Fresh investment for Scotland’s national sports scholarship programme with launch of Winning Students 1006 February 2024
Following a new injection of funding from sportscotland and the Scottish Funding Council, Scotland’s national sports scholarship programme for talented student athletes has relaunched as Winning Students 100.
Helping student athletes balance their studies with high performance training and competition, the newly-branded Winning Students 100 provides athletes with grants of up to £3000 and works with respective colleges and universities to offer additional support such as academic flexibility.
With funding secured until 2028, it is expected 500 scholarships will be awarded over the period with the programme also introducing a hardship fund to offer additional support to eligible student athletes.
106 scholarships have been awarded for 2023/24 across 28 different sports and 21 universities and colleges. New scholars for the revamped programme including current Olympic champion, Hailey Duff (curling), Paralympic medallist, Lewis Stewart (cycling), Commonwealth gold medallist, Grace Reid (diving), Britain’s first ever Para Nordic World medallist, Scott Meenagh (biathlon) and U23 European 10,000m record holder, Megan Keith (athletics).
Keith, who won the U23 European Cross Country by a record margin before her record-breaking efforts at the Valencia 10K in January, is one of Scottish athletics’ leading prospects and a prime example of a world-class student athlete pursuing excellence in and out of the classroom.
Commenting on the impact of Winning Students 100 on her sporting and academic endeavours, the University of Edinburgh, Applied Sport Science student, said: “I really appreciate the generous support from Winning Students 100 for the upcoming year. In what is looking like an exciting year of competitions, the scholarship will help fund the travel required to train and compete to the best of my ability”
Established in 2008, the original Winning Students programme saw over 1,700 scholarships awarded during its first phase of funding with noteworthy alumni including Olympic medallists Laura Muir (athletics), Duncan Scott (swimming), Vicky Wright and Bruce Mouat (both curling).
As the newest funding partner, sportscotland’s involvement brings true cross-sector collaboration to the programme with Scotland’s sport and higher education bodies both committed to supporting a duel-career pathway for the country’s leading student athletes.
Forbes Dunlop, Chief Executive of sportscotland, said: “We are committed to helping young athletes achieve their goals. Being able to find the right balance between training, their studies and other commitments is critical to the wellbeing of student athletes. We're delighted that this programme will help these athletes to do that."
Karen Watt, Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council, said: “Having funded the Winning Students programme from the start, we’re incredibly proud it has helped so many people to be successful college or university students alongside developing a career in sport. The achievements of previous Winning Students in life and in sport speak volumes for the benefits of the programme, and I wish the new scholars every success.”
Executive Director of Sport at the University of Stirling and Chair of the Winning Students 100 Advisory Board, Cathy Gallagher, commented: “The importance of this dual career programme for talented student athletes, cannot be understated. The coming together of the Scottish Funding Council, sportscotland and the HE/FE sector forms a significant collaboration within which to create even more impact for the current and future cohort of students”.
Winning Students 100 is managed by University of Stirling, Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, and supported by an advisory board and management group made up of professionals from across the tertiary education and sport sectors.