The application for 15 Churchill Scholarships in science, mathematics, and engineering is now open, with a November 2 nomination deadline for matriculation in the 2021-22 academic year. Applicants for the one Kanders Churchill Scholarship in Science Policy should check with the Cambridge University graduate admissions portal.
Apply to the Churchill Scholarship.
Apply to the Kanders Churchill Scholarship.
The Churchill Scholarship and Kanders Churchill Scholarship provide funding to American students for a year of Master’s study at the University of Cambridge, based at Churchill College. The program was set up at the request of Sir Winston Churchill in order to fulfil his vision of US–UK scientific exchange with the goal of advancing science and technology on both sides of the Atlantic, helping to ensure our future prosperity and security.
Many Churchill Scholars describe their year in Cambridge as the best year of their lives since it allows scholars to form friendships with their future colleagues from around the world, to attend the only college at Cambridge that is focused on STEM subjects, and have an opportunity for independent research (often leading to publications) that Churchill Scholars will not find again until well into their PhD programs.
The University of Cambridge closed its laboratories and classrooms in March, 2020 and is currently in the process of creating reopening protocols. Members of the 2019-20 cohort are able to continue their degrees remotely. As of now, the 2020-21 academic year is scheduled to go ahead as planned, albeit with large lectures moved online. The Foundation recognizes that many future applicants to the Churchill Scholarship must take courses pass/fail under lockdown conditions and that all students will have diminished opportunities for independent research during this period. We have added a question about the lockdown period to the application, in order to better understand each nominee's unique experiences, with no expectation that applicants are able to conduct research while sheltering in place. We know that the effects of this pandemic will last several years and hope that all students can protect their health and that of their communities during this time, with full confidence that their future opportunities are not at risk.
I believe that I shall look back on my year at Churchill as the first year when I stopped thinking about myself as a student, and started thinking about myself as an academic and as a researcher.
It has been incredible to be able to start a research project and devote all of one’s time to it, delving much more deeply into topics I have previously studied, running my own experiments, and developing conclusions as I obtain results.
When I started thinking about UK fellowships, I wasn't sure if it was worth taking a year out of an already long MD-PhD track for a master's education that would probably be dwarfed by two doctoral degrees. It was easy to mentally write off the nebulous cultural experiences I would have and the potential contacts I would make. Looking back, I find it hard to believe that I was so naïve – the year was one of the most exciting, interesting, and valuable of my life.
The year was life-changing!
Of all the amazing opportunities this year has afforded me, however, the one that influenced me the most was simply the experience of living and studying abroad with people from all over the world.
The past year was a defining year for me, a chance for me to figure out who I am and who I want to be.
Life seems to consist of a handful of key decisions. For me, one such proverbial “fork in the road” was when I was given the opportunity to attend the University of Cambridge as a Churchill Scholar. As I look back, it was an unforgettably adventurous year: total immersion in the unique academic environment of Cambridge, blessed with the chance to pursue my research of interest in a world-class lab.
The cultural understanding I have gained at Cambridge is simply unattainable in the United States. The people I have met hold scores of deeply held cultural and political beliefs that have made me seriously consider why we do the things we do at home. For someone like me who has never spent serious time in a foreign country before, I believe this is the most important aspect of the program.
I have only been in Cambridge now for a few months, but I have learned – finally – how to be both passionate about my field and to be able to find the time to become great friends with others who share similar passions about their respective fields of study.
I encountered new ideas and new research and met students and professors with whom I shall continue to work for the rest of my career.
My year at Cambridge was without a doubt the best year of my life to date, and I know that the people I met there, and the experience that I gained, will continue to have a positive impact on my life far into the future.
I’ve realized that scientific creativity and productivity can benefit by consciously limiting work time and setting aside downtime during which one can read, think, and do relaxing things other than science. My year at Cambridge was a highly worthwhile immersion in a new scientific community and a new culture of doing science.
The project I worked on is a success, for not only do I have several manuscripts in the process of preparation and a thesis I am extremely proud of, I am also confident in my abilities a scientist to design and execute elegant experiments to tackle complex problems. It is for this reason that I would refute the notion that a top young American scientist spending a year at Cambridge is a ‘break from their real studies.’
Churchill Scholar Alumni