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Gates Scholarships Go Live

$210 million endowment to provide international scholarships in perpetuity

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Carol Barker
University of Cambridge
Phone: 012.23 332.300

Louise Simpson
University of Cambridge
Phone: 012.23.332.300

CAMBRIDGE, England -- Today one of the largest scholarships programs ever for university education was officially announced by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the University of Cambridge. With $210 million, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has set up a trust that will run in perpetuity and grant gifted graduate students the opportunity to study at Cambridge.

Graduate students from every country in the world outside the UK will be able to apply now for scholarships immediately for entry in 2001; the scholarships will cover all costs, including tuition, maintenance and travel. Gates Cambridge Scholars will be selected on grounds of academic ability and leadership potential. It is expected that at any one time there will be not less than 225 Gates Cambridge Scholars in residence.

Through this initiative the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation hopes to create a network of future leaders who will bring new vision and commitment to improving the life circumstances of citizens in their respective countries. The program will draw talented applicants from around the world, people from a wide array of backgrounds, representing a span of interests. Over time, it is anticipated that Gates Cambridge Scholars will take a lead in addressing global problems related to health, equity, technology, and learning – all areas in which the Foundation is deeply engaged.

Mr. William H Gates, Sr., Co-Chair & CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, put the final touches to the scholarship program in Cambridge this week, when he came to meet the other trustees including the Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge, Sir Alec Broers, and to sign the inaugural agreement for the Gates Cambridge Trust.

"This is a very special day for all the trustees, and I am thrilled to be part of something which will give many future generations of bright, able and deserving young people the chance to experience a world-class education at Cambridge," said Gates. "Yet the scholarship is much more than that – we are hoping that the young people we select will be motivated to use their education to put something back into society for the benefit of a much wider community."

For Cambridge, the benefaction is the largest single sum that the University has ever received. Sir Alec, Chairman of the Gates Cambridge Trust, said, "We have always tried to bring in as wide a range of international students as possible through our independent trusts. However, this amazingly generous benefaction takes things to an entirely new level and will bring 225 more students a year here to study, primarily at graduate level. We are very grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their vision in establishing a program that ensures some of the brightest young people in the world will have the chance to study here."
  • The scholarships are for a tenure of one to three years, with the possible extension of a fourth year.
  • Scholarships will be awarded on the basis of the candidates' intellectual abilities, leadership capacity and commitment to use their knowledge to contribute to the benefit of society throughout the world.
  • Students can apply through: or by telephoning the Gates Cambridge Trust Office at 01223-338467.

The Trustees of the Gates Cambridge Trust are:
  • Sir Alec Broers, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge (Chair)
  • Mr William H Gates, Senior, Co-Chair & CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Mr William Gerberding, former President of the University of Washington
  • Mrs Anne Lonsdale, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and President of New Hall
  • Sir Robert May, incoming President of the Royal Society
  • Baroness O'Neill, Principal of Newnham
  • Viscount Runciman, President-elect, British Academy

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