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Winton Programme for the Physics of Sustainability

Department of Physics

David Harding


David Harding, the Founder, President and Head of Research of Winton Capital Management, has pledged to donate £20 million to the Cavendish Laboratory to set up and fund the Winton Programme for the Physics of Sustainability.  His gift, the largest donation to the Laboratory since its creation in 1874, will create a new programme in the physics of sustainability, applying physics to meet the growing demand on our natural resources.

The donation will support research programmes that explore basic science which can generate the new technologies and new industries that will be needed to meet the demands of a growing population on our already strained natural resources. The programme’s director is Professor Sir Richard Friend, the Cavendish Professor of Physics and a world-renowned leading expert on the physics, materials science and engineering of semiconductor devices.

The programme will provide PhD studentships, research fellowships, and support for new academic staff as well as investment in research infrastructure of the highest level, pump-priming for novel research projects, support for collaborations within the University and outside, and sponsorship for outreach activities.  There will be a strong emphasis upon fundamental research that will have importance for the sustainability agenda in the long-term.


The Programme

•  The programme will be supported by the Winton Fund for the Physics of Sustainability, the managers of which will be responsible for its planning and implementation, in conjunction with the Programme Director.

•  An International Advisory Board will be appointed to help inform the programme’s research, under the chairmanship of Professor Paul Alivisatos, Director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the USA.

•  The 'bottom-up' parts of the programme - PhD studentships and 5-year Fellowships - are already being advertised. The intention is to fund very bright younger physicists. The emphasis for Fellowships will be on exciting and novel ideas that bring new activities to the Cavendish.

•  ‘Top-down' activities will involve introducing new areas of research to the Cavendish research programme. In the 'materials' area, programmes may be generated in which the physics is supported by the complementary materials science and materials chemistry that allow us to take new directions.


Strong interactions already exist between the Cavendish Laboratory and;

•  the Department of Chemistry (including with the Melville Laboratory for Polymer Chemistry);

•  the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy;

•  the Department of Engineering (particularly the Centre for Nanoscience).

Collaborations will also be developed with cognate departments in other universities where there is complementary expertise. Cambridge collaborates worldwide, and the Winton Programme will strengthen current links and build new ones to UK and international partners.



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