About trust funds

A trust is a legal relationship created when assets – for example land, money, buildings, shares or antiques – are placed under the control and legal ownership of a trustee, who must manage them for the benefit of a beneficiary or for a specified purpose. The trustees are responsible for managing the trust in accordance with its terms. The terms of the trust will usually be the conditions specified by the person who has put the assets into trust at the time they did so.

The University of Oxford

The University holds a large amount of funds on trust to be applied for specific purposes narrower than the University’s general purposes of teaching and research – for example for professorial chairs, lecturership posts, scholarship schemes, student bursaries, and academic prizes.

These funds have accumulated over many years, and have arisen largely from donations received from University benefactors and, to a lesser extent, from the University declaring trusts over its own funds. Many, though not all, of these trusts are set out in the University's Statutes and Regulations as follows:

Alternatively you can find details of a particular trust by using the Statutes and Regulations search facility and entering the name of the fund or any keyword.

As trustee, the University, acting through Council, has ultimate responsibility for the trust funds and their administration. On a day-to-day basis, that administration has been delegated to individual Boards of Management, often at a Divisional or Departmental level. The Trust Regulations and Schedule to the Statutes record who these boards of management are, together with the purposes and administrative provisions of the trusts created.

In order to avoid the proliferation of trusts, funds are increasingly being accommodated on flexible terms in the University of Oxford Development Trust Fund (OUDT), rather than being established as bespoke trusts.