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The University of Oxford is delighted to announce that the John Oldacre Foundation has renewed its commitment to the work of Oxford’s Department of Plant Sciences by pledging £1,000,000 to support DPhil (PhD) scholarship provision in perpetuity.

Wheat grown by researchers in the department of Plant Sciences to improve photosynthesis © University of Oxford
Researchers in the department of Plant Sciences are using synthetic biology approaches to improve wheat photosynthesis. Photo: University of Oxford

The foundation provides financial support for the advancement and promotion of research and education in agricultural sciences specifically for the public benefit, including supporting the publication of impactful research results.

Sustained, long-term research and innovation is vital in order to address the major challenges facing the agricultural sector within the UK and throughout the world. The John Oldacre Scholarship scheme will provide essential training for the next generation of plant scientists.

A lasting legacy in agricultural research

Recognising the critical role played by graduate students in driving forward research programmes and delivering insights and breakthroughs, the endowment will provide financial security to recruit and support the very best young scientists. This lasting legacy in the field of agricultural research in John Oldacre’s name will begin in the 2019-2020 academic year, with scholarship provision covering combined course fees and living expenses.

DPhil students benefit considerably from the opportunity to become part of the remarkable intellectual hub that exists within the Department of Plant Sciences, one of the leading UK university centres of plant biology research. The department traces its origins of botanical research and teaching at Oxford back to the founding of the Botanic Garden in 1621 and, today, ranks top in the UK for its biological research output according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF 2014). Oxford’s relationships with prominent national and international organisations in the field of agriculture also play an important role in the department’s work.

Henry Shouler, Chairman of Trustees of the John Oldacre Foundation, says: ‘The trustees are very pleased to have entered into partnership with Oxford University, which will ensure that John Oldacre's legacy will be maintained in perpetuity through the research and experience of the John Oldacre scholarship recipients.’

This donation is the next step in an already successful partnership between Oxford and the John Oldacre Foundation, which has supported Professor Phil Poole’s research on soil quality and nitrogen fixing crops and Dr Tonya Lander’s work on mapping pollinator movement in agricultural landscapes.

Professor Liam Dolan FRS, Sherardian Professor of Botany at the Department of Plant Sciences, says: ‘We value our longstanding relationship with the John Oldacre Foundation and we look forward to welcoming students who will not only benefit from this generous scholarship scheme but who will keep the John Oldacre legacy alive through their careers, their research and their future impact on agricultural sciences.’

To find out more, visit Oxford's Plant Sciences website or email the department’s development team.

Story courtesy of Oxford Thinking

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