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University launches first national fundraising campaign – University of Reading

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University launches first national fundraising campaign

Release Date 08 June 2016

IMAGINE campaign material

The University of Reading has launched its first national fundraising and volunteer campaign.

The IMAGINE campaign is designed to support projects which enhance the University’s teaching and to enable vital research to help tackle the world’s biggest problems. The public-phase of the campaign is launching today with the aim of hitting the £150 million over a 10-year period from 2010 to 2020.

Fundraising for the IMAGINE campaign will target: individuals; major donors; businesses; charities; philanthropic trusts and foundations and over 270,000 alumni across the world. The campaign aims to generate new investment for key research and teaching priorities across seven themes:

  • Educating for 21st Century lives: committing to supporting the best students to come here to realise their potential.
  • Environment: conducting world-leading research tackling the challenges of environmental change.
  • Food: working with industry and government to change how we produce and consume food – in particular, where food, health, wellbeing and environmental needs overlap.
  • Health: actively tackling the demands of complex and chronic health conditions.
  • Prosperity & Resilience: looking at the relationships and practices that enable us to create and sustain prosperity while enabling resilient development.
  • Heritage & Creativity: exploring contemporary challenges through the experiences of others.
  • Shaping the Future of Business: looking to bring business into schools, develop global citizens and support ethical business and diverse talents.

Through the campaign, the University also aims to inspire its alumni and supporters to volunteer and donate over 60,000 hours of their time to support the activities of the University and Campaign initiatives – from industry experts on our advisory panels; to student mentors; to internships and placements.

The campaign launched on Tuesday evening (7 June), with an event unveiling the IMAGINE theme and premiering the new campaign film.  The event featured a panel discussion on the impact of our research in the coming 90 years, chaired by alumnus Richard Sambrook, Director for the Centre of Journalism at Cardiff University and former BBC Head of News.

Watch the IMAGINE video here.

University of Reading Vice-Chancellor Sir David Bell said:

“We are one of the UK’s leading research intensive universities – with an outstanding academic heritage over the last 90 years which, today, involves tackling the biggest issues facing the world. We already generate more than £30m a year from publicly-funded Research Councils but this campaign will enable us to generate new private, charitable and donor income for our planned research programme and the opportunities we offer to students – both present and future. Building a broader donor base and volunteer network will enable us to invest for the long-term and give financial stability to our academic community.

“The ‘IMAGINE’ Campaign has been inspired by the words of the first Vice Chancellor of the University, W.M.Childs who said:

 “Universities are living things: they feel, think and do. They are centres of intelligence, they are concerned with ideas; they have outposts upon the frontiers of knowledge; they sometimes do beautiful and remarkable things; they dream and imagine”.”

Sir David told the audience at the IMAGINE Campaign launch:

“In the coming decades, we will face challenges so profound they will alter the relationships we have with one another and with our environment. These challenges are complex, and tackling them requires approaches that transcend the traditional boundaries of academic disciplines.

“This University is a place where great things are possible; where innovative ideas come to life, gather momentum and change what we think and do. Our campaign is about working together to IMAGINE and then realise solutions to a better future.”

To help reach the ambitious fundraising target of £150m over ten years, the University has set up a Campaign Board to support the fundraising and volunteering activities of the IMAGINE campaign.  The Campaign Board will be chaired by Lord Crisp, (Nigel Crisp), former Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health and Chief Executive of the NHS.

Other members of the IMAGINE Campaign Board include:

  • Dame Alison Carnwath, Chair of Land Securities, Independent director at Zurich Insurance Company Ltd, and graduate of the University of Reading.
  • Mr Earnest Brown,  Chairman for NovaQuest Capital Management, a private equity firm specialising in biopharmaceutical investment.
  • Mr See Lian Ong, former President of RICS, and graduate of the University of Reading.


The Director of the Campaigns and Supporter Engagement Office, Dale Cooper said:

“We have had a long history of exceptional support, even before the University was formally established in 1926. Our London Road campus was donated by the Palmer family and this generous tradition continues to this day. Through the support of friends, past students, charitable foundations and our corporate partners, we have secured more than £75m towards our goal which has funded many crucial projects, such as the Charlie Waller Institute, established to help young people tackle depression.”

Examples of projects supported by income secured to date include:

  • The Charlie Waller Institute helping young people tackle depression
  • Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Programme in Climate Justice
  • The Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research, researching ways to combat the increasing causes of heart attacks, strokes and heart failure
  • The ICMA Centre equipping students with the skills to be able to provide stability to the financial sector
  • Pathways to Property, opening up opportunities for young people to consider a career in the property helping to increase the diversity of talent in the sector.

Donate and/or volunteer to the IMAGINE campaign here.

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