UCL News


Provost welcomes philanthropy report

10 May 2004

In an article in Guardian Unlimited today, Professor Malcolm Grant, UCL's President & Provost, welcomed the Thomas Report, Increased Voluntary Giving to Higher Education.

Professor Malcolm Grant, UCL’s President & Provost He wrote: "It is a straightforward and sensible study. We know that such giving is both desirable and necessary. UK universities have earned a powerful international reputation for their teaching and research, but the British have shown a marked disinclination to celebrate their success and invest in them, either through tax revenues or tuition fees."

Professor Grant suggested that UK universities can and should be doing more to increase the sums brought into them by fundraising. UCL itself has attracted some £300m in philanthropy during the last ten years in support of academic work and new projects. He wrote: "This is far from being an optional extra: it is essential for funding projects fundamental to our development, and the prevailing economic realities mean that this trend will only increase."

He wrote that private philanthropy would not in itself close the huge funding gap in UK universities - in the region of £8bn, even with top-up fees - but could make a significant contribution. Universities are professionalising their fundraising operations, and recent tax changes in this country, offering relief on donations along similar lines to the US system, would enhance a culture of giving. However, fundraising must not and cannot be seen as a substitute for public funding.

Professor Grant wrote: "Later this year UCL will be launching a major fundraising campaign. Its goals are ambitious, and are in line with both our continued pursuit of excellence and our mission to ensure access to the brightest students regardless of wealth, background or other constraints. The money raised will vastly increase the numbers of students who can benefit from our scholarship programme. Other projects range from new post-doctoral chemistry fellowships to the purchase of suitable premises for City (Cardiology in the Young), an international centre of excellence for the diagnosis and management of inherited cardiovascular disease in young people. The stark fact is that, without the generosity of donors, these hugely worthwhile initiatives would simply not happen."

He welcomed the Thomas Report's recommendation for tax relief on larger, and usually one-off, gifts, alongside the retention of Gift Aid for modest regular donation. He also praised the report's recommendation that there should be greater recognition and celebration of giving to higher education by institutions and national leaders.

Professor Grant wrote: "A climate in which our achievements are more readily celebrated and acknowledged, by institutions, their communities, and our nation's opinion formers, would certainly make it easier for our universities to obtain the resources they need to flourish in what is becoming an ever more competitive sector. In the meantime, this report provides a good base for vice-chancellors to champion fundraising within their universities."

To read the article in full or to access the UCL President & Provost website use the links below.

Guardian Unlimited article
UCL President & Provost website