Wolfson College has harnessed the power of crowdfunding to raise more than £50,000 for a new academic fellowship.
The campaign, which has been running since 6th October, aims to fund a two-year post-doctoral Research Fellowship in Tibetan and Himalayan studies.
Although it is becoming increasingly common in the US, crowd-funding academia is still rare in the UK.
Ulrike Roesler, Associate Professor of Tibean and Himalayan studies, commented: “This is the first time we have been involved in crowd-funding, and it has been an unusual, thrilling experience that has kept us on our toes for about 12 weeks. After several weeks of hope and despair, excitement and nail-biting, the campaign is now about to finish, and I am enormously glad to report that it has been a success!”
As well as support from Oxford academics, this project has received international attention, particularly from Tibet. His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa, spiritual head of the Drukpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, has offered invitations to his exclusive Pad-Yatra annual walk to those who have pledged £1,000 or more.
His charity, Live to Love, also boosted the campaign with an £18,000 donation at the beginning of this week, leaving just over £1,000 to be raised in the remaining five days before the deadline.
Oxford University is currently the only UK University to offer a Master’s course in Tibetan and Himalayan studies.
With regard to the importance of facilitating the course, Roesler remarked: “The Tibetan speaking communities are spread out over several countries. They are subject to rapid political and cultural change, and in these challenging times, researching and preserving the Tibetan cultural heritage is crucial for its survival. Education and research can make a real difference, and Tibetan and Himalayan Studies at Oxford is trying to give the best support they can.”
Image: Help us to support Tibetan and Himalayan Studies in Oxford Facebook Page.