Gates Cambridge announces Class of 2020

Seventy-seven new scholars - citizens of 30 different countries - have been awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship.

The Gates Cambridge Scholars truly embody the values our University cherishes –  excellence, a global outlook and an aspiration to contribute to society, values that are needed more than ever at this terrible time.

Stephen Toope

Seventy-seven of the most academically outstanding and socially committed postgraduates have been awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge.

The 77 scholars who make up the Class of 2020 are citizens of 30 different countries and this year 17 higher education institutions have produced their first Gates Cambridge Scholar.

Eighty per cent will pursue PhDs and their subjects range from the impact of climate change on coastal birds and rabies control to indigenous rights in New Zealand, the history of uncertainty in polar climate science and the moral basis of identity-based harm.

The international postgraduate scholarship programme was launched in 2000 with a $210 million donation to the University of Cambridge from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which remains the largest single donation in history to a UK university. 

Since the first cohort of Gates Cambridge Scholars in 2001, more than 1,700 scholars have been selected from over 100 countries. 

Stephen Toope, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge and Chair of the Gates Cambridge Trustees, said: “The Gates Cambridge Scholars are an outstanding group of people. They have not only demonstrated exceptional academic abilities in their fields, but have also shown a real commitment to engaging with the world – and to changing it for the better. They truly embody the values our University cherishes –  excellence, a global outlook and an aspiration to contribute to society, values that are needed more than ever at this terrible time.”

Professor Barry Everitt FRS FMedSci ScD, Provost (CEO) of the Gates Cambridge Trust, said: “The Scholars-elect fully meet the aspiration of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s generous and historic gift to the University of Cambridge. This year's selection process has taken place against the background of the COVID-19 pandemic which more than ever shows the vital need to bring together from around the world the most brilliant minds from the most diverse backgrounds to work on global challenges. 

"This year's cohort, like its predecessors, is an impressive group of individuals who have already made their mark in their academic studies and demonstrated strong leadership qualities.We are particularly delighted that we were able to offer awards to a large number of PhD scholars.  We are certain that our 2020 Gates Cambridge cohort will flourish in the vibrant, international community at Cambridge and go on to make a significant impact in their fields and the wider global community."

More details about the Gates Cambridge programme and the full class of 2020 scholars are available here. The official announcement can be found here.

*Picture credit: Scholar-Elect Sayam Chowdhury from Bangladesh by Nazim Uddin Prince