Almost 30 additional Commonwealth Scholars will be coming to study in the UK this year, thanks directly to the contributions of UK universities, according to figures published this week to coincide with the Universities Week campaign: ‘What’s the Big Idea?’

The scholarships have been made possible by a new arrangement between the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) and the UK higher education sector. Virtually all UK universities have agreed to provide joint scholarships, worth at least 20% of the tuition fee, to Commonwealth Scholars from developing countries. This extra revenue has enabled the CSC to bring nearly 30 more Commonwealth Scholars to the UK this year. Many of the additional Scholars will be junior academic staff in developing country universities, whose studies in the UK will help develop capacity in their home institutions.

Commenting on the new joint funding agreement, Professor Tim Unwin, Chair of the CSC, said that he was delighted to have such visible support from UK universities, particularly in a period of financial restraint. ‘As the UK government’s only substantial scholarship programme that focuses on international development objectives, it is great to see UK universities playing such an active role in the training of their colleagues in low and middle income countries,’ he said.

Speaking on behalf of Universities UK, which endorsed the joint funding agreement, Chief Executive Nicola Dandridge said that the arrangement reflected both UK universities’ desire to help the developing world and their recognition of the outstanding quality of Commonwealth Scholars. ‘It is essential that the UK continues to attract the very best international talent, at both Master’s and doctoral level,’ she said. ‘Commonwealth Scholarships have a critical role to play in this respect, and I am delighted that individual universities have taken such a positive approach.’

The Universities Week national campaign: ‘What’s the Big Idea?’ highlights the essential role of universities in the UK and their impact on the economy, culture, society and the environment.


Notes to editors

  1. The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom (CSC) is responsible for managing Britain’s contribution to the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP), and supports around 700 awards annually.
  2. The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission is funded by the Department for International Development, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and the Scottish Government in conjunction with UK universities.
  3. A list of UK universities that have signed up to the new joint funding agreement is available on the CSC website.
  4. The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) is an international programme under which member governments offer scholarships and fellowships to citizens of other Commonwealth countries. The Plan was established at the first Commonwealth education conference in 1959 and is reviewed by education ministers at their triennial meetings.
  5. The inaugural Universities Week is taking place from 14-20 June 2010, and aims to increase public awareness of the wide and varied role of the UK’s universities. The UK’s higher education institutions have a tangible effect on our economy, generating almost £59bn of output every year. They are some of the largest employers in their regions, and nationally create over 600,000 jobs either directly through higher education, or via knock-on effects. Over 100 universities and linked organisations are involved in the week. Nationwide activity will include open days and debates for members of the public to attend. A full list of events taking place can be found on the Universities Week website.
  6. For further information, please contact Natasha Lokhun, +44 (0)20 7380 6760