Congratulations to IAAC’s Michael Salka, Technical Coordinator of Valldaura Labs, for being awarded the prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship!

According to the Gates Cambridge Trust: “Twenty four of the most academically outstanding and socially committed US citizens have been selected to be part of the 2021 class of Gates Cambridge Scholars at the University of Cambridge in the Scholarship’s 20th anniversary year”. They will join around 60 additional scholars from throughout the globe to be announced in May.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation established the Gates Cambridge Scholarships in 2000 with a $210 million donation to support outstanding graduate students’ studying at the University of Cambridge. The scholarship is one of the most competitive and prestigious in the world, with only 0.3% of applicants receiving an award.

This gift represents the largest single donation to a British university and the University’s most prestigious programme for postgraduate students. Each scholarship covers the full cost of a postgraduate degree in any field at the University of Cambridge and includes funding for academic and professional development. More than 1,800 students from over 110 countries have received the scholarship since its commencement and more than 200 Gates Cambridge Scholars are studying at the University at any given time.

In the words of Bill Gates: “We need highly educated leaders, skilled in research and analysis, who will take a creative approach to defining and solving problems, so that we can address the injustices and inequities that abound in our world”. This stipulation is constantly borne in mind by Dr Gordon Johnson, past Provost of the Gates Cambridge Trust, in selecting scholars. “We are looking for qualities of leadership,” he explains, “and a sense that candidates realise that a good education brings responsibilities to use one’s brain to address problems.

Michael is an IAAC Alumnus who has since become an integral member of the Master in Ecological Buildings and Biocities (MAEBB) programme, as well as a key partner in international research and innovation projects coordinated by Valldaura Labs. He is the first graduate of either IAAC or the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya to be granted this award. Michael will leverage the scholarship to fund his doctoral studies on the application of geographic information systems (GIS) and algorithmic modelling toward advancing regionally attuned circular value chains and nature-based solutions for locally adapted development. He will conduct his research under the supervision of Professor Koen Steemers, a distinguished academic and architect recognised as a world leader in sustainable building design and recently listed among the “top 50 most influential people in UK sustainability”.

Michael’s biography as a Gates Cambridge Scholar-elect can be found here.

IG: @mnmnsalka

We wish him all the best on this new journey!