Cambridge LEGO professor and research centre: price tag £4m

The University of Cambridge has plans to establish a “LEGO professorship of play in education, development and learning” alongside a research centre, with £4 million of donations from the LEGO Foundation.

June 11, 2015

The foundation owns 25 per cent of LEGO, the Denmark-based toy company.

Cambridge’s general board, which recommends the approval of the plans, has also suggested that a professorship of financial economics be established with a $25 million (£16.2 million) donation from Weslie R. Janeway, a geneticist, and her husband William H. Janeway, a senior adviser and managing director at US private equity firm Warburg Pincus, who is also a visiting scholar at Cambridge.

The proposals for the professorships will go before the university’s Regent House for approval in July.

The latest issue of Cambridge’s official journal, The Reporter, includes a notice from Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, the vice-chancellor, saying that “he has accepted with gratitude a benefaction of £1.5m from the LEGO Foundation, payable over three years, of which both the capital and the income may be used to support a Research Centre on Play in Education, Development, and Learning within the Faculty of Education over the same period”.

It adds that the LEGO Foundation “is also proposing to fund a LEGO professorship of play in education, development, and learning with a benefaction of £2.5m”.

Cambridge’s general board has recommended the establishment of the professorship from October 2015. The LEGO professor would be director of the Research Centre on Play in Education, Development and Learning (PEDaL).

The LEGO Foundation, a “corporate foundation”, describes its aims, in general, as being “to make children’s lives better – and communities stronger – by making sure the fundamental value of play is understood, embraced and acted upon”.

The Reporter also states that Cambridge’s board has “accepted an academic case from the Council of the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences for the establishment from 1 October 2015 of a Janeway Professorship of Financial Economics in the Faculty of Economics”.

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