Gates Cambridge Scholarship

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Gates Cambridge Scholarship
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Awarded forpost-graduate study at the University of Cambridge
Sponsored byBill and Melinda Gates Foundation
LocationCambridge, England

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation established the Gates Cambridge Scholarships in 2000 with a $210 million donation to support outstanding graduate students' study at the University of Cambridge.[1] The scholarship is one of the most competitive and prestigious in the world, with around 1.3% of applicants receiving an award in recent years.[2]

The gift is the largest single donation to a British university and the University's most prestigious programme for postgraduate students.[3][4] Each scholarship covers the cost of a postgraduate degree at the University of Cambridge and includes funding for academic and professional development. More than 2,000 students from more than 110 countries have received the scholarship and more than 200 Gates Cambridge Scholars are studying at any time.[5][6]

Eligibility and selection criteria[edit]

Applicants from any country other than the United Kingdom are eligible to apply for the Gates Cambridge Scholarships. Candidates must apply to pursue one of the following full-time residential degrees at the University of Cambridge:

Applicants concurrently apply to a course, college and department and the offer of a Gates Cambridge Scholarship is conditional on the student gaining full placement in each.

The Gates Cambridge Trustees use four criteria to choose Scholars:

  • Academic excellence: Competitiveness is evaluated through academic transcripts, references, experience and the potential to succeed on the chosen course. A departmental nomination is crucial for demonstrating this criterion;
  • Choice of course: The Trust seeks Scholars who will have an academically transformative experience at Cambridge. Candidates must demonstrate intellectual superiority and the necessary skills and expertise to complete the course which they have chosen;
  • A commitment to improving the lives of others: A defining characteristic of Scholars is their deep devotion to improving lives of others as evident by their past, current and future commitment to the societies in which they will live and work;
  • A capacity for leadership: Candidates must show exceptional leadership elements and a pledge to 'take others with them' as future leaders of their fields and communities.[7]
Selwyn College, Cambridge University

Generally, each class of Gates Cambridge Scholars is composed of 23 PhD and 13 one-year Scholars. The Gates Cambridge Trust uses a three-stage selection process to select its Scholars. The application process begins with prospective students applying to study for an eligible degree at the University of Cambridge, either during the U.S. or the global round. Following the initial application, each academic department at the University of Cambridge ranks and nominates eligible applicants for the scholarship. Departmental nominees are the most academically outstanding applicants for postgraduate studies in the department. The list of departmental nominees is then forwarded to the Gates Cambridge Trust, where it is divided into broad subject areas and passed to the Shortlisting Committees. Each Committee reviews the entirety of a departmental nominee and applies the Gates Cambridge selection criteria to shortlist applicants for interview. All shortlisted candidates are interviewed to assess how they meet all Gates Cambridge criteria and Scholars-Elect are selected only after the interview.[8] In 2021, 73 Scholars were selected from a pool of ~5,400 applicants.[9]


The aim of the Gates Cambridge programme is to build a global network of future leaders committed to improving the lives of others. Scholars and alumni are already becoming leaders in their fields and contributing to finding solutions to some of the world's most pressing problems.

Gates Cambridge Scholars organizations[edit]

In 2002, Gates Cambridge Scholars 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 Scholars' Council organizes a number of 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 its strong academic and social community at Cambridge.[citation needed]

In 2005, the Scholars once again self-organized to create the Gates Scholars Alumni Association, which 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.[10] It is an active and growing organization, with members dispersed all over the world.[citation needed]


Criticism of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation[edit]

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation reduced its investments in non-renewable energy in 2016, after recipients of the Gates Cambridge scholarship had urged the Foundation's trustees to divest from fossil fuels a year earlier.[11][12]

The Foundation gave Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi its 2019 Global Goalkeeper Award for the Swachh Bharat Mission[13] and the "progress India has made in providing safe sanitation under his leadership."[14] More than 100 Gates Cambridge Scholars and alumni had condemned the Foundation's decision, following the Indian government's decision to withdraw the special status of the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir.[15][16]

Notable scholars[edit]

Name University Cambridge
Year Nationality Field
Kayla Barron US Naval Academy Peterhouse 2010  USA NASA astronaut
Eric Cervini Harvard University King's 2015  USA historian
Charles B. Chang Boston University Trinity 2005  USA linguist
Molly Crockett UCLA King's 2006  USA neuroscientist
Johanna Hanink University of Michigan Queens' 2006  USA classicist
Juliet Lapidos Yale University Hughes Hall 2005  USA journalist and author
Kate Marvel UC Berkeley Trinity 2003  USA climate scientist and science writer
Kamalini Mukherji Jadavpur University St. John's 2002  India vocalist
Greg Nance University of Chicago Fitzwilliam 2011  USA ultramarathon runner and entrepreneur
Jaya Savige University of Queensland Christ's 2008  Australia poet
Robyn Scott University of Auckland St Catharine's 2004  New Zealand entrepreneur and writer
Jay Silver Georgia Tech Churchill 2002  USA toy inventor
Tara Westover BYU Trinity 2008  USA writer and memoirist
Melanie Wood Duke University Trinity 2003  USA mathematician
Yeo Bee Yin Universiti Teknologi Petronas Corpus Christi 2009  Malaysia politician
Tyler Goodspeed Harvard University Emmanuel 2009  USA economist
Mary Fan University of Arizona St. John's 2007  USA law professor
Bilal Mahmood Stanford University King's 2009  USA behavioral economics researcher, predictive analytics entrepreneur,

and policy analyst in the Obama administration[17][18][19][20]

See also[edit]


  • McCormack, Steve (9 March 2006). "Gates opening for the leaders of tomorrow". The Independent. Archived from the original on 12 August 2007. Retrieved 2 October 2008.
  1. ^ "7 Indians selected for Gates Cambridge Scholarship". Hindustan Times. 12 April 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  2. ^ mandy (19 May 2021). "Closing gender gaps for good". Gates Cambridge.
  3. ^ Garner, Mandy (12 April 2018). "Introducing the Gates Cambridge Class of 2018". University of Cambridge. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  4. ^ "The Programme". Gates Cambridge.
  5. ^ Garner, Mandy (16 August 2018). "The programme". Gates Cambridge. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  6. ^ jim.smith (16 August 2018). "The programme". Gates Cambridge. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  7. ^ jim.smith (16 August 2018). "Apply overview". Gates Cambridge. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  8. ^ Gates Cambridge (19 October 2014). "How we select". Gates Cambridge. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  9. ^ "Gates Cambridge Annual Report" (PDF). Gates Cambridge. 4 May 2022.
  10. ^ Gates Scholars Alumni Association
  11. ^ "An Open Letter from Gates Cambridge Scholars to the Gates Foundation to Divest in Fossil Fuels". HuffPost UK. 7 December 2015. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  12. ^ Doughton, Sandi (16 November 2015). "Gates Foundation cuts fossil fuel investments — but why?". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  13. ^ "PM Modi receives Global Goalkeeper award for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, says people in India behind its success". India Today. Ist. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  14. ^ Foundation, Gates (24 September 2019). "Prime Minister Narendra Modi received the Global Goalkeeper Award at tonight's Goalkeepers Global Goals Awards. This award recognizes the progress India has made in providing safe sanitation under his". @gatesfoundation. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  15. ^ Raj, Suhasini; Gettleman, Jeffrey (15 September 2019). "Abused by Soldiers and Militants, Kashmiris Face Dangers in Daily Life". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  16. ^ Bayliss, Chloe. "Cambridge Gates scholars condemn Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation award to India PM Narendra Modi". Varsity Online. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  17. ^ Mahmood, Bilal (21 August 2020). "The 15 steps to successfully selling a startup". TheNextWeb. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  18. ^ Moench, Mallory (29 September 2021). "Who will replace Assembly Member David Chiu? City attorney pick heats up progressive race". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  19. ^ Moench, Mallory (24 January 2022). "S.F. election: Assembly candidate, political newcomer faces criticism for voting record". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  20. ^ Laura, More by (8 February 2022). "Interview Transcript: Bilal Mahmood". San Francisco Public Press. Retrieved 17 February 2022.

External links[edit]