Formula 1 to give full scholarship to Cambridge engineering student from underrepresented group

This will be for an incoming student in the academic year 2021-22, whose tuition fees and maintenance costs will be fully covered by the scholarship

Formula 1 is to fully fund an undergraduate from an underrepresented background to study for an engineering degree at the University of Cambridge, according to a recent university statement.

The scholarship will be administered by the Cambridge Trust and will cover the student’s tuition fees and maintenance costs for the four year duration of the course. This scheme is operating at six universities, including Cambridge, and funding ten students in total across those institutions.

Professor Richard Prager, the Head of the University of Cambridge’s Engineering Department, says the university is “incredibly grateful” to Formula 1 for this “generous scholarship”, which has been funded by a personal donation of one million dollars (around £725,000) by Formula 1’s Non-Executive Chairman, Chase Carey.

The new Formula 1 Engineering Scholarships scheme will provide for ten students in total, who will be from underrepresented groups, including ethnic minorities, women, and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. All students with one of these scholarships will have their tuition fees and maintenance costs fully covered.

These students will enrol on their courses at the start of the 2021-22 academic year, doing their undergraduate in the UK and their Masters in Italy.

The participating universities represent different regions within the UK and Italy, including, as well as Cambridge, Coventry, Manchester Metropolitan, MUNER Motor vehicle University in Italy, Oxford, and Strathclyde. Each university will run an independent selection process to determine the scholarship recipients.

All ten Formula 1 teams have committed to providing working experience opportunities to a scholar during their time at university.

As well as the Scholarship Programme, Formula 1 is launching an Apprentice Programme and Internship Programme for underrepresented groups.

This follows Formula 1’s announcement last year that as a sport it would, according to the university’s statement, “focus specifically on creating employment and education opportunities for underrepresented groups.”

Professor Richard Prager, the Head of the University of Cambridge’s Engineering Department, said the university is “incredibly grateful” to Formula 1 for creating this “generous scholarship” for one of its students.

He explained how this scholarship for underrepresented groups will be positive for the Department, saying that engineering is closely linked to “problem solving, creativity and team-work, which all benefit greatly from a diverse and inclusive environment.”

Prager also hopes that the scholarship will “highlight the importance of this priority” of diversity and inclusion for the Department of Engineering and the wider university, thus hopefully encouraging “many other students from currently underrepresented backgrounds to consider studying engineering at Cambridge.”

Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO of Formula 1, recognises that Formula 1 is a “global sport with fans across the world” and so wants Formula 1’s employee base to reflect this diversity, setting up the Scholarship Programme in order to ensure “talented people” from underrepresented groups have the “best opportunities” to get into this field.

Domenicali continues, explaining that last year’s launch of Formula 1’s #WeRaceAsOne platform shows Formula 1’s “commitment to make real change”, and emphasising that the whole sport is “united” in doing this: “We will continue to drive forward with our plans to be more diverse, more sustainable and leave a lasting positive impact on the countries and communities we visit.”

This follows an announcement made by Formula 1 last year, where it outlined plans to increase diversity and inclusion across Formula 1, building on the wider plans set out in its diversity and inclusion strategy in 2019. 

Feature image credit: Bilyana Tomova