Fifteen years of student support and it is time for a further update on their and our achievements to date, and how the Trust plans to progress into the future.
Between academic years 1992/93 and 2007/8 the Trust has made awards totalling just over £360,000. It has supported nearly eighty students through to completion of their studies, and at the moment there are approximately ten more who should conclude at the end of the 2007/08 year.
Our objective has been, and is, to support students of British nationality otherwise unable to complete second or advanced degrees in scientific studies. Achievements to date are:
Masters qualifications – 39
Doctoral qualifications – 26
Medical degrees – 14
Students in the first category have generally received assistance for one-year degree courses. The other categories usually require a three to five year support period and therefore these people need a measurably greater quantum of support from Trust funding.
Additionally, the Trustees continue to be fully aware of changes in student finances consequent on the demands now placed on undergraduates and their families by recent increases in educational costs. Student debt, often substantial, is now almost inevitable at completion of first degrees, making it ever more difficult for people to self-fund further years of additional studies. In light of this situation, the Trust has re-defined its priorities, while giving full consideration to the principal objectives of its founders.
Following consideration over recent years, we can confirm that in the future the Trust will:
(a) Make less frequent awards for Masters qualifications. The criteria for such awards will include whether or not the course provides a significant qualification in its own right in a mainstream scientific discipline.
(b) Be less likely to support five year medical degree courses. Such awards absorb high proportions of available funds, particularly as the final clinical year(s) effectively preclude most students from earning opportunities for much of that time.
(c) Make excellence, rather than mere worthiness, an important criterion for doctoral (e.g. PhD, D.Phil) awards. We will strive to support outstanding candidates.
(d) Seek to provide larger awards for successful candidates, even at the cost of having to reduce the number of awards per annum that are made.
Applying simple averages (one year’s study per Masters, three years per doctorate and five years per medical qualification) the Trust has to date been able to award an average of approximately £1,800 per year of study to its alumni. This figures must be increased if we are to continue to provide meaningful support for the future, hence the approach outlined above.
Of course, we are restricted largely by the distributable income generated by the Trust’s endowment fund. If any of our alumni (or anyone else) has any bright ideas to help the Trust to supplement that income please let us know.