£25m of the £100m donation has been earmarked for St Catharine's college, financier David Harding's alma mater Rosie Bradbury

Cambridge has received a donation of £100m by the David and Claudia Harding Foundation – one of the largest donations in recent history to a UK university.

Cambridge announced this morning that £79m of the donation will go toward funding PhD scholarships, while a further £21m will help fund undergraduate study. The remaining £1m will go towards funding access efforts for applicants from underrepresented backgrounds.

The Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars Program, which is due to start in Michaelmas 2019, will continually provide full funding to over 100 PhD students in residence at any one time.

Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope described the donation as “extraordinarily generous”, stating that it “will be invaluable in sustaining Cambridge’s place among the world’s leading universities and will help to transform our offer to students.”

The largest donation in Cambridge’s recent history was a $210m donation from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000, which established the Gates Cambridge Scholarship.

St. Catharine’s announced that £25m of the gift has been donated directly to the college, David Harding’s alma mater, to help fund its own student support initiatives, including the college’s student support programme, the ‘Our College, Our Future’ programme. Prof Sir Mark Welland, Master of St Catharine’s, said that “the admirable philanthropy of David and Claudia Harding will have a tremendous and permanent impact on St. Catharine’s as well as the University as a whole.”

The David and Claudia Harding Foundation was established to make philanthropic donations to a range of academic and scientific projects. Claudia Harding, the wife of David Harding, is currently the fund’s managing trustee.


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Mr Harding said that “Claudia and I are very happy to make this gift to Cambridge to help to attract future generations of the world’s outstanding students to research and study there. Cambridge and other British centres of learning have down the ages contributed greatly to improvements in the human condition and can continue in future to address humanity’s great challenges.”

David Harding, who graduated in Natural Sciences with first-class honours in 1982 from St Catharine’s College, began his career in commodity trading when he joined Sabre Fund Management in 1985. He went on to establish his own trading firms pioneering in using quantitative stock-market modelling, including the Winton Group in 1997, of which he is now CEO. According to The Sunday Times Rich List, Harding’s personal net worth is valued at around £1bn.

The Hardings had previously donated £20m to the Cavendish Laboratory as part of the Winton Program for the Physics of Sustainability.

The donation will provide a significant boost to the University’s Student Support Initiative, which is set to raise £500m from donors around the world to fund an array of projects aimed at widening participation and providing financial support to undergraduates and postgraduates.

Updated, February 5th: This article was edited to clarify that the largest donation to Cambridge in recent history was from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000.