Top universities to offer new scholarships after donation

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The Independent Online

The UK's top universities are to offer new scholarships to students taking science and maths-based degrees, thanks to a £3 million donation from an Iraqi exile.

Up to 4,000 students, many from poorer backgrounds, are set to benefit, each receiving a scholarship worth £1,000.

Dr Naim Dangoor, a multi-millionaire property developer has donated the funding as a way to thank the UK for giving him refuge after he left Iraq in the 1960s.

With matched funding provided by the Government, funding for the scheme will total £4 million.

The scholarships will be administered by the Russell Group and the 1994 Group, who together represent around 40 of the nation's leading universities, including Oxford and Cambridge.

Dr Dangoor, who is now 95, has named the bursaries the Eliahou Dangoor Scholarships in honour of his father.

Professor Paul Wellings, chair of the 1994 Group said: "These scholarships are a tremendous addition to the range of bursaries our universities offer to help ensure that students fulfil their potential and are encouraged to apply to leading universities."

Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, said: "We hope more people will be prompted to consider studying science and maths-based subjects at the UK's leading universities.

"Although there has been a welcome increase in science and maths students in recent years, we have been deeply concerned by the long term decline in students taking these subjects at A-level and beyond.

"Schemes like the Eliahou Dangoor scholarship build on this upturn in popularity which, in the long run, will mean that the UK can continue to be home to more than its fair share of the world's top scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs."

Dr Dangoor, a Jewish Iraqi, came to London to study engineering 75 years ago. He later returned to Iraq where he built up a successful business, but came back to the UK after facing persecution.

The UK's leading universities have faced increasing pressure in recent years to widen participation and recruit more students from poorer backgrounds.

Last week a report by the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) warned that many students are unaware of the bursaries on offer for higher education.