Supporting the University
The University of Birmingham has recently completed its Circles of influence fundraising campaign, reaching an amazing total of more than $297 million. Thank you to all the supporters in the USA who joined me in contributing to this wonderful achievement.
The pioneering Circles of Influence fundraising campaign may be over, but the tradition of charitable giving that founded the University more than a century ago continues, as Birmingham addresses some of society's biggest challenges. There is more information about these projects below, and on the Scholarships supported by the Foundation. I hope you’ll find it of interest.
BSc Chemical Engineering 1960
President , University of Birmingham USA Foundation
In 2011 the University and the USA Foundation launched a joint scholarship scheme to enable outstanding US students to pursue Post Graduate and Under Graduate studies at Birmingham. In September 2015, we welcomed 2 new undergrad scholars and a post grad scholar to the University of Birmingham campus. The scholarships are supported by donations from USA Alumni.
Our first recipient was Kelly Leyden who completed her MPhil at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and Rehabilitation (which itself was created with philanthropic support).
In 2012 two scholarships were awarded to outstanding US scholars, one funded by the USA Foundation and one matched by the University. Alex Feldman completed a Masters of Research (MRes) in Byzantine Studies. He was drawn to Birmingham by the opportunity to work with Dr. Archie Dunn, a highly respected scholar in Byzantine Archaeology. Ashley Lara completed her Masters of Research in Playwriting Studies and chose Birmingham because of the University’s close connections with professional theatres.
In 2013 scholarships were awarded to Christopher Gleason (from Notre Dame) and Kate Alexander (Rochester U.). Both were drawn to the University’s Shakespeare school, and completed their MA degrees in Shakespeare Studies.
In 2014 two further scholarships were awarded to Erin Runbeck and Sonja Wermager. Erin studied for her MSc in Immunology and Immunotherapy. Erin is from Arizona, she studied BSc Biological Science at Arizona State University. Sonja completed her MA in Renaissance, Reformation and Early Modern Studies. Sonja is from Minnesota, she studied BA History and Music at St. Olaf College in Northfield MN.
In September 2015, we awarded another Post Graduate scholarship to Brittany Atkinson, who is studying for an MSc in Global Cooperation and Security, along with two Under Graduate scholarships to Emma Hair and Amiel Lynch, who are both studying Law.
To support the USA scholarship program, we aim to raise £15,000 per year, which is matched by the University of Birmingham, to fund one Post Graduate scholarship and two Under Graduate scholarships per year.
Please select USA Foundation Scholarships on the donation page to contribute to the USA scholarship program.
University of Birmingham Projects
Global maternal health
Born and raised in Sierra Leone, Sessay was married aged 14 and had her first child aged 15. At 18, the age of a typical first year student, she became pregnant with twins. She was unable to deliver the second twin and died through excessive bleeding while walking miles to see a doctor. Researchers at Birmingham know they can save the lives of mothers like Sessay through simple initiatives covering everything from healthcare and food security to transport. Give $80 and you could fund a place for a healthcare worker on a training course about infection.
Our donors have funded more than 600 student scholarships. However, more and more bright young people from under-represented backgrounds apply each year, and we hope the University school will increase this further. Your donations will help us continue sector leading initiatives such as Access to Birmingham (A2B) Scholarships.
Alternative cancer treatments
‘This could be a real step-change in cancer treatment,’ according to Professor Ben Willcox, of the Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Centre, whose team is researching the immune system’s response to cancer. They are developing treatments to stop tumours ‘switching off’ immune responses to the cancer, so a patient’s own immune system can fight the cancer cells. This produces significantly fewer side effects than chemotherapy but can be as effective. The team have seen transformational results in treating solid cancers that lung cancer specialist Professor Gary Middleton says ‘made the hairs on the backs of our necks stand up’. Your support could fund more specialist scientists and help Birmingham establish a world-leading institute for this exciting work.
The Shakespeare Institute
Based in historic Stratford-upon-Avon, the Shakespeare Institute was founded in 1951 and has become a globally important research centre. With your help, we can safeguard the centre’s world-leading position and provide funding to support academic endeavour and enable new discoveries.
Antibiotic resistance research
Antibiotic resistance and the control of infectious diseases such as TB are global issues. Scientists at the University are carrying out pioneering research to understand diseases and the spread of antibiotic resistance, identify new strains of disease and facilitate the development of new antibiotics. By supporting this work you will help address an issue deemed a major global threat by the World Health Organisation.
Collaborative Teaching Laboratory
The CTL will be a state-of-the-art hub that brings all Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects at Birmingham under one roof and promotes partnerships between them. Your gifts will revolutionise teaching and learning, drive innovation and engage and inspire careers in STEM.
Fighting children's cancer
Dr Frank Mussai is developing new treatments for children with cancer. His research involves investigating the links between adult and childhood cancers and the immune system, and focuses on acute myeloid leukaemia (the worst form of leukaemia in children) and the solid cancer neuroblastoma. Currently there is little funding available for testing the results of adult cancer drug trials in children. Donations given towards simple laboratory equipment such as freezers, centrifuges and flow cytometers, will help save lives.