The University of Auckland launched the country’s biggest fundraising campaign to raise $300 million to address critical challenges in society and the economy.
The money will be used for research projects, scholarships and teaching resources to answer such questions including whether the country can be earthquake-proofed, the economy made more robust or lives transformed with creativity.
Donors have already committed some $152 million to health, medical, environmental and business research, including businessman George Mason with $5 million toward a Centre for the Natural Environment.
Hong Kong billionaire Solina Chau and consultancy PwC have each contributed $1 million toward PotentiaLab for business innovation and the Woolf Fisher Trust is supporting improvements in maths teaching with a $1.6 million donation.
The University's vice-chancellor, Professor Stuart McCutcheon, says the extra funds will generate and accelerate research more comprehensively and quickly than would otherwise be the case.
Focus on the big issues
“Our donors want us to focus on the big issues and they want to help us to do that,” he says.
“Future generations will have to face challenges that now seem intractable – climate change, unequal access to health care and education, the emergence of new diseases and an ageing population.
“The natural interest that people have in particular diseases and improvement in human health does lead to the medical faculty being a big recipient.”
It already has $23.7 million in donations, including $2.5 million from Auckland Medical Research Foundation for a “scholars fund” to recruit talented medical academics globally.
The campaign, called For All Our Futures, will run until 2020 and the funds will be managed by the university’s foundations.
Donations will be used either as spending on current activity or as an endowment – a capital sum from which returns are generated in perpetuity.
The University of Auckland was this week ranked 165th in the world in the Times Higher Education's latest survey, up from 172nd last year, out of 980 international institutions. Auckland was ranked 81st in another list, the QS World University Rankings, earlier this month.
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