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School of Arts and Humanities

Cambridge receives £1.2 million donation to support Divinity students

A new studentship fund for postgraduates in the field of New Testament Studies has been established at the Faculty of Divinity with a £1.2 million donation from the Kirby Laing foundation.

A new studentship fund for postgraduates in the field of New Testament Studies has been established at the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge with a £1.2 million donation from the Kirby Laing foundation.

The Kirby Laing Graduate Studentships will allow the best and brightest graduate students in New Testament Studies to study at Cambridge, regardless of financial background. The fund complements an earlier donation made by the Kirby Laing Foundation in 2007 to secure the future of the Lady Margaret Professorship in Divinity, the oldest Chair in the University, which was originally founded by Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII, in 1502.

Professor Judith Lieu FBA, the current Lady Margaret Professor, explained that each year a number of highly qualified students are unable to take up the offer of a graduate place at Cambridge because of a lack of funding. “We shall now be able to offer full funding to the best MPhil or PhD applicants in need of support, either from home or overseas, to cover both their fees and living costs”, Professor Lieu said. “New Testament Studies at Cambridge has an international reputation for its breadth and for the excellence of its scholarship and research supervision. We expect keen interest in the Kirby Laing Graduate Studentships, which will be offered for the first time this year”.

The new Kirby Laing scholars will become part of Cambridge’s diverse research community, and will have the opportunity to develop their ideas as well as draw on each other’s expertise and that of world-class academics to foster creativity and innovative approaches to Biblical studies that will prepare them to be the future generation of leading theologians, scholars and thinkers in their fields.

Cambridge has an 800 year tradition of religious and Biblical scholarship, and continues to take a leading role in academic discussion today. Religion frames many modern debates in politics, society and the media, and Biblical texts are being read and interpreted in new situations across the world, often in the context of social change and flux. Christians and others who address social and moral issues have to ask what these texts, which are seen by many as a source of moral authority and spiritual insight, can bring to contemporary understandings of ourselves and our world.  The Kirby Laing scholars will be at the forefront of these debates, both within Cambridge and beyond.

The Kirby Laing Foundation was established in 1972 as part of the Laing Family Trusts, which seek to support religious, cultural, educational and charitable activities both in the UK and overseas.

Cambridge’s fundraising Campaign, which launched on 16 October 2015, is the largest philanthropic campaign for the University to date, and seeks to raise £2 billion to support investment in research, education and resources to ensure that the University continues to have a global impact for generations to come. Support for graduate students, who push forward the boundaries of knowledge and understanding, is a key component. For more information on the Campaign and the initiatives it supports, see

The Kirby Laing Graduate Studentship will be offered for the first time this year to students who will take up their places at Cambridge in 2016.

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