Cambridge raises £1bn in donations

Cambridge University says it has raised more than £1bn in a fundraising campaign. It is the first university outside the United States to raise such a large sum by this method.

The cash was collected for Cambridge's 800th anniversary campaign, which was launched in 2005 to allow the university to continue to compete as a world leader in teaching and research.

More than 45,000 alumni have contributed, with many making regular financial gifts to their former colleges, Cambridge said. Yesterday's announcement means the university has hit the £1bn target two years ahead of schedule.

The money is being used for bursaries and scholarships – to encourage students of all backgrounds to apply to the university – to fund new buildings for research, teaching and student accommodation and to attract new staff.

Cambridge vice-chancellor Professor Alison Richard said: "I am profoundly grateful to our alumni and benefactors who are investing in Cambridge's future. Cambridge is consistently ranked among the top handful of universities in the world and is at the heart of Europe's most important cluster of innovative enterprises."