Endowment of Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, 1901

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The Scottish-American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie's endowment of $10,000,000 to the Universities of Scotland in 1901 permitted many students to attend university who could not previously have afforded it. It permitted Edinburgh University to embark on a long overdue programme of building works and continues to be a major source of research funding.

The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland was established on 21 August 1902, under a Trust Deed signed by Carnegie. Its principal aims were to enable university attendance by 'the deserving and qualified youth of that country to whom the payment of fees might act as a barrier' and to 'improve and extend the opportunities for scientific research in the universities of Scotland'. It was incorporated by royal charter in August 1902.

The sum donated by Carnegie was without precedent. It yielded over £100,000 per year at a time when government funding of the Scottish universities came to less than half that amount. Its most immediate impact was to place a university education within range of a much wider social range of students. By 1912, it is estimated that about two-thirds of Edinburgh University's art students were beneficiaries of grants from the Carnegie Trust.

Edinburgh University also spent part of the income on new buildings to facilitate scientific research, providing better laboratory accommodation for the Departments of Engineering and Natural Philosophy, both of which moved into new premises in High School Yards in 1906.

Edinburgh University continues to benefit from the Carnegie Trust's support of research and funding of facilities.

Other University Events in 1901


  • Robert D. Anderson, 'The Construction of a Modern University', in Robert D. Anderson, Michael Lynch, and Nicholas Phillipson, The University of Edinburgh: An Illustrated History (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2003), pp. 103-207.
  • Sir Thomas Henry Holland, 'Introduction', in A. Logan Turner (ed.), History of the University of Edinburgh 1883-1933 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1933), pp. xiii-xxx.