Virgin Unite, Oxford University Set up Scholarship Program

virgin_uniteOXFORD, England (Oxford University PR) — Galactic Unite, the non-profit collaboration between Virgin Galactic and Virgin Unite, has partnered with Oxford University to launch the Galactic Unite Joan Gillies Scholarship Programme. Applications are now open for the programme, which supports living costs for students undertaking their final year of the four-year Physics undergraduate degree at Oxford University.

The programme will award four one-year scholarships for a total of £30,000, in October of 2013 and spring of 2014. The scholarships will apply to the students’ fourth year of studies, which will commence in the autumn of 2014 and 2015. The inaugural scholarships are open to talented Oxford University physics students who are from under-represented groups, have outstanding academic records and aim to use their degrees to solve global challenges.

Virgin Galactic Future Astronaut and Scottish entrepreneur Brian Gillies provided the generous donation to make this scholarship programme possible.

“This donation was made in honour of my mother, Joan Mitchell Gillies, who had to forego her own promising education and leave school at fourteen to support her family. She then brought up four high-achieving children with very few resources and also because I myself have three daughters, one of whom hopes to go into space one day soon. My parents taught me about hard work, compassion and giving a helping hand to others when you can.

“My wish is that the Gillies scholars will go on in turn to use their talents to achieve – and help create a better world,’ Gillies said. “I also hope that the Oxford scholarships will help overcome the reluctance of non-traditional groups, particularly young women, to make a career in physics in the UK, and hope my gift encourages others to come forward to support further promising students at Oxford.”

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