A global scholarship at Cambridge University

How can we best tackle food insecurity in Africa? How can we address some of the most pressing sustainability challenges? How can computer simulations improve treatments for some of the most serious diseases affecting human health? The Gates Cambridge Scholarships are a perfect fit with the University’s mission, which is to contribute to society through learning, great teaching and outstanding research.

Since the first class in 2001 the Trust has awarded more than 1,600 scholarships to outstanding students from 104 countries. And across the world 1,200 alumni are making an impact in a wide range of fields. By attracting great students from all around the world from vastly different backgrounds the Gates Cambridge Scholarships enhance our community’s diversity and enrich our pool of talent.

These women and men are primed to go out into the world and develop innovative solutions for some of the world’s greatest problems. To tackle food insecurity in Africa we need to invest in agricultural research and technical capacity, including for small-scale farming of staple crops such as rice.

I’m studying how different fungi interact with the roots of rice plants and how we can exploit this interaction to develop more dependable varieties with higher yields. How can we address some of the most pressing sustainability challenges when resources are scarce, time is short, information is limited and decisions are extremely urgent? I’ve been working with individuals and organizations trying to find very unconventional solutions to some of these most pressing sustainability challenges.

I study protein folding which is the process by which proteins adopt their unique functional shapes. Through computer simulations we are able to get microscopic insight into this process and understand why certain proteins do not fold properly, leading to diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. We can also identify potential targets for drugs.

Although Gates Cambridge is aprestigious scholarship at one of the world’s  leading universities, the program is very much about engaging the wider world. My own contribution has been to set up a mentoring programme for Caribbean students who want to apply for scholarships like Gates Cambridge and the community has been incredibly supportive of this work.

Gates is much more than just a funding scheme. Differently from most scholarship schemes, it provides an environment where students can interact on a daily basis and can come up and cross fertilize their projects and learn from one another. I think the value of the Gates Scholarships is that everyone who graduates comes away with an incredible network of both friends relationships and also a professional network that they can draw upon for the rest of their lives.

We’re looking for graduate students from across the world, in any subject. Students with outstanding academic achievements, a strong commitment to improving the lives of others and leadership ability. Cambridge has outstanding facilities and if your field of study is a good fit with Cambridge the scholarship can make a significant difference to your future and launch your career.

The scheme has already built a global network of leaders who are not only great ambassadors for Cambridge, but I hope will take our mission to heart: to contribute to society and go out there and make it happen.

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