The University of Cambridge has announced a £100 million ($130.5 million) gift from the David and Claudia Harding Foundation.
The largest gift to a university in the United Kingdom by a British philanthropist will support efforts to attract the most talented doctoral and undergraduate students from the UK and around the world. The largest portion of the gift, £79 million ($103 million) will endow the Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars Programme, which will award full scholarships to more than a hundred PhD students in any discipline in residence at any time — with £25 million ($32.7 million) of that earmarked for scholars at St Catharine's College, of which David Harding is an alumnus.
Another £20 million ($26.13 million) will create the Harding Collegiate Cambridge Challenge Fund, which is aimed at encouraging alumni gifts toward financial support for undergraduates. The remaining £1 million ($1.3 million) will support innovative approaches to attracting undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds.
The gift from the Hardings will count toward a £500 million ($654.3 million) fundraising drive announced last fall. The couple's previous gifts to the university have supported the Winton Programme for the Physics of Sustainability at the Cavendish Laboratory, the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication, and research in a wide range of fields, including exoplanets, financial history, and data science.
"Claudia and I are very happy to make this gift to Cambridge to help to attract future generations of the world's outstanding students to research and study there," said Harding, founder of Winton, a global investment management and data science company. "Cambridge and other British centers of learning have down the ages contributed greatly to improvements in the human condition and can continue in future to address humanity's great challenges."