University of Sheffield receives record donation to support disadvantaged students and pioneering medical research

Sheffield University has been given £5.85 million – the largest single charitable donation from an individual in its 116-year history – to support disadvantaged students and fund pioneering medical research.

Thursday, 4th February 2021, 12:30 pm

The record donation has been made by The Law Family Charitable Foundation (LFCF), which was established by Andrew and Zoë Law and supports a range of charitable initiatives such as Speakers for Schools which provides UK state schools with inspirational speakers to help raise the aspirations of young people.

Andrew Law studied Economics at the University of Sheffield where he graduated with a First Class honours degree in 1987 and is now Chairman and CEO of Caxton Associates, a global macro hedge fund.

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School pupils at an outreach event organised by the University of Sheffield before the pandemic

Of the total donation, £2.85 million will be used to help disadvantaged students from low participation backgrounds access university, support their success in higher education and help them develop the skills, confidence and social abilities to graduate into successful careers.

Mr Law said: “The Law Family Charitable Foundation is delighted to support the University of Sheffield with the grant award. Since being established in 2011, LFCF has focused upon education and health, together with social mobility and the environment.

“The country will only prosper if all of society has the access should it wish to participate fully in leading education opportunities, and supporting the disadvantaged is central to this. I owe a large part of my success to the University of Sheffield and we would like others to have equal opportunities.”

The new student support initiative, named The Law Family Ambition Programme, will run over a five-year period and fund new scholarships, academic mentoring, residential summer schools, career mentoring from successful Sheffield alumni, networking coaching, work placements and employability workshops with businesses.

Sheffield University alumnus Andrew Law, CEO and Chairman of Caxton. Picture: Alex Maguire

It will also enable the University to expand and enhance its Discover outreach programme, which widens access to professions for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds throughout the north of England.

Elsewhere, the remaining £3 million donation will fund innovative research that could lead to the development of medical therapies for a range of rare genetic diseases.

Already part of a new consortium into the development of advanced therapies, the money will help the University to develop further partnerships with biotech and pharmaceutical companies to help accelerate gene therapy programmes and clinical trials.

Mr Law added: “It is imperative that more leading UK universities expand their research, exploit their immense expertise for the greater good, and commercialise their success thus creating further growth. The University of Sheffield is developing a national and global reputation in gene therapy.

"Investing in new medical technology is very capital intensive but is critical to combat rare genetic diseases and cancers. With this in mind we are contributing £3 million to fund the next phase of the gene centre’s growth.”

Professor Koen Lamberts, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, thanked The Law Family Charitable Foundation for the generous donation.

He said: “This donation will make a huge difference to the work we do here at Sheffield.

"It will drive the next crucial step in research to tackle a range of diseases for which there is currently no cure, as well as provide vital support to students and young people who are considering applying to university. The gift will have a real impact and we are extremely grateful.”

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