The Esther Parkin Trust has made a generous £200,000 gift which, when added to previous donations of more than £748,000 from the Trust, will create an endowed fund to support PhD students at the University of Bath.

Named after the late, long-serving academic and founder of the Esther Parkin Trust, the David Parkin PhD Scholarships are open to students from the Americas (North, South, Central and the Caribbean) to carry out four years’ research in any discipline.

David joined the University of Bath shortly after it was established in 1966 and when his mother passed away in 1987, he set up the Esther Parkin Trust in her memory. For more than a decade, he supported students and research, as well as building the Esther Parkin Residences on campus in 1990, which still accommodates visiting academics to this day.

Since Dr Parkin’s death in 2002, the Trust continues his legacy by helping students facing financial hardship and funding PhD students and visiting professorships to attract the brightest minds to Bath.

The Board of Trustees is made up of those who knew Dr Parkin best, including Emeritus Professor and former Dean of the Faculty of Science, David Bird. “International collaboration was very important to him, and he had lots of stories of travelling while serving in the Merchant Navy in the North Atlantic convoys during World War II,” said Professor Bird.

“David later joined the University as a Senior Lecturer in Astrophysics and loved collaborating on research projects with colleagues from around the world. That’s why he built the residences for visiting academics and supported students from overseas, and the reason the Trust continues to support talent from around the world.”

These scholarships are part of the University of Bath’s prestigious Research with Impact PhD Scholarships. The programme, funded by generous philanthropic donations, will initially target supporting 28 students over four years with a UKRI-pegged stipend and some study costs while the University funds the fees.

“PhD students are absolutely vital to research,” adds Professor Bird. “They have the time and space to explore and create new knowledge, but often what prevents students from getting onto the ladder is lack of funds. That’s why scholarships really matter.”

Professor Sarah Hainsworth OBE FREng, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Bath, said: “We are hugely grateful to The Esther Parkin Trust for their long-standing support. This gift is a wonderful way of marking the impact that David and his mother had on the University and will enable us to continue to attract high-calibre students from around the world to produce research with impact.”