About us

We believe that family income should not be a barrier to the pursuit of excellence


Our mission

Our mission is to enable and nurture talented individuals from low-socioeconomic backgrounds to thrive within world-leading postgraduate study and become STEM leaders. Our vision is that family income is never a barrier to postgraduate study.

Postgraduate degrees are increasingly associated with academic and career advancement. Student loans often fall short of tuition fees, never mind the cost of living. This puts postgraduate study out of reach for many who cannot fund their studies through financial support from their family.

The Martingale Postgraduate Scholarship is our flagship programme that supports passionate and talented students facing financial barriers to pursue Masters and PhDs and excel in them.

Launched in 2022, the Martingale Foundation is currently incubated by Purposeful Ventures, a not-for-profit with a strong track record of supporting innovation in education and initiatives for young people. We are proudly supported by world leading algorithmic trading company XTX Markets, whose generosity has helped make our scholarships possible.

What is a ‘martingale’?

A martingale is a mathematical concept, our founding subject of interest at Martingale. In probability theory, a martingale is a random process where the expectation of future values is equal to the current value, regardless of all prior values.

We have named the Martingale Foundation after this concept as we believe that students who have excelled in their undergraduate studies should be supported to excel at postgraduate level, irrespective of family income.

‘It’s quite clear that everyone at Martingale wants to give you the opportunity to do your best in the application process as it was very straightforward and well communicated.’


The Martingale Foundation funds and supports a new generation of postgraduates to become STEM leaders.

Through fully-funded Scholarships and access to a community of pioneering leaders, we enable students to pursue postgraduate study in STEM subjects at some of the leading research universities in the UK.

What does a Martingale Scholarship include?

A fully-funded scholarship to pursue a Masters degree or PhD at one of our partner universities

All tuition fees and research expenses covered, including a tax-free stipend for living costs

Tailored support to apply for a Martingale PhD scholarship

Access to the Martingale Development Programme, including leadership training and access to top academic and industry professionals

Membership of a pioneering community of future STEM leaders


Cassandra Hugill

Chief Executive

[email protected]

Dr Mary Henes

Head of Strategy and operations

[email protected]

Matt Garraghan

Programme Manager

[email protected]

Chloe Slevin

Communications Manager

[email protected]

Sophie Bird

programme officer

[email protected]

Advisory Board

Michael Clark


Chief Executive, purposeful ventures

Prior to launching Purposeful Ventures, Michael was Deputy CEO of Ark. From 2012, he was on the management team of Ark Schools and built and led Ark Ventures. During this period, Ark grew from 11 to 39 schools and Ark Ventures successfully incubated 15 charities. Prior to Ark, he was a junior partner at McKinsey and co-led its education practice in the UK.  

Michael was a founding trustee of Pause, Global Schools Forum, Frontline and Ada and, as well as Martingale, is currently on the Boards of SHiFT, Ark Start and Ark Curriculum Plus. 

Simon Coyle

Head of Philanthropy at XTX Markets

Simon started his career as an inner-city school teacher through the Teach First programme. He left the classroom to co-found The Brilliant Club, an award-winning charity that recruits, trains and places PhD researchers to work as tutors and teachers in state schools. After stepping down as Chief Executive, he advised a range of education organisations on strategy and fundraising. He is now Head of Philanthropy at XTX Markets, a leading financial technology company.  

Sophie Duncan

Co-Director of NCCPE

Sophie co-directs the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement, a culture change organisation effecting change in how universities engage people in their work. With expertise in evaluation; long term culture change; and impact, Sophie has significant experience in developing national engagement programmes that effect change. Before joining the NCCPE she led learning campaigns for the BBC and developed exhibitions for the Science Museum. Sophie is committed to collaborative working, and co-edits Research for All, an international journal focused on the processes that sit at the heart of engaged research.

Jonathan Roiser 

Professor of Neuroscience and Mental Health, UCL

Jonathan Roiser is a cognitive neuroscientist at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London. He leads a research team investigating the psychological and brain processes underlying mental health problems and their treatment, especially depression. He is also director of two PhD programmes, both of which have a strong emphasis on equality, diversity and inclusion, and he has worked for several years with the In2Research programme, which mentors students from disadvantaged backgrounds to enter postgraduate study.

Paul Wakeling 

Professor of Education

Paul is a sociologist based at the University of York. His research focuses on inequalities in access to postgraduate education. Through numerous research articles and reports he has highlighted how access to master’s and doctoral studies is impacted by social class, gender and race/ethnicity. He has advised policymakers, universities and a range of third sector organisations on postgraduate access. He is currently leading work on reforming doctoral selection criteria and practices as part of the Yorkshire Consortium for Equity in Doctoral Education. 

Paulette Williams

Founder of Leading Routes

Paulette has over two decades of experience in human resources and higher education, specialising in fair access and equity; and education strategy. She brings expertise in facilitating institutional culture change, implementing equity and inclusion programmes, and leading strategic projects. Paulette is the Founder and CEO of Leading Routes, a social enterprise dedicated to supporting Black scholars in higher education, highlighting Black-led research, and collaborating with institutions to create inclusive cultures. Concurrently, she holds the position of Head of Student Success at UCL, where she leads a dedicated team in proactively addressing disparities in student outcomes among marginalised groups. 


The Martingale Foundation is here to support candidates in any way you need. We also welcome enquiries from universities, whether about current recruitment activities or future partnership opportunities. If you have a question or message for us, please reach out through the form.

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