How your donations help Birkbeck

Donations from alumni, individuals, companies, trusts and foundations make an immediate impact on the life of the College, by funding areas that will benefit current and future generations of students and make Birkbeck an even better place to study. 

To date, over 8% of our 55,000 strong alumni community have generously donated to these priority areas, raising just over £1,000,000. 

Find out about how you can donate to Birkbeck


When we allocate donations, we prioritise financial support for students, enhancing the student experience and ensuring our buildings and facilities are the best they can be. 

Student support

  • 40% of Birkbeck students require some form of financial assistance and Birkbeck is committed to giving lower-income and non-traditional students the opportunity to study. Donations enable us to give non-repayable cash bursaries of £1000 to students with a household income of less than £25,000. Our bursary recipients often tell us that this support - which they use for books, travel and childcare - was a key factor in enabling them to complete their studies. 
  • Donations also help us offer various support programmes to help students with the challenges of balancing work, personal life and study.  

Student experience

  • Gifts to enhance the student experience ensure future generations of students have the best facilities, support, advice and career guidance during their time at Birkbeck. 
  • These gifts also help us provide additional learning resources, such as employability workshops and disability support, as well as enhanced academic and social facilities. 

State-of-the-art facilities

  • From cutting-edge microscopes to state-of-the-art IT suites, it takes significant investment to maintain the highest quality facilities for our students. 

Your donations Support our research

Birkbeck is a world-leading research university, where over 90% of our academics are research-active and pushing back the boundaries of knowledge. Here are just some of the important, often groundbreaking, projects that your donations have helped fund. 

Research project: Advancing the study of autism 

  • By studying brain development at a very early age, researchers at the Wohl Wolfson ToddlerLab are revolutionising our understanding of autism. This research has been made possible by donations from the Maurice Wohl Charitable Trust, the Wolfson Foundation and the Garfield Weston Foundation. 
  • Find out more about the ToddlerLab

Research project: Vital research into racism, prejudice and xenophobia

  • The Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism is a centre of innovative research and teaching, shaping public policy and discussion on antisemitism and other forms of racism in society today. 
  • Established by the Pears Foundation, and with funding from other donors, the Institute’s research includes the relationship between immigration, antisemitism and toleration in Europe. Over 1000 people attend the Institute’s events every year. 
  • Nikolaus Wachsmann, Professor of History at Birkbeck, and a Pears Institute Associate, was recently awarded the prestigious Wolfson History Prize for his book KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps (2015). 

Your donations support important projects 

As well as supporting our research, donations also help with important projects that benefit the life of students. 

Birkbeck's second campus in Stratford, east London 

  • In October 2013, we opened a new campus in the heart of Stratford, East London, where higher education participation rates per capita are the lowest in the UK. 
  • The £33 million building, coupled with Birkbeck’s unique evening teaching, are encouraging people in east London to access higher education. The new campus features a 300-seat lecture theatre, a specialist education advice and guidance hub, a multi-functional learning centre and dance and performance art spaces. Generous contributions have helped make this possible. 


  • The Counselling Service has used funds kindly donated by alumni to develop self-help resources for students. This collection of leaflets, in both paper and electronic form, can be used alone or in conjunction with counselling, to help students manage emotional or psychological difficulties. 
  • These resources are hugely beneficial for students, particularly those who are reluctant to access the Counselling Service and those experiencing difficulties during holiday periods when the Service is closed. 
  • The self-help collection was launched in October 2015 and has been featured on the Counselling Service webpages and in student and staff news features. Paper leaflets were handed out during Orientation week and on Mental Health Awareness Day, as well as to students enquiring at the Wellbeing Service and meeting with counsellors. 
  • The electronic resources have been accessed by almost 400 students in seven months, with noted increases in usage at exam time and in the middle of the second term. 


  • Many Birkbeck students hope to use their studies as a springboard into other careers. GradCare equips them with up-to-date skills to help them succeed in a competitive job market and ease their transition into a new career. 
  • Offered in February and April 2016, GradCare consists of six workshops spread across three days, which aim to rectify misconceptions that mature graduates often hold about traditional areas of employment. Key issues and skills were identified and covered, including exploring unrealised career potential and practical job hunting strategies. 
  • 30 students participated, with a good mix of both undergraduate and postgraduate students from all subject areas. Feedback was very positive. 


  • This pilot project provided public engagement training for current postgraduate students embarking on academic careers. It also provided transferable skills for the workplace, developing students' communication, presentation and influencing skills. 
  • External trainers supported the project and they also helped with the establishment of the College’s new Public Engagement Committee, which will play a vital role in developing and implementing the College's public engagement strategy. 
  • Students taking part in the training have already gone on to use their new skills in a number of ways, including applying for funding from the College’s ISSF Public Engagement Fund and running activities at the Curious Festival, held in the King's Cross Knowledge Quarter. 


  • PhD researchers who hope to embark on an academic career often struggle to find opportunities, so this three-day programme considered non-academic and alternative careers, helping them to identify transferrable skills and consider their unrealised career potential. 
  • Feedback was extremely positive and participants especially benefitted from networking with PhD researchers from across the College. 
  • Our Careers and Employability team are now considering developing online support and resources for our PhD community. 

Find out more about the Alumni Innovation Grant for staff.

2015-16 donations in figures

Our donors gave £1.79m to the College, and alumni pledged £248,000 in our telephone campaign. Of that: 

  • 35% was spent on postgraduate support 
  • 24% was spent on research and teaching 
  • 11% was spent on undergraduate support 
  • 11% was spent on careers and employability 
  • 8% was spent on student facilities 
  • 2% was spent on international student support 
  • 2% was spent on childcare support 
  • 2% was spent on fieldwork costs 
  • 1% was spent on disability and counselling support 
  • 1% was spent on student experience 
  • 1% was spent on archive digitalisation. 

In addition: 

  • 204 undergraduates received hardship bursaries 
  • 66 students could afford to have a dyslexia assessment 
  • 36 students received help with the cost of childcare 
  • 11 students received funding for vital fieldwork. 

Find out about the ways that you can donate to Birkbeck