The College warmly congratulates graduate student Tom Tokovyi who has been selected for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship to pursue an MPhil in Bioscience Enterprise at the University of Cambridge.

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship programme was established in October 2000 by a donation of US$210m from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the University of Cambridge. Each year Gates Cambridge offers c.80 full-cost scholarships to outstanding applicants from countries outside the UK to pursue a postgraduate degree in any subject available at the University of Cambridge. The scholarship is one of the most competitive and prestigious in the world, with around 1.3% of applicants receiving an award in recent years.

We asked Tom to tell us how it feels to receive the scholarship: ‘It is a great honour and responsibility to be nominated for such a prestigious award. The Gates Cambridge Scholarship will allow me to pursue MPhil in Bioscience Enterprise – a business course tailored specifically for life science experts. 

I am thrilled to say that the programme for this course is very unique (despite the substantial overuse of the word “unique”). The curriculum comprises intensive lectures in business, law, management, social and ethical issues as well as market trends – all tailored for scientists with interest in biotechnology and enterprise. 

For the Gates Scholarship, I am joining an incredibly talented Scholars’ Community that extends to over 1,800 Scholars and alumni from more than 100 different countries.’

More importantly, I am the only scholar from Ukraine this year (and the 10th Ukrainian scholar overall) to receive this prize. Hence, I understand the enormous responsibility of representing my home country internationally, especially considering Ukraine’s challenges and difficulties.  

Tom grew up in Bila Tserkva, Ukraine and at the age of 15, he was one of three students from the country to win a full scholarship to study A-level studies in the UK (HMC Projects 2017-2019). With an interest in molecular medicine, he decided to pursue BSc Biochemistry at the University of Bristol, where he was ranked as the best student (n>120) for three consecutive years. For his masters, he explored the intersection between genetics and data science at the University of Oxford where he was awarded a full-ride academic scholarship (Clarendon Scholarship).

Throughout his studies, Tom has developed a keen interest in biotechnology and enterprise. Nevertheless, as much as he is passionate about biotechnology, what he ultimately cares about the most is people. After Russia invaded Ukraine, he has been leading various large-scale fundraising events and educational projects to support Ukraine. At Oxford, he became the Vice-President of the Ukrainian Society and, together with friends, raised over £150,000. His ultimate goal is to contribute to the reconstruction of Ukraine by developing a strong biotech community there. In the future, he hopes to establish incubators for rising start-ups and inspire the next generation of young scientists.