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Cardiff University is first in Wales to join 'Santander Universities'

25 September 2008

Cardiff University is the first educational institution in Wales to forge an innovative partnership with ‘Santander Universities’, a growing international network of higher education institutions, promoted by Banco Santander.

An Agreement of Cooperation will be signed today (Thursday 25 September) between Cardiff University and Abbey National plc, Banco Santander’s UK subsidiary, that will set up support for students, researchers and entrepreneurs and enable the University to develop a variety of academic projects within the ‘Santander Universities’ scheme.

'Santander Universities’ Global Division will fund a number of initiatives at Cardiff University, including opportunities for overseas research, study exchange scholarships, funding to enhance student enterprise and student volunteering initiatives.

Under the partnership, initially for a period of three years, three International Excellence Scholarships will be awarded to postgraduate students from the 11 Iberoamerican countries in ‘Santander Universities’ network who wish to study at Cardiff University. The network includes universities in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay and Venezuela.

To further encourage mobility between Cardiff University and Iberoamerican countries, 18 annual scholarships and additional research grants to study or research overseas have been created, enabling students and staff from the Schools of European Studies, Welsh, and Physics and Astronomy to participate in programmes, which would otherwise have been beyond their reach. The Cardiff International Academy of Voice, Cardiff University’s academy to train some of the most exciting talent in world opera, will also benefit from an annual bursary.

‘Santander Universities’ is also supporting scholarships for Excellence and Achievement in Business Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, which will further foster the entrepreneurial culture across Cardiff University’s student community by providing financial awards to encourage student enterprise. A special annual bursary for the outstanding volunteer of the year from Student Volunteering Cardiff has also been established.

Dr David Grant, Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University, said: "We are pleased to become the first Welsh institution to join Santander’s growing network. This partnership is another step towards Cardiff University fulfilling its ambition to pursue research, learning and teaching of international distinction and expanding our reach in Latin America, Spain and Portugal. Working with Santander will provide many new learning and research opportunities for current and future students and staff, and bring enormous benefit to the University as a whole."

Since 1996, through its ‘Santander Universities’ Global Division, Banco Santander has channelled almost half a billion euros into academia through co-operative agreements with 700 universities in Spain, Latin America, Portugal, Russia, China, the United States and the United Kingdom.

"On behalf of Abbey and Santander, I would like to extend my warmest welcome to Cardiff University, the first in Wales to join ‘Santander Universities’, said Lord Terry Burns, Abbey’s Chairman. "We look forward to working in this partnership to promote the exchange of knowledge and foster the University’s international links with the Iberoamerican institutions that are already part of the network."


Notes to Editors:

Notes about Cardiff University

Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities. It is also ranked as one of the world’s top 100 universities by the Times Higher Education (THE).

2008 marks the 125th anniversary of Cardiff University having been founded by Royal Charter in 1883. Today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning.

Cardiff is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s leading research universities.

Visit the University website at:

Information about ‘Santander Universities’

‘Santander Universities’ Global Division is the channel through which Banco Santander supports the higher education sector in Europe and the Americas, in such areas as teaching and research, international cooperation, knowledge and technology transfer, entrepreneurial initiatives, student mobility and innovation.

Since its creation in 1996, ‘Santander Universities’ has been the keystone of the bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility policy. Co-operation agreements have been signed with universities in Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Venezuela, Portugal, Russia, China, the United States and the United Kingdom. Currently 700 universities are part of the network and almost half a billion euros have been distributed.

‘Santander Universities’ was introduced in the UK in 2007 through Abbey National plc and the bank is already collaborating with twenty four British Universities, with agreements - similar to the one signed with Cardiff University -, focused in promoting international exchange, entrepreneurial activities and the mobility of students and researchers within the network.

‘Santander Universities’ initiatives include:

- the granting of over 12,000 scholarships a year to promote study, research and facilitate student and staff mobility between universities in the network

- the issue of 3.1 million university smart cards in 173 universities, with a high level of functional and financial features for teachers and students

- support for two major global projects: the ‘Miguel de Cervantes Virtual Library’ (, the largest of its kind for Hispanic works; and Universia (, the biggest university co-operation network in the world, that includes 1,070 universities.

For Banco Santander, investing in education is the most powerful means of promoting the development and prosperity of society.


Further Information:

For further information, please contact:

Emma Darling

Public Relations

Cardiff University

T: 02920 874 499


Louisa Dreja

Media Relations,

Abbey National plc.

T: + 44 (0) 20 7756 4211,