Gates Cambridge and Gates Foundation host joint event

  • March 1, 2013
Gates Cambridge and Gates Foundation host joint event

A joint event was hosted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Gates Cambridge at the Institute of Directors last night.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Gates Cambridge hosted a joint event in London last night to celebrate the role of philanthropy in meeting the challenges of the 21st century.

The event at the Institute of Directors was attended by 70 Gates Cambridge Scholars and Alumni from more than 25 countries as well as guests from the media, politics, not for profit and academic sectors.

Lord Sainsbury, Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, welcomed the guests and said that the relationship between Gates Cambridge Scholars and the University of Cambridge was a “win win situation” and had been “a huge success”.

“The Scholars are a great source of pride to the University and to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,” he said after listing some of the achievements of Scholars and Alumni in recent months.

He praised the generosity and imagination of the foundation for their $210m gift to the University to set up Gates Cambridge in perpetuity. “It was a very imaginative idea which will have a hugely beneficial effect.”

The world needed innovation and imagination and governments were often terrified at funding innovation, he added, because it carried the risk of failure. “That’s what makes transformative gifts such as that from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have such a disproportionate effect

Future leaders

Professor Robert Lethbridge, Provost of the Gates Cambridge Trust, called the Scholarships “one of the jewels in Cambridge’s crown” and said they created a global network of future leaders ready to face the challenges of the modern world. They shared the values and vision of the foundation and Gates Cambridge represented “an investment in brain power” and ideas that could make a big difference in the long term.

The Scholarships’ strengths included the fact that they funded vital postgraduate work, that they cover both fees and maintenance, are means blind and embrace a multi-dimensional view of how the lives of others can be improved which is not just limited to science and technology. Progress in medicine and science was inseparable, he said, from the cultural, social, political and legislative framework.

“I emerge from interviews for Gates Cambridge Scholars awestruck by the exceptionality of those who succeed,” said Professor Lethbridge, “by what they have done so far and their ideas, energy and optimism. Gates Cambridge Scholars will change the parameters of our knowledge and shape the future.”

Geoffrey Lamb, President, Global Policy & Advocacy at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, spoke of the foundation’s focus on complex human and technical problems and its four key values – innovation, rigour, collaboration,  and optimism.

One of the foundation’s main priorities for the future is working with partners to eradicate polio from the last three remaining countries where it still has a grip – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

A Q & A with the audience followed. Professor Lethbridge concluded by saying that Gates Cambridge Scholars had enriched Cambridge with their optimism and new ideas. He did not know of a department in Cambridge which did not want a Gates Cambridge Scholar.

He added that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Gates Cambridge would in the future be “indelibly associated as extremely powerful in all walks of life across the globe and would enhance the University of Cambridge’s reputation”.

Latest News

Provost wins top Royal Society award

Gates Cambridge Provost Professor Barry Everitt has been selected for the Royal Society’s premier award in the biological sciences. Professor Barry Everitt FMedSci FRS has been awarded the Croonian Medal and Lecture 2021 for his research on the application of his findings on brain mechanisms of motivation to important societal issues, such as drug addiction. […]

Addressing energy injustice in the Global South

A new framework which uses artificial intelligence to analyse textual data on energy use and behaviour could help policymakers develop a deeper understanding of energy injustices in the Global South. The study, Grounded reality meets machine learning: A deep-narrative analysis framework for energy policy research, was led by Gates Cambridge Scholar Ramit Debnath [2018] and is published in the journal Energy Research […]

Scholar wins top German prize for PhD thesis

A Gates Cambridge Scholar has won a prestigious international award for her PhD dissertation on the relationship between offshore finance and state power. Dr Andrea Binder was named winner of the Körber Foundation’s German Dissertation Award 2020 for social sciences. The prize, one of the most highly endowed for young researchers from Germany, honours excellent PhD research which […]

Developing a farm for impact model

Shadrack Frimpong has not yet started his PhD, but already his and his team’s work has earned him awards from the Queen, the Clinton Foundation and the Muhammad Ali Foundation. The awards are for their outstanding work in creating a potential new development model for rural crop-growing communities starting from Shadrack’s own village in Ghana. […]