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The impact of philanthropic support

Gifts 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, 8% of our 71,000-strong alumni community have generously given £5.5m towards Birkbeck funds. 

Read about the different ways you can make a gift to Birkbeck


When we allocate funds, 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. Gifts 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. 
  • Gifts 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. We are planning a new multi-million-pound teaching centre on Euston Road.

Supporting 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 gifts have supported. 

Research project: early Autism intervention studY

Research project: Understanding networks using mathematics

  • 'Delta matroids' are mathematical structures that help us to understand the properties of networks by studying their shape and structure. This can allow us to devise algorithms that may solve mathematical and real world problems, such as identifying genetic conditions and understanding DNA replication.
  • This research is the work of Dr Steve Noble, Sundstrom Reader in Mathematics. His post is kindly supported by alumna Geraldine Sundstrom.
  • Find out more about Steve Noble's work.

Supporting life-changing projects 

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

The Compass Project

  • In 2016, more than 44,000 people applied for asylum in the UK. Many of them had their education disrupted when they fled their home countries.
  • Thanks to philanthropic support from our alumni, the Blanes Trust, the Foundation, Allen & Overy and Santander, this year we have been able to provide a tailored outreach programme, as well as scholarships, for 20 asylum seekers.
  • Find out more about the Compass Project.


  • 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 web pages 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. 

2018-19 support in figures

During the last year, supports have given more than £3.9 million to the College and volunteered almost 3900 hours of their time.

Here are some of the ways they made a difference:

  • 254 students were supported with a bursary or scholarship.
  • 508 students were able to find the advice and support they needed to get ahead in their careers.
  • 37 research projects were supported, which are changing the world.
  • More than 150 alumni have informed us about their intentions to remember Birkbeck in their wills.

Support Birkbeck.