Gates Scholarship

The Gates Cambridge Scholarships were established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000 with a $210 million endowment to enable outstanding graduate students from outside the United Kingdom to study at the University of Cambridge. The awardees are given funding for postgraduate study at the University for at least one year, but no more than four. The award includes all tuition costs and a maintenance allowance. The first scholars arrived at Cambridge in October 2001, and the Scholarship celebrated its 10th anniversary in July 2010.

The Gates Scholarships are similar in structure to Oxford University's Rhodes Scholarships, although the Gates Scholarships are much younger and are awarded through a more centralized though similarly competitive selection process. Their duration is also more flexible, as the Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships generally only last for two years (sometimes three). Applicants from any country other than the United Kingdom are eligible for the scholarships. In the first 10 years of the program, 985 individuals from 92 different countries have been awarded scholarships. By statute, approximately 40% of scholars can come from the USA.[1] In practice, 43.9% of the first 985 Gates Scholars have come from the USA. Other major sources of scholars have been India (6%), Germany (6%), Australia (4%), Canada (4%), and China (3%).

The Cambridge Gates Trust aims to maintain about 200 Scholars in residence at any time, which leads to slight fluctuations in newly awarded scholarships from year to year. Between 80 and 100 new Gates Scholars are elected each year from a pool of c. 8,000 applicants. The Trustees are required to award scholarships on the basis of a person's intellectual ability, leadership capacity and desire to use their knowledge to contribute to society throughout the world by providing service to their communities and applying their talents and knowledge to improve the lives of others.


In establishing the scholarship, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation hoped to create a network of future leaders from around the world who would bring new vision and commitment to improving the life circumstances of citizens in their respective countries. Over time, it is anticipated that Gates Cambridge Scholars will become leaders in helping to address global problems related to health, equity, technology, and learning - all areas in which the Foundation is deeply engaged.

Gates Scholars organizations

In 2002, the Gates Scholars self-organized and elected a student committee titled "The Gates Scholars' Council". The Council aims to represent the Gates Scholars at Cambridge and to build a scholar community interwoven into the fabric of the University. In cooperation with the Gates Cambridge Trust, the University and various academic and professional organizations, the council organizes a number of successful academic, social and professional events that have distinguished and built the reputation of the Gates Scholars at Cambridge University. The scholarship is particularly known for it strong academic and social community at Cambridge.

In 2005, the scholars once again self-organized to create the Gates Scholars Alumni Association. This association aims to build upon the friendships and contacts that were first made at Cambridge and to bridge the gap between the different generations of scholars. It is an active and growing organization, with members dispersed all over the world.


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