Climate action scholarships for small island nation students launched in partnership with HRH The Prince of Wales

Students from small island nations will be supported in their work to address climate change through new scholarships inspired by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and announced today by the Universities of Cambridge, Toronto, Melbourne, McMaster and Montreal.

The alumni of the programme will form a cohort of talented people who will become future leaders and ambassadors in sustainability.

Professor Stephen Toope, Vice-Chancellor

The climate action awards are being launched to coincide with Commonwealth Day, and recognise the disproportionate effects of climate change on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), many of which are part of the Commonwealth.

Working with HRH The Prince of Wales, Professor Stephen Toope, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, developed the initiative that will widen access by supporting students on courses that engage with sustainability, helping them develop their existing skills and knowledge to address the effects of climate change in the countries they come from.

“Climate change is a global challenge and we all have a role to play, as individuals and as organisations,” said Professor Toope. “The University of Cambridge is responding to the climate emergency on many fronts – through research and policy expertise, and by developing solutions that work for our lives and for our planet. The launch of these new scholarships, in partnership with HRH The Prince of Wales, who has long been a champion of environmental causes, is an extension of our ongoing commitment.

“The students who these new scholarships are aimed at are likely to have experienced first-hand the severe effects of climate change, including flooding and erosion in their own countries and communities. These awards will support their vital work around climate change, which will undoubtedly have an added and hugely personal significance for them. The alumni of the programme will form a cohort of talented people who will become future leaders and ambassadors in sustainability.”

The programme will see scholarships provided at the University of Toronto, the University of Melbourne, McMaster University and the University of Montreal, which along with the University of Cambridge have come together to address this critical issue.

In Cambridge, the programme of awards will be offered by the Cambridge Trust, which will be awarding 10 fully-funded ‘HRH The Prince of Wales Commonwealth Scholarships’ over the next two years, with the first recipients expected to take up their places at the University of Cambridge in October 2022.

The Cambridge Trust was established in the 1980s with the specific objective of providing scholarships to students from the Commonwealth and wider world who lacked the means to fund their studies at the University of Cambridge.  His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, himself a Cambridge alumnus having graduated from Trinity College in 1970, has been involved in the work of the Trust for many years, serving as Patron since 2010.

Back in 2018, in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the modern Commonwealth and to mark The Prince of Wales’ 70th birthday, the Cambridge Trust launched a programme of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales Scholarships. The scholarships funded University of Cambridge postgraduate applicants from Commonwealth nations whose studies focused on practical themes affecting the future of those nations, such as climate change, the blue economy and sustainability.  As part of the three-year programme, 20 fully-funded scholarships were awarded to applicants from around the Commonwealth, for both Masters and PhD studies.

The Trust was delighted to be able to continue this work by joining this new initiative.

Speaking about the scheme, Helen Pennant, the Trust’s Director, said: “I hope that these scholarships will make a difference both to the students who receive them and to their countries as they grapple with the many challenges of climate change.  I would like to thank HRH The Prince of Wales for his support of this important initiative.”

Scholarships at Cambridge will be available to students:

•    who are citizens of or normally resident in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) as defined by the United Nations;
•    who hold a conditional offer of admission to the University of Cambridge
•    studying at postgraduate level for a Masters degree or PhD;
•    pursuing courses in subjects that engage with sustainability and climate change

The HRH Prince of Wales Commonwealth Scholarship is fully-funded and will include tuition fees and maintenance.

For more information, contact the Cambridge Trust