Dolby gifts £85 million to revamp Cambridge University research facility


Andrew Milner and Charles Keidan


The UK’s Cambridge University has received a donation of £85 million to help build a new physics research centre.

The gift, from the estate of Ray Dolby who pioneered noise reduction recording technology, is the ‘largest philanthropic donation ever made to UK science’, according to University sources.

The money will go towards the redevelopment of the university’s Cavendish research laboratory, which has made some significant contributions to scientific research in its nearly 150 year history – 29 of its researchers have won Nobel Prizes.

The gift makes the Dolby family the second-largest donor in its history. The biggest is the Gates Foundation, which gave $210 million for scholarships in 2000.

The Dolby donation comes at a time of increasing philanthropic contributions to higher education. A recent survey of British universities reports that donations have now exceeded £1 billion per year for the first time, with almost half of new funding going to Oxford and Cambridge.

For more on philanthropy to higher education, see news of a recent gift to Edinburgh University’s Futures Institute on the Alliance blog.

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