Image credit: John Cairns
Santander UK has renewed its commitment to students at the University of Oxford by pledging over £1 million in support of scholarships, travel awards, internship programmes and entrepreneurship initiatives.
The funding and new three-year partnership with Santander Universities was confirmed at a signing ceremony this week, which was attended by Nathan Bostock, Santander UK’s CEO, and Professor Louise Richardson, the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University.
Santander has funded a wide range of activities at Oxford since 2007. This support has positively transformed the experience of hundreds of Oxford students, helping to ease the financial pressures associated with study and providing new opportunities to those who might otherwise struggle to afford them.
After receiving a Santander Mobility Award last year, doctoral student Julia Zulver was able to undertake essential fieldwork in Colombia. ‘As a student, funds for fieldwork can be difficult to find,’ she explains. ‘Support from Santander allowed me to network with social scientists in Colombia, share my work and increase its visibility, and learn from and engage with experts in my field.’
Santander will fund scholarships, travel awards, and internship awards for students taking up internship opportunities at UK SMEs, and other organisations globally, as well as a range of activities and initiatives focused on nurturing student entrepreneurship. This includes the creation of an annual speaker series at the Oxford Foundry, and the provision of seed-funding for five entrepreneurial projects, as part of the Foundry’s ongoing start-up support programme.Professor Louise Richardson said: ‘On behalf of colleagues across the University I would like to thank Santander for their long standing support of our students. This generous new pledge will help us to enable Oxford students to enhance their education by providing opportunities to study, to travel and to gain business experience.’
Finally, a proportion of the funding will be dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship more widely across the University. Santander will provide seed-funding for businesses participating in Oxford University Innovation’s Startup Incubator Programme, as well as establishing a competition and forum for early-stage bioscience companies at the Oxford BioEscalator.
Nathan Bostock, CEO of Santander UK, said: “Santander is committed to supporting higher education as well as local communities across the UK. I’m delighted to return to the University of Oxford to extend our partnership for a further three years. It has been inspiring meeting those who have benefited from our joint programmes including student entrepreneurs whose ideas have thrived following support from the University’s entrepreneurship centre, Oxford Foundry, as well as local SMEs that have benefitted from the Santander Universities internship scheme. We look forward to working together to ensure our joint initiatives can continue to provide even further opportunities for both students and the local community.”
Through its Santander Universities division, the organisation maintains partnerships with over 1,200 academic institutions in 20 countries. Santander Universities was introduced in the UK in 2007 and the bank now has partnerships with over 80 universities, providing over £10m of funding in 2018 to support university staff and students.