Scholarships Challenge galvanises support for students in first year of campaign


Students on South Kensington campus sit together at a table, writing

More than 1,000 donors have given nearly £14 million towards scholarships to support the next generation of Imperial students.

The Scholarships Challenge Campaign was announced in June 2021 as part of a wider commitment by the College to provide scholarship opportunities for individuals from backgrounds underrepresented at the College. One year on from its launch, 1,098 alumni and friends have donated £13.7 million towards a wide range of scholarships across the College, including those for groups who are underrepresented in our student body.

Michael Murphy, Vice President of Advancement said: “Imperial is committed to improving diversity in our community and ensuring students from all backgrounds and nationalities feel welcome and able to get the most out of their studies. The Scholarships Challenge Campaign represents an important part of that commitment. We are delighted to see that alumni and friends have responded to the campaign with such enthusiasm and generosity.” 

The focus of the Scholarship Challenge Campaign has been on providing new opportunities for overseas students and students from Black and other minority ethnic backgrounds.

Amongst the new scholarship opportunities created through philanthropic support in the last year are: an engineering scholarship for a student with a disability, supported by John and Rita Henke; scholarships for Turkish Master’s students in the Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Natural Sciences, supported by Bülent Eczacibasi; scholarships for widening participation; and scholarships for British Muslim students undertaking Master’s in Imperial College Business School, supported by the Aziz Foundation.

The impact of these scholarships cannot be understated – they are a source of hope, confidence and opportunity for bright young people who might otherwise miss out on an Imperial education. Michael Murphy Vice-President (Advancement)

More than 100 new President’s Scholars have been supported over the last year thanks to donations made to the Student Assistance Fund. The College has also created a new series of donor-backed Sanctuary Scholarships to offer dedicated support to students from displaced communities such as asylum seekers and refugees, the first of which will be awarded later this year.

Michael Murphy thanked donors for their involvement and generosity: “The impact of these scholarships cannot be understated – they are a source of hope, confidence and opportunity for bright young people who might otherwise miss out on an Imperial education. Thank you to everyone in our community who is helping us make a difference for the next generation of students from the UK and across the world.”

Meet the scholars

Shahd Ahmed is a first-year Medicine undergraduate and recipient of the philanthropically funded President’s Scholarship.

“The President’s Scholarship has lifted any financial worry off my shoulders, allowing me to put my all into my studies at Imperial and reach my full potential. Being a woman from a BAME background, it can sometimes feel as though aspiring to work as a doctor is a hopeless dream, but this scholarship is a continuous reminder to me that I am deserving of my academic accomplishments and capable of success. It has been incredibly reassuring to know I have the support of Imperial alumni in my academic endeavours.”

Michelle Wai Man Lo was able to accept her offer to study for a Master’s in Artificial Intelligence and move to the UK thanks to receiving a philanthropically funded scholarship.

“As an international student, I was concerned about the cost of international tuition fees and the cost of moving to London. Without your kindness, I would not have had this incredible opportunity to attend one of the world’s top universities without financial stress. Your generosity has given me the chance to pursue new experiences, and the motivation to expand my academic and career-related horizons. I am truly grateful.”

Future ambitions

Clare Turner, Senior International Relations Officer said: “Each new gift to the scholarships campaign helps us ensure that we are creating a globally diverse and vibrant student body, and we know that we can do so much more together. This first 12 months has demonstrated that our supporters feel the same level of passion and commitment to this cause as we do, and we cannot wait to see what more we can do together.”

Scholarships that extend opportunity and widen access remain a strategic priority for the College and fundraising will continue to further improve the recruitment and retention of students from a diverse range of backgrounds. To make a gift towards scholarships, or to find out more about the Scholarships Challenge Campaign, visit the Giving website.


Joely Langston

Joely Langston

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Scholarships, President, Philanthropy, Students
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