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Generous Oxbridge Scholarships: Who are they?


The Oxford vs.Cambridge debate has been long and ongoing, but one attribute they share is generous scholarships. Suppose you are lucky enough to be awarded a scholarship from the University of Oxford or the University of Cambridge. In that case, you have secured a one-way ticket to one of the most prestigious universities in the United Kingdom. But have you ever looked at the titles of these scholarships? External scholarships are often endowments received from actual people, not government organizations. We at Cybernews Academy wanted to know who’s funding these generous Oxbridge scholarships. During our research, names like Simon and June Li, AJ Tracey, and Stormzy appeared on our screens, and we were instantly intrigued. So, we constructed a list of the most exciting donations and endowed scholarships to discover where these people came from.

The following five featured scholarships:

  • The Simon and June Li Undergraduate Scholarship (Oxford)
  • AJ Tracey Fund (Oxford)
  • Dr Ateh Jewl Foundation Awards (Oxford)
  • Carlos and Gabriela Rodriguez-Pastor Scholarship (Cambridge)
  • #Merky Foundation/The Stormzy Scholarship (Cambridge)

Oxford scholarships

The University of Oxford offers many scholarships to underrepresented students or those facing financial difficulties. These are a combination of government grants and external endowments. We at Cybernews Academy have researched a few notable donators whose charity isn’t going unnoticed.

The Simon and June Li Undergraduate Scholarship

This scholarship has been established by Simon and June Li, who have provided funding for undergraduate students who display outstanding academic performances. However, these students may have been prevented or deterred from their academic studies due to financial difficulties. This scholarship is available to undergraduate students who wish to take a three- to four-year Mathematics, Physical, and Life Sciences course. The Simon and June Li Undergraduate Scholarship cover course fees and a grant for living costs for three to four years of study. This excellent endowment has allowed international students to study at the University of Oxford. Alongside these scholarships, the couple endowed a vital teaching post in Chinese art history while also providing a donation of £1.5 million for the creation of two graduate scholarships in the same subject. Not only has Oxford been fortunate enough to receive such funding, but the Centre for Global Journalism was also established through a $5 million gift from its founders, Simon, and June Li. This couple also supports scholarships at universities like Columbia Journalism School.

Who are they?

Simon Li studied and graduated from Lincon College, the University of Oxford, with a degree in English Literature in 1966– he then went on to study Journalism and graduated in 1970. Simon Li has had a long, illustrious 36-year career in journalism as a newspaper editor. Mr. Li moved on to become an editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer. From there, he spent 23 years at the Los Angeles Times as an assistant business editor, foreign editor, and assistant managing editor. Mr. Li was a long-term member of Columbia’s Board of Visitors, where he was awarded the Columbia University Alumni Medal in 2010. In 2012, he was awarded the Columbia Journalism School’s Alumni Award. In 2022, the Asian-American Journalists Association awarded Simon Li the Lifetime Achievement Award.

June Li is the curator emerita and founding curator of Liu Fang Yuan' The Garden of Flowing Fragrance' at the Huntingdon Library Art Museum and Botanical Gardens. In 2004, June Li joined the Chinese Garden to build on this garden's cultural heritage and historical context.

AJ Tracey fund

The AJ Tracey fund aims to dismantle the “historic underrepresentation” of Black students at Oxford University by affording these academics a space to thrive. Tracey will donate £40,000 a year for the first three years until the fund is reviewed. This scholarship should help Black students find their place at the University of Oxford. On the 18th of October 2022, St Peter’s College, Oxford, announced that Tracey is partnering with the university to tackle underrepresentation in education. The AJ Tracey Fund offers invaluable support by addressing access issues, expanding mentorship opportunities, supporting student experience from low-income backgrounds, enabling opportunities for future role models and leaders, and encouraging work on the Black experience. This scholarship aims to help students in all ways, such as outreach, travel assistance, and more.

Who is he?

Ché Wolton Grant, professionally known as AJ Tracey, is a British rapper, producer, and songwriter from Ladbroke Grove, West London. Initially, Grant was born in Brixton then his family relocated to West London. The rapper was educated at Middle Row Primary School and Holland Park School. Grant enrolled in London Metropolitan University to study Criminology but dropped out to pursue a music career. He has released six EPs that include popular songs such as Ladbrook Grove– he has also been featured on and produced tracks by known artists like Aitch.

Grant wishes to inspire other young people to follow their dream through this scholarship. In an article from The Guardian, the rapper states: “I didn’t just walk in there and think, let me just randomly sling money at a random cause,” as this cause is more than performative philanthropy. The Independent wrote that Grant wanted to “inspire people to think, ‘AJ Tracey’s cool, I listen to his music, and he’s from the same background. And if he cares about that stuff, maybe I have the right to want to go there.”

Dr. Ateh Jewel Foundation Awards

This scholarship provides a one-off payment of £3,300 to three students. This scholarship is available to UK undergraduate Black African and Caribbean students from disadvantaged backgrounds. She formed the Dr. Ateh Jewel Education Foundation in 2020 after the death of George Floyd and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. This scholarship aims to support aspiring young people from low-income households to reach their full potential. Applications are assessed based on household income, and priority is given to those whose income is £27,500 or lower.

Who is she?

Dr. Ateh Jewel is an established journalist, producer, director, influencer, and diversity advocate. She campaigns for diversity and inclusion in the beauty industry, where she has over 20 years of experience. She has previously written for Vogue magazine, the Sunday Times Style, and the Telegraph. Dr. Jewel has worked for many beauty brands creating content and short films for Dior, Estee Lauder, and Chanel. Alongside her successful career in the beauty industry, she is a multi-award-winning film producer. In 2020, she received the CEW Achiever Award for her work surrounding diversity and inclusion. In addition, Dr. Jewel received an Honorary Doctorate of Doctor of Media from Solent University.

Cambridge scholarships

Much like its rival counterpart, Cambridge offers a variety of financial aid to those struggling with financial difficulties or students who otherwise wouldn’t go to university. We at Cybernews Academy have listed some of the best scholarships that have helped bolster students' academic success.

Carlos and Gabriela Rodriguez-Pastor Scholarship

The scholarship established by Carlos Rodriguez-Pastor and Gabriela Perez Rocchietti aids those from Latin America that wish to study for an undergraduate degree in any subject. Each scholarship covers the student's total tuition and subsistence costs over the period of the chosen undergraduate program. Carlos Rodriguez-Pastor and Gabriela Perez Rocchietti are passionate about education in all countries– which they have demonstrated through their various foundations.

Who are they?

Initially born in Peru, Carlos Rodriguez-Pastor is known as one of the world's secret billionaires. He holds various roles at Intergroup, Intercorp, Interbank, and the Nexus group. He owns Intergroup Financial, a Peruvian baking and retail organization, and is the chairman and CEO of Intercorp, a high-level, privately held consulting firm. Mr. Rodriguez-Pastor is also a managing general partner of Nexus Group, a leading private equity firm, and Chairman of Interbank, a Peruvian financial service.

This secret billionaire fled with his family from Peru to Ecuador and settled in California due to instability in his home country. Mr. Rodriguez-Pastor was educated at Immaculate Heart College in Peru’s capital city of Lima. He later received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and in 1988 he completed an MBA from Tuck School of Business, the graduate business school of Dartmouth College, an esteemed Ivy League institution.

Mr. Rodriguez-Pastor is the co-founder and chairman of Innova Schools, a Colombian primary education facility, and Peru Champs. This organization aims to empower talented, underprivileged children through scholarships. Mr. Pastor is a member of the global advisory board of Khan Academy, a non-profit educational organization that provides free online learning resources. He is on the board of trustees a Dartmouth College and a member of the global advisory board at Harvard University.

#Merky Foundation

In 2018, Stormzy partnered with Cambridge University to financially assist Black students seeking an undergraduate degree program. This scholarship was expanded in 2021 and has helped 32 UK home students start their university experience. The scholarship is a non-repayable sum that will cover the total cost of tuition fees and provide a maintenance grant. This scholarship is available to those who wish to take a three or four-year undergraduate course. HSBC, a leading UK bank, has pledged a further £2m supporting 30 new Stormzy Scholarships.

Who is he?

The founder of the #Merky Foundation is Michael Ebenezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr., known professionally as Stormzy, a British rapper, singer, and songwriter hailing from Croydon, London. He grew up in South Norwood, London, where he attended Stanely Tech South Norwood College, then studied an apprenticeship at Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. Despite his short academic career, this grime artist is dedicated to fighting racial inequality in education. Stormzy is a well-known political activist who has endorsed Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. Alongside political activism, Stormzy was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Exeter for his work fighting underrepresentation in schools.

Computer specific scholarships

We at Cybernews Academy noticed some distinct computer science-based scholarships available to graduate students. As we are tech-focused, we've included a section showing the different scholarships open to prospective computer science students.

DeepMind graduate scholarship

This scholarship is powered by Google, aiming to establish a stronger and more inclusive AI community that can provide a broader range of experiences to the ever-growing fields of AI and computer science. The scholarship offers financial support to students seeking graduate courses related to AI or other adjacent fields. You will also be supported by a DeepMind mentor and have opportunities to attend leading AI academic conferences and DeepMind events. The DeepMind scholarship program provides talented individuals from underrepresented backgrounds the support they require while studying at leading universities like Oxford and Cambridge. This scholarship is specifically for master's students who want to study Advanced Computer Science in the Department of Computer Science. This scholarship is open to individuals who are residents of the UK and belong to one or more of the following groups:

  • Identifying female and or/
  • Of Black, Bangladeshi, or Pakistani (and relevant Mixed) ethnicity and/or
  • From more disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds

Two scholarships will be open to students who aren't ordinarily residents of the UK. These scholarships are available to female students and those ordinarily resident in an under-represented region of the world. This scholarship will cover university tuition fees, an annual stipend (sufficient for a single person), immigration health surcharge, visa, and research costs.

Cambridge Scholarship for Italian Talent

This scholarship is available to Italian students undertaking a master's degree. The degree highlights the need for women in STEM; preference will be given to female candidates applying for STEM programs in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Computer Science, Engineering, Maths, Physics, and other related fields. A contribution of 12,500 will be awarded to the successful applicant to help with study costs.

Cybernews Academy Note: Many of these scholarships can be applied to computer science and other technology courses as they are tenable to almost any course and any college.

So here we have it, seven scholarships established by multiple people and foundations committed to making education more accessible. These scholarships award grants to unrepresented people, some from disadvantaged backgrounds, which helps to open education to all. These scholarships are fundamental as they have allowed many young students to start their academic careers. Thanks to these five and many more unlikely donators, education is becoming more and more accessible to people from all walks of life.