University of Florida alum selected for Gates Cambridge Scholarship

36 future leaders chosen for prestigious Cambridge University Scholarship, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Thirty-six of the most academically outstanding and socially committed US citizens have been selected to be part of the 2017 class of Gates Cambridge Scholars at the University of Cambridge. The University of Florida is pleased to have an alumnus selected as a Gates Cambridge Scholar for the third year in a row. Mr. Simpson follows Yevgen Sautin (UF class of 2012, 2016 Gates Scholar) and Juan Serrano (UF class of 2014, 2015 Gates Scholar) to Cambridge.

Grant Simpson will pursue an MPhil in Chemistry with the aim of developing new, more selective cancer therapeutics. His research project involves using quadruple helical DNA structures as platforms to hold both cancer-targeting antibodies and cancer-cell-killing drugs. He intends to develop synthetic methods to chemically link these different classes of biomolecules in order to circumvent the poor efficacy and side effects of current, standard-of-care chemotherapy and increase the therapeutic utility of first generation antibody-drug conjugates. Grant, majored in Chemistry and Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience and minored in Philosophy at UF.

The prestigious postgraduate scholarship programme – which fully funds postgraduate study and research in any subject at the University of Cambridge - was established through a US $210 million donation to the University of Cambridge from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000; this remains the largest single donation to a UK university. Since the first class in 2001 there have been more than 1,600 Gates Cambridge Scholars from 104 countries who represent more than 600 universities globally (more than 200 in the USA) and 80 academic departments and all 31 Colleges at Cambridge. The gender balance is approximately 50% men and women.

In addition to outstanding academic achievement the programme places emphasis on social leadership in its selection process as the mission of the programme is to create a global network of future leaders committed to improving the lives of others.

In the US round 2017 approximately 800 candidates applied for the scholarship; 200 of these were nominated by their prospective departments in Cambridge and 97 were put forward for interview by shortlisting committees and were interviewed by panels of academics from the UK and USA in Washington D.C. at the end of January.

The 36 US Scholars-elect will join 54 Scholars from other parts of the world, who will be announced in early April after interviews in late March and will complete the class of 2017. The class of 2017 will join current Gates Cambridge Scholars in October to form a community of approximately 220 Scholars in residence at the world-leading University of Cambridge.