New US Scholars selected for Gates Cambridge Scholarship

35 of the world’s most brilliant future leaders chosen for Gates Cambridge Scholarship

The 35 US Scholars-elect are a highly accomplished and diverse group who have already achieved much in terms of their academic studies, leadership abilities and commitment to improving the lives of others.

Professor Barry Everitt

Thirty-five of the most academically brilliant and socially committed young people in the US have been selected for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship at the University of Cambridge.

The US Scholars, who will take up their awards this autumn, are from 30 institutions. Five of them have never before had a successful Gates Cambridge Scholarship applicant, revealing a high level of access for outstanding candidates from any college or university.

They include a Scholar who was the world’s top golfer at age 14, another who organised a televised national conference on women’s health with the Vice-President of The Gambia and a Scholar who plans to set up a series of pro-bono architecture schools for children in the UK.

The Scholars will be members of 28 academic departments in Cambridge and will study and research subjects ranging from the health implications of a sugar tax and the role of schools in preventing childhood obesity to antibiotic resistance, new treatments for cystic fibrosis and bat-borne viruses such as Ebola. Scholarships were awarded to 15 women and 20 men.

The prestigious postgraduate scholarship programme was established through a US$210 million donation to the University of Cambridge from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000, which remains the largest single donation to a UK university. Since the first class of Scholars in 2001 more than 1,500 Gates Cambridge Scholarships have been awarded to Scholars, with a gender balance of approximately 50% men and women, from 103 countries and 600 universities (more than 200 in the USA) who have studied in 80 academic departments and all 31 Cambridge Colleges.

Competition for places is fierce - with more than 4,500 applications for 90 scholarships each year - and the programme is unique in placing emphasis on both outstanding academic ability and social leadership in its admissions process.

The successful 35 US candidates, 22 of whom will study for one-year master's degree courses and 13 of whom will pursue PhD degrees, were selected from an initial field of 826 applicants. Some 186 were nominated by their department and 86 were shortlisted in Cambridge for interviews by academics from the UK and USA at the Gates Foundation HQ in Seattle at the end of January.

Professor Barry Everitt FRS, Provost of the Gates Cambridge Trust, said: “We have again interviewed more than 80 outstanding candidates in the US selection round. The 35 US Scholars-elect are a highly accomplished and diverse group who have already achieved much in terms of their academic studies, leadership abilities and commitment to improving the lives of others. We are sure they will flourish at Cambridge and as Gates Cambridge Scholars - and have substantial impact across many areas in the future. We were especially pleased to see such high quality applications for the PhD degree.

“The Trust is extremely grateful to the Gates Foundation for hosting the interviews. Not only were the facilities and support exceptional, but the candidates were clearly excited to see the Foundation’s campus – which also helped to ensure that they understood that it was the Foundation’s generous and historic gift to the University of Cambridge which allowed them to compete for these prestigious awards.”

The US Scholars will join about 55 Scholars from other parts of the world, who will be announced in early April after interviews in late March. At any one time the Gates Cambridge Trust aims to support 225 Scholars at the world-leading University of Cambridge.

*Bios and photos of the new US Scholars are available from the New Scholars page.