The Crick’s PhD programme has received a generous £1 million donation from Trailfinders founder, Mike Gooley CBE.
The donation will be used to help fund the Crick’s four-year PhD programme, which attracts some of the most talented and ambitious young scientists in the world and provides them with the opportunity to embark on their careers in biomedical research in the stimulating and supportive environment of the Crick.
There are 200 PhD students at various stages of their studies at the Crick at any one time. Students on the programme register with one of our partner universities; UCL, Imperial College London or King's College London.
Gooley himself showed an early interest in science, studying A-level physics and chemistry followed by atomic physics and fuels and explosives at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. His fascination with research endures today.
“I’ve always been interested in the power of science to better people’s quality of life, in particular discovery research, which aims to expand our understanding of the basic biology underlying human health and disease,” said Gooley.
It was during a conversation with the Crick’s director Paul Nurse that Mike became aware of the PhD programme’s potential.
“I was in awe meeting Sir Paul as a world-renowned scientist, but despite his extraordinary achievements I found him to be very modest,” he recalled. “I enjoyed hearing about his hopes for the institute and the PhD programme. Knowing that I will help to develop the ‘Sir Pauls’ of the future and be a small part of the Crick’s success brings great satisfaction.”
Gooley established the global travel company Trailfinders in 1970, followed by the Mike Gooley Trailfinders Charity in 1995. Since its inception, the charity has given more than £70m to charitable causes, including Cancer Research UK’s Create the Change campaign which helped to build the Crick.
Paul Nurse said, “It was a pleasure to receive this transformational gift from one of the institute’s longest-standing friends. It will allow us to equip our talented junior scientists with the tools and knowledge required to build exceptional careers in biomedical research. Thank you to Mike for his extraordinary generosity.”
Referring to the institute’s recent work on SARS-CoV-2 research and testing, Gooley added: “The pandemic has shown once again how integral the Crick’s science is to society, here in the UK and globally, and I believe philanthropy is a key factor in its success. I hope to be able to continue supporting this wonderful institute in the years to come and that others may feel inspired to do the same.”