SOAS University of London

Major funding from Wolfson Foundation for SOAS campus expansion plans and research scholarships

4 August 2014

Three quarters of a million pounds has been granted to SOAS, University of London, by the Wolfson Foundation.

The Wolfson Foundation, a leading funder of UK higher education and a long-standing supporter of SOAS, pledged a total of £749,000 in two grants.

£500,000 will underpin the redevelopment of the Senate House North Block, the iconic building located in the heart of Bloomsbury. This is the single largest gift to SOAS from the Wolfson Foundation in the long history of its support for the School. The Senate House North Block improvements will transform SOAS, extending its lively central-London campus and dramatically enhancing the student experience. The latest technology will be incorporated into new state-of-the-art teaching and learning spaces and a vibrant student hub will deliver all the university’s student services in one building.

A grant of £249,000 will help to fund the Wolfson Postgraduate Scholarships in Humanities for a further three years, for scholars starting in September 2015. This will enable another three scholars to join SOAS’ world-leading research community in the fields of history, literature and languages. SOAS is one of only nine leading UK institutions to be selected for the highly esteemed Wolfson Postgraduate Scholarships, which started in 2011. There are currently six Wolfson scholars at SOAS conducting research across linguistics, history and cultural literacy and postcolonial studies and a further three scholars starting in September 2014.

SOAS Director Professor Paul Webley said: “The Wolfson Foundation shares SOAS’ commitment to academic excellence. By supporting the ambitious redevelopment of Senate House North Block, the Wolfson Foundation will make a huge impact on our plans to create a single vibrant campus for a 21st Century institution. We are honoured to be among the elite UK institutions offering Wolfson Postgraduate Scholarships. By extending the scholarship programme, this latest grant will also help to ensure we continue to attract the best global candidates, who will thrive in the intellectually vigorous and inspiring environment offered by SOAS.”

Wolfson Foundation Chief Executive Paul Ramsbottom said: “We have a long history of supporting excellence in the cultural and academic spheres in the UK. The impact of SOAS, a relatively small London-based institution, far outweighs its size - its teaching, learning and research enriches society on a global scale.”

Previous grants from the Foundation have played a major role in transforming the School’s Library increasing the size of the reading rooms and enhancing the department for Archives and Special Collections. SOAS has named a gallery to recognise the Foundation’s support. Located in the renowned SOAS Library, the Wolfson Gallery hosts exhibitions about SOAS’ work and impact on the world.