Our review of the past academic year, showcasing projects that have been funded by the philanthropic support of individuals and organisations.

Lighting up a city icon

New College lighting
New lighting draws attention to one of Edinburgh’s most iconic facades

Reverend Dr Robert Funk, who studied at the School of Divinity in 1963, has funded a floodlighting and sign project at New College on The Mound. Rev Dr Funk is a long-time supporter of the University, particularly through through his contributions to student scholarships and the New College Library.

Support for science outreach

The Darwin Trust of Edinburgh has pledged more than £280,000 to support the School of Biological Sciences’ outreach work. The School continues to extend a programme of activities to engage school pupils, teachers and the wider public with biology, biotechnology and the natural sciences.

Find out about other outreach programmes in this issue

Mastercard scholars arrive

Mastercard scholars
The new Mastercard Foundation scholars celebrate arriving in Edinburgh

The third cohort of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars has arrived, the largest group so far. The programme provides full scholarships and transformative leadership training to educate and support bright, young African students with a deep, personal commitment to changing the world around them.

Aisha Janki Akinola, student and Mastercard Foundation scholar, said: “Getting this scholarship means that I am the first of my 10 siblings to study at a university outside of Nigeria. I’m looking forward to improving my leadership skills, learning new things and, above all, developing my career path so I can make a real change in the African continent.”

£100,000 gift to tackle endometriosis

The MRC Centre for Reproductive Health has received a grant of £100,000 from the Charles Wolfson Charitable Trust to support a post-doctoral researcher. Their work will specialise in drugs to safely treat the main biological process underlying endometriosis pain.

Read more in Hidden suffering

Resident artists for Talbot Rice Gallery

Talbot Rice Gallery resident artists: Tako Taal, Sulaiman Majali, Stephanie Mann, Rosie O’Grady and Aideen Doran
From left: Tako Taal, Sulaiman Majali, Stephanie Mann, Rosie O’Grady and Aideen Doran, the new resident artists at the Talbot Rice Gallery

The Talbot Rice Gallery has been awarded funding of £375,000 from the Freelands Foundation for a new artists programme to be delivered over five years. The Foundation’s mission is to support artists and cultural institutions, to broaden audiences for the visual arts, and to enable all young people to engage actively with the creation and enjoyment of art. The programme will begin with five resident artists.

Rosie O’Grady, Talbot Rice Resident Artist, said: “The Talbot Rice Residents Programme will provide a welcome opportunity for critical discussion with peers and vital financial support to enable a focused period of research and development. I am delighted to be participating in the inaugural programme, and look forward to working alongside the other artists, and with staff at Talbot Rice and Edinburgh College of Art.”

ECA Printmaker in Residence

Politics graduate and long-time supporter of student initiatives, Mark Astaire has now funded a Pilot Printmaker in Residence programme at Edinburgh College of Art to allow a printmaking practitioner to spend between eight and 12 months at the University of Edinburgh. Scottish visual artist Claire Barclay joins ECA as the first Printmaker in Residence.

Mark said: “Edinburgh College of Art is an amazingly creative environment, with many talented students and an array of brilliant teachers. Having a talented Printmaker in Residence, especially an artist of the calibre of Claire Barclay, will hopefully be a boon to the whole of the College, not just to the printmakers. I am thrilled to be able to support this initiative.”

Bank group funds internships

Santander has confirmed a further £50,000 to support internships within the SME sector. The banking group already funds a number of scholarships for Edinburgh students.

Pathway to Enlightenment completed

The McEwan Hall Pathway to Enlightenment has been completed with an additional 270 names of supporters added to the striking Victorian concourse. The initiative has raised more than £27,000 in support of current students.

Purple Day fundraiser

Victor Hugo staff on Purple Day
Staff at Edinburgh’s Victor Hugo delicatessen went purple for the University

Together, 28 eateries and numerous bake sales raised more than £2,000 for the Muir Maxwell Epilepsy Centre as part of the Purple Day fundraising initiative that encourages participants to wear, eat and bake something purple in aid of research into epilepsy. The money will go directly towards helping the Centre to find causes, better treatments and ways to address the psychosocial aspects of childhood epilepsy.

Dr Richard Chin, Director of the Muir Maxwell Epilepsy Centre, said: “Food is a central and important part of our lives. Naturally occurring purple foods are delicious, great for our health and lots of fun. Our Purple Food for Purple Day combined our passions for good food and good health, and all aimed at raising awareness about epilepsy.”

Court papers go digital

The University has received a £15,000 grant from the Pilgrim Trust to preserve, catalogue and digitise the Scottish Session Papers project in the Centre for Research Collections.

These are the case papers of the Scottish Court of Session, covering the period 1710-1850, and with approximately 250,000 items, they represent one of Scotland’s most significant, yet unstudied, printed source for the history, society and literature of Scotland from the immediate aftermath of the Union of 1707 through the Jacobite wars, the Enlightenment, the agricultural and industrial revolutions and the building of Walter Scott’s Edinburgh.

Distillery fundraises for MND

The Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Research received a £54,000 donation from a fundraising evening and auction hosted by Arbikie Distillery in January. This is one of the biggest single gifts ever received by the University through community fundraising.

New Equine Hospital unveiled

Chancellor opens new Equine Hospital
HRH The Princess Royal unveils the Canter sculpture at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

HRH The Princess Royal, Chancellor of the University, opened the new Equine Hospital facility at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in May. This has transformed the facilities for the diagnosis, surgery, treatment and recovery of horses.

The Chancellor also unveiled a striking new sculpture at the entrance to the new facility. Canter is by artist Andy Scott, who also sculpted the famous Kelpies in Falkirk.

Professor David Argyle, Head of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, said: “The opening of the new expanded Equine Hospital represents a major step change in how we treat horses. We are also delighted with Canter by Andy Scott, an incredible piece of art and fitting for a veterinary school that was originally established to support the treatment of working horses.”

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