievements of our University,’ he said.

Professor Hamilton also announced a matched funding scheme worth a total of up to £100 million for the support of postgraduate students. He pledged Oxford’s strong commitment to do all it could to close what he called the ‘graduate funding gap’. He added: ‘This exciting new initiative – drawing creatively once more on the power of philanthropy – reflects the seriousness of that intent.’


Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Hamilton.

Professor Hamilton chose to discuss university philanthropy at a time of major change for UK higher education funding. ‘The retreat of the state from providing direct funding for important aspects of higher education is a trend that has caused a great deal of anger, sorrow, and soul-searching,’ he said. ‘Its wisdom is untested, certainly in this country, but its reality is undeniable. With greater weight and reliance being placed upon the individual and the private, it is no surprise that the role and the importance of philanthropy is being drawn into ever sharper focus.’

He explored the transformative power of philanthropy, noting that many of the students starting at Oxford this week are beneficiaries of donors’ generosity. 100 UK undergraduates from low-income families this year have had any financial concerns removed with a Moritz-Heyman scholarship, thanks to a £75m commitment from Michael Moritz and Harriet Heyman. 38 students from 19 countries form the first intake of the new Blavatnik School of Government, founded on a £75m donation from Leonard Blavatnik – and two-thirds have full funding. And 16 postgraduate humanities students are the inaugural Ertegun Scholars, with full funding and the dedicated Ertegun House (opening on 10 October), thanks to a £26m gift from Mica Ertegun.

However, Professor Hamilton also addressed the limits of philanthropy, and the importance of public funding. Philanthropy was not, he warned, ‘a magic bullet for the future funding of our universities, and nor is it a door through which the state can progressively leave the scene.’

Discussing the ‘sheer scale of resources needed to fund major research projects’, he said: ‘Governments can bring to bear resources on a scale that dwarfs every other funding stream, even the most generous philanthropic endowment. And that is true not just here but also in the United States, where universities are often thought to have to fend for themselves in the market. In reality most research income for US universities flows from government. At Harvard it is in the region of 80%. For Oxford it amounts to about 40%.’

I am sure we can do it – and frankly we have to do it, because it represents the essential down payment on the future aspirations and achievements of our University

Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Hamilton

He added: ‘There is immense potential for universities at their best to help transform the prospects of entire societies as well as individual lives … There is, I think, a real danger that the vital connective tissue between these two core beneficiaries of education – the individual and the collective – would be atrophied by a progressive withdrawal of public funding for universities, to the serious detriment of both. As we see the landscape of higher education shifting around us, the need to establish a new agreement between educators and the state becomes more pressing.’


  • The Oxford Graduate Scholarship Matched Fund will aim to raise £100m for new graduate scholarships by July 2017. Each scholarship with be funded 60% from philanthropic donations (up to £60m in total for the fund), with the University committing the remaining 40% (up to a £40m commitment to the fund by the University). 

    All Master’s and doctoral (DPhil) courses are eligible for the funding, including full-time and part-time, and ‘professional’ courses like the BCL, MBA and Master’s in Public Policy. The scholarships will cover the full costs of fees and living expenses for postgraduate students and will be awarded based on academic merit. Applicants for postgraduate courses at Oxford will automatically be considered for scholarships through the Matched Fund and will not need to submit a separate application. The first scholars funded by the fund are expected to arrive in 2013-14.

  • The Moritz-Heyman Scholarship Programme is available to undergraduates from October 2012. The programme is founded on a £75million commitment from alumnus Michael Moritz and his wife Harriet Heyman which, with a ‘matched funding challenge’ to the collegiate University, will generate an unprecedented total of £300million to support UK undergraduates from lower-income backgrounds. The donation is believed to be the biggest philanthropic gift for undergraduate financial support in European history.

    Students holding Oxford offers whose household income is under £16,000 are eligible. Under the programme, Oxford students from the lowest-income families receive financial support totalling £11,000 per year, eliminating all living costs. For 2012-13, 100 students are supported by a Moritz-Heyman Scholarship. The number of scholarships is expected to increase over time.

  • The Mica and Ahmet Ertegun Graduate Scholarship Programme in the Humanities is available to postgraduates from October 2012. The gift from Mica Ertegun, widow of Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, will ultimately amount to more than £26 million. It is the most generous gift for humanities students in the University’s 900-year history. 

    Leading humanities students from throughout the world are eligible for the full scholarships, which are awarded on academic merit. In addition to funding the scholarships in perpetuity, the gift endows in perpetuity the salary of a full-time Director of the Ertegun programme who provides mentorship for the Ertegun Scholars, and a programme of lectures, seminars, concerts and other activities at Ertegun House, a five-storey Georgian building in the heart of Oxford with study space for the scholars. For 2012-13, 16 Ertegun scholarships have been awarded to a group of students representing 8 different countries, across a range of subjects from Theology and Egyptology to English. The programme will eventually be endowed in perpetuity to fund at least 35 graduate Humanities scholars annually.

  • The Blavatnik School of Government, Europe’s first major school of government, has just welcomed its first every class of students, and is founded thanks to a £75m gift from American industrialist and philanthropist Leonard Blavatnik – one of the most generous gifts in the University’s 900-year history.

    The School’s aim is to develop the world’s future leaders in both the private and public sectors. Its students address complex global problems in new and practical ways, drawing on the talents of top teachers, researchers and practitioners from across the world. It offers a full-time one-year Master’s degree for graduates with an outstanding academic record who want to embrace an integrated approach to public policy, covering economics and finance, politics and law, science and medicine, and history. For 2012-13, 38 students are studying for the Master’s in Public Policy, representing a diverse group from 19 countries with backgrounds from journalism to medicine. Two-thirds (24) of the incoming class have full funding, with a further seven students receiving part-funding – ensuring that finance has been no barrier to recruiting the very best students from around the globe to study at the School.