A charitable foundation supporting STEM, conservation and early childhood development causes

Founded by Dr Ewan Kirk and Dr Patricia Turner in 2007 to solve specific challenges through effective, evidence-based philanthropy

Ewan Kirk at the University of Cambridge

About us

The Turner Kirk Trust is a family foundation with a specific focus on science, technology, engineering, mathematics, conservation, biodiversity and early childhood development causes. Since its establishment in 2007, the Trust has disbursed over £7 million to charitable causes across the UK and developing world.

Our work

Since 2007, the Turner Kirk Trust has supported, funded and launched a wide range of projects, initiatives and fellowships around the world. While diverse, what threads this work together is that it is research-driven, collaborative and strategically focused on solving intractable problems. Our work is deeply rooted in leveraging robust academic research, which we believe has the ability to achieve better and faster outcomes.

We realise our mission by partnering with world-leading universities, institutions, and non-profit organisations – including the UBS Optimus Foundation and the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences – all of which have the capability to turn the dial on helping to solve the issues we are passionate about. 

Our Trust has always endeavoured to focus our support in specific, targeted areas that are typically underfunded, including fundamental mathematics research and engineering programmes. Notable initiatives include the establishment of the Cantab Capital Institute for the Mathematics of Information in 2016, the Turner Fellows Programme at the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, and the Hope and Homes for Children initiative, run by the Optimus Foundation.  

Our approach

As a Trust, we believe in taking a strategic, evidence-led approach to philanthropy to tackle specific problems in our fields of expertise. Our aim is for our work to act as a springboard for greater, wide-scale impact through the discovery of new solutions and changes to policy and practice. Rather than trying to solve a problem in its entirety, we support initiatives that have the potential to help reach faster, scalable solutions.

Our approach is guided by these core principles: 

  • Scalable — supporting initiatives that truly have the potential to scale up for greater impact.
  • Collaborative — providing a platform to bring a wide range of people and expertise together. 
  • Smart risk-taking — encouraging and embracing failure in order to find breakthrough solutions. 
  • Evidence-based — robust impact evaluation and research-driven. 
  • Sustainable — the potential for long-term, tangible changes to policy and practice. 
  • Transformative — a turning point for greater change.

Our founders

Dr Patricia Turner
Dr Patricia Turner

Dr Patricia Turner is an academic, philanthropy practitioner, and co-founder of the Turner Kirk Trust. Patricia leads on the Trust’s conservation, biodiversity and early childhood development programmes.

Dr Ewan Kirk
Dr Ewan Kirk

Dr Ewan Kirk is a technology entrepreneur, Non-executive Director of BAE Systems, and founder of Cantab Capital Partners. Ewan leads on the Trust’s science, mathematics, technology and engineering programmes.