Nuffield Foundation

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The Nuffield Foundation is a charitable trust established in 1943 by William Morris, Lord Nuffield, the founder of Morris Motors Ltd. It aims to improve social well-being by funding research and innovation projects in education and social policy, and building research capacity in science and social science.

The Foundation's income comes from the interest on its investments and it spends about £10 million on charitable activities each year. It is financially and politically independent and is governed by a board of trustees who meet four times a year.

The Foundation makes grants for research and innovation projects in several areas:

  • Education
  • Law in society
  • Children and families
  • Early years education and childcare
  • Economic advantage and disadvantage
  • Finances of ageing

It also has an Open Door programme for exceptional projects outside these areas.

The Foundation also funds programmes designed to increase research capacity in science and social science. Each year it funds over 1,000 Nuffield Research Placements to give hands on research experience to 16- and 17-year-olds studying STEM subjects.[1]

With the ESRC and HEFCE it funds Q-Step, a £19.5 million programme designed to promote a step-change in quantitative methods training for social science undergraduates in the UK.[2]

Together with the Institute for Fiscal Studies the Nuffield Foundation funded a proposal for a revision of the British tax system.[3] The research project was headed by Nobel laureate Sir James Mirrlees. The Nuffield Foundation is also funding Our World In Data, a free web-publication to share quantitative social science with the general public.[4] This publication is used in teaching in many universities and in media coverage of the long-term perspective on global development.[5]

The Foundation has contributed to healthcare and medical research. It has a separate fund for investing in rheumatic disease research. This was bequeathed by Captain Oliver Bird in 1948. In recent years, this money has been used to fund PhD studentships. It also has a small dedicated fund for strengthening relationships between the UK and other Commonwealth countries.

In 1951, the trust deed was amended to include "the advancement of education" as an objective of the foundation. This led to the Nuffield Science Teaching Project in the 1960s.[6]


  1. ^ "Communicating your research to young people| Wellcome Trust". Retrieved 2015-11-08. 
  2. ^ "2013 - Higher Education Funding Council for England". 2013-10-02. Retrieved 2015-11-08. 
  3. ^ "The Mirrlees Review". Nuffield Foundation. Retrieved 2015-11-08. 
  4. ^ "Max Roser | University of Oxford". Retrieved 2015-11-08. 
  5. ^ "Media Coverage of — Our World in Data". 2015-07-01. Retrieved 2015-11-08. 
  6. ^ Clark, Ronald W. (1972). A Biography of the Nuffield Foundation. London: Longman. pp. 168–73. ISBN 9780582364875. 

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