The Catherine Hughes Fund was established in 2017. Its purpose is to fund initiatives to raise aspirations and expand horizons in the student community, with a focus on intellectual curiosity and social conscience.

Please note that applications have now closed for Hilary Term. They will open for Trinity Term in March.

About the Catherine Hughes Fund

Catherine Hughes (née Pestell) was Principal of Somerville between 1989 and 1996. A diplomat and senior civil servant, she was born in County Durham and came to St Hilda’s Oxford after winning a scholarship to Leeds High School. Hughes was elected Principal of Somerville in 1989 and had a particular interest in the intellectual development and wellbeing of students. She famously oversaw the College’s decision to admit male students, a move which was undoubtedly controversial in some quarters, but which many argue stood in Somerville’s tradition of widening access to all who would do well here. Following her retirement in 1996, Hughes made generous gifts to support students and Fellows in History, English and Modern Languages. She died on 10th December 2014 leaving a generous bequest to Somerville.

Eligibility

Enrolled students are eligible. This includes research graduates who have submitted their thesis, but not received leave to supplicate. Students who are on suspension, visiting students and associate students are not eligible. Please note that it is not possible to use these grants to fund medical electives. The project does not need to be course-related. Applicants should be in need of financial support, and be able to demonstrate that their proposed project meets the aim of the Catherine Hughes Fund:

  • To fund initiatives to raise aspirations and expand horizons in the student community with a focus on intellectual curiosity and social conscience.

The planned travel or project must start after a certain date each term. In Trinity Term this is Wednesday 22nd May. It is not possible to be awarded retrospective funding unless there are exceptional circumstances. There is limited funding available so priority will be given to those who have not previously received awards.

In previous years there has been a separate selection process for Catherine Hughes Internship Awards. Students who require funding for internships, research placements and unpaid work experience should now apply for Catherine Hughes Grants. 

Award levels

Environmental sustainability is integral to Somerville’s commitment to social responsibility. Students who are applying for funding for travel within Europe will now be incentivised to choose lower carbon travel solutions. The following award levels will apply unless there are exceptional circumstances. These could include disabilities that prevent long train journeys, caring responsibilities or the need to avoid travelling through particular countries.

Travel within the UK or outside Europe Up to £3,000 over the length of the course
Travel within Europe which does not involve flying Up to £3,600 (20% more funding) over the length of the course
Travel within Europe which involves flying Up to £2,400 (20% less funding) over the length of the course

 

Students should refer to the University’s Guide to Sustainable Business Travel for information about reducing carbon emissions. They are also encouraged to offset flights using an offsetting scheme compliant with the Gold Standard.

Graduate application process

Please note that applications have now closed for Hilary Term. They will open for Trinity Term in March.

  • Graduates should complete the application form and email it to their Supervisor, copying in their College Adviser and the . We recommend that this is done at least a week before the application deadline. This is to allow enough time for Supervisors to complete their section. Students should also include any evidence of estimated or actual costs.
  • Supervisors should complete their section and email the application form to the  by the deadline. In Trinity Term this will be 12 noon on Monday 6 May.
  • The Scholarships and Funding Officer will forward applications to College Advisers for their comments.

Undergraduate application process

Please note that applications have now closed for Hilary Term. They will open for Trinity Term in March.

  • Undergraduates should complete the application form and email it to the  by the deadline. In Trinity Term this will be 12 noon on Monday 6 May.
  • Students should also include any evidence of estimated or actual costs.
  • The Scholarships and Funding Officer will forward applications to Personal Tutors for their comments.

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (BMBCH) application process

Please note that applications have now closed for Hilary Term. They will open for Trinity Term in March.

  • BMBCH students should complete the application form and email it to the by the deadline. In Trinity Term this will be 12 noon on Monday 6 May. Students should also include any evidence of estimated or actual costs.
  • The Scholarships and Funding Officer will forward applications to Personal Tutors for their comments.

Application and project deadlines

Applications are accepted each term.

Term Deadline for application to be received from student (undergraduate and BMBCH) or Supervisor (graduate) Project must start after this date
Michaelmas Term 2023 12 noon on Monday 16th October 2023 Wednesday 1st November 2023
Hilary Term 2024 12 noon on Monday 22nd January 2024 Wednesday 7th February 2024
Trinity Term 2024 12 noon on Monday 6th May 2024 Wednesday 22nd May 2024

 

Decisions

Decisions will be made by Somerville College Travel and Special Project Grants Committee.

Reporting

Successful applicants will be expected to submit a report after the completion of their project.

Queries

If you have any queries, please email the Scholarships and Funding Officer.