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Durham University part of launch of £4 million scholarship scheme

(21 December 2009)

Durham University is part of a £4 million groundbreaking scholarship scheme launched to help talented students who wish to study science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects at university.

The 1994 Group and the Russell Group of universities last week launched the scheme which over three years will offer £1,000 scholarships to up to 4000 students. Approximately 100 of these scholarships will be offered by Durham University. The ‘Eliahou Dangoor Scholarships’, launched with a £3 million donation over three years, will be the largest private bursary or scholarship widening participation scheme known to the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) in the UK, and will be administered across Russell Group and 1994 Group universities. Matched funding from government is expected to bring the total funding available to £4 million. Thanks to the generous donation from Dr Naim Dangoor, a successful property developer, this scholarship will assist thousands of students, most from under-privileged backgrounds, to study vital science and maths-based subjects at the UK’s leading research-intensive universities. Dr Dangoor has said that this scholarship, named in honour of his father Eliahou Dangoor, is his way of thanking the country that gave him refuge after he left Iraq in the 1960s. It is hoped that this ambitious scheme will encourage more young people to consider studying STEM subjects at one of the country’s leading universities. Dr Michael Gilmore, Academic Registrar for Durham University, said: “Durham University is committed to recognising and rewarding excellence in academia, and in extracurricular activities, through offering a wide range of scholarships and support schemes, providing opportunities for talented students to study here in Durham. “The Dangoor Scholarship is a superb addition to our portfolio of support packages.” The Chairs of both the 1994 Group and Russell Group have also warmly welcomed the donation and the creation of the scholarship. Professor Paul Wellings, Vice Chancellor of Lancaster University and Chair of the 1994 Group of universities said: “Dr Naim Dangoor’s generous donation will support talented students to study at the leading universities in the United Kingdom. “With record numbers of applications to university the signs are that the current system of variable bursaries, fees and loans, with no upfront costs and generous repayment terms, are not acting as a deterrent. “Nevertheless, we are concerned that some students, particularly from poorer backgrounds, may be put off from applying to university because of misinformation or lack of understanding about the generous support available. These scholarships are a tremendous addition to the range of bursaries our universities offer to help ensure that students fulfil their potential and are encouraged to apply to leading universities.” Dr Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group, added: “Russell Group universities are working hard to ensure that information about bursaries – including this magnificent scheme - is being constantly updated and improved. “The new Russell Group website will also serve as a handy doorway for students looking for information about the financial support available at all of our universities. We hope more people will be prompted to consider studying science and maths-based subjects at the UK’s leading universities. “Although there has been a welcome increase in science and maths students in recent years, we have been deeply concerned by the long term decline in students taking these subjects at A-level and beyond. Schemes like the Eliahou Dangoor scholarship build on this upturn in popularity which, in the long run, will mean that the UK can continue to be home to more than its fair share of the world’s top scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs.” Welcoming this announcement, Sir Martin Harris, Director of (OFFA) said: “It is heartening to see help for students on such a generous scale from a private donor. “Our research has shown that awards of this kind have the potential to encourage students to apply for leading universities and we hope they will be widely publicised and play a part in helping to raise aspirations in schools and colleges.”

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