UCL Mathematical & Physical Sciences


Sara Bunting

Sara Bunting is the Senior Philanthropy Manager for the Faculty of Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MAPS).

Sara Bunting

2 February 2023

When did you take up this position? What was your position beforehand?

I started in June 2022. Prior to joining UCL, I worked in the museum and heritage sector in London for over 20 years, in various fundraising roles. 

Tell us about your work at UCL - how do you spend your days, and what makes your role different to similar positions elsewhere?

My role straddles both the Office of the Vice-President (Advancement) and the MAPS faculty. It is a new role and it’s exciting to be the faculty’s first dedicated philanthropy professional. 

My work involves building and managing relationships with current and prospective donors to MAPS, as well as developing deep and enduring relationships with academics and professional services staff across the faculty to understand the projects and priorities that could resonate with our philanthropic funders. I also support academics with any philanthropic approaches they may wish to make to industry, trusts or individuals in their network. 

My days are varied, and this is what I love about my role. I could be meeting with faculty academics and professional service colleagues to gain insight into projects and priorities or talking to current and potential donors helping them to realise their philanthropic ambitions, such as funding students or funding some of the world-leading research taking place in the faculty. Essentially no two days are ever the same! 

This is my first role in higher education so naturally there are many differences to previous positions I have held, however, the approaches that I take to relationship management are the same. I am loving being immersed in the physical sciences for the first time in my career, and fundraising for the various disciplines encapsulated in MAPS is a dream role for me. 

What are some of your favourite things about working at UCL? How have you found it different to previous jobs?

I love that I am embedded within MAPS, and as such have the opportunity to get immersed in everything that the faculty has to offer. Being in a new position is exciting and enables me to shape and develop the role. 

My ambition is to work with the whole faculty community to generate sustainable growth in philanthropic income. There is so much potential. I am very happy to talk to any MAPS colleagues who have ideas for funding or have an opportunity to make a philanthropic approach. 

Can you tell us about any future projects that you're looking forward to working on?

Over the past six months I have been getting to know the faculty and working closely with the Vice Dean Advancement to build an understanding of fundraising priorities and the opportunities we have in place to engage current and potential donors.

We will be publishing the MAPS case for support in the coming months, which will translate the key priorities in the faculty in a way that should generate excitement and interest from potential donors.

Have you always been based in London? If not, when did you move here, and how did you find adapting to living in London?

Most of my life has been spent living and working in London. I grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and initially moved to England to study. My move to London was relationship- and career-focused, and I have never looked back! 

Finally, tell us about your non-work life. Do you have any hobbies, or favourite places to go in London?

Outside of work, I spend time with my family and a disproportionate amount of time with my dog! I love culture and heritage, and when I get the time, I love to visit the galleries and museums in London, as well as heritage sites. Cooking is another passion of mine, as is yoga.