New funding and scholarships announced in significant boost for Fulbright Programme

Senior government representatives from the United States and the United Kingdom announced new funding and postgraduate awards for the Fulbright Programme in a boost that underlines both governments’ commitment to the future of Fulbright and to the exchange of ideas, innovation and knowledge between the US and the UK.

At an event celebrating the US-UK Fulbright programme’s 70th anniversary, Sam Gyimah MP, UK Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation announced last night that Her Majesty’s Government would be committing increased funding of £400,000 to the US-UK Fulbright programme – bringing the total amount to £1 million – to support more US-UK Fulbright exchanges for postgraduates and scholars.

The Minister spoke alongside Assistant Secretary of State of Educational and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce, who unveiled a new joint Fulbright award for advanced research and study with the prestigious Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. This fellowship will support a scholar to work on a project related to health and wellbeing in the first year, making use of the Smithsonian’s exceptional collections.

Also announced was a 70th Fulbright Anniversary Award which will be granted next year to a UK postgraduate student who most embodies Senator Fulbright’s value of international understanding.

These three announcements represent a significant boost for the US-UK programme – underscoring its relevance for both countries and creating further opportunities for collaboration between the US and UK.

The increased government funding will create more opportunities for British postgraduate students and academics and redress the current imbalance in the programme. It will also allow the US-UK Fulbright Commission to participate fully in the Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching programme for exceptional British teachers to study and research in the US.

Speaking on behalf of the UK-US Fulbright Commission, its Chairman Sir Nigel Sheinwald said:

“Today’s announcements are testimony to the continuing relevance of the Fulbright programme in creating high value cultural and educational opportunities for our young people which strengthen our economies and societies and cement the exceptionally close relationship between our nations. We are enormously grateful to both governments for their enhanced support as well as those individuals who have so generously contributed to the anniversary award that we have announced this evening. Here’s to another 70 great years.”

Marie Royce, US Assistant Secretary of State of Educational and Cultural Affairs, said:

"The record of achievements by U.S.-UK Fulbright alumni is remarkable and something we can all be proud of... When Senator Fulbright began this program, he said it was about 'leadership, learning, and empathy between countries.' All of the alumni gathered here - and the 23,000 alumni of the U.S.-UK Fulbright program over the past seventy years - embody those three things, and they inspire us with their accomplishments... 

Today, joined by these and many other Fulbrighters, we look forward from this anniversary to the next 70 years. Together we renew our commitment to a Fulbright Program that continues to be dynamic and relevant to the lives and relationships of individuals, communities, and countries."

John Davis, Provost and Under Secretary for Museums, Education and Research, Smithsonian Institution, and Fulbright alumnus, said:

“On the 70th anniversary of academic exchange between the United States and the United Kingdom through the Fulbright Program, the Smithsonian is delighted to partner with the US-UK Fulbright Commission to establish an award that will bring British scholars to the Smithsonian for advanced research and study. 

The Smithsonian’s origins in the United Kingdom and the goals it shares with the Fulbright Program to increase and diffuse knowledge and build broad based understanding between our two countries promises a productive and mutually beneficial partnership. We look forward to receiving the first Fulbright UK-Smithsonian fellow under this award next year as a first step in a long-term relationship that will increase knowledge in areas of vital importance in today’s world while building the Smithsonian’s ties with the British academic community.”

The celebration was held in the Speaker’s Rooms at the Houses of Parliament, where the original treaty establishing the US-UK Fulbright programme was signed in September 1948, and hosted by British American Parliamentary Group.

To mark the 70th anniversary, a number of Members of Parliament signed an Early Day Motion, recognising the achievements and impact of the programme. A Congressional Note was read out in the House of Representatives, reflecting on how these exchanges have strengthened the special relationship between the US and the UK, forging a bond between our two nations and leading to notable achievements in science, business and the arts. Mr. Speaker read the text of both statements aloud to the assembled guests, including Fulbright alumni, grantees and supporters.

Senator Fulbright with UK Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin and US Chargé d'Affaires Don Bliss at the signing of the treaty establishing the US-UK Fulbright Commission, 22 September 1948

Senator Fulbright with UK Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin and US Chargé d'Affaires Don Bliss at the signing of the treaty establishing the US-UK Fulbright Commission, 22 September 1948