Stephen Hawking fears talented academics with serious medical conditions may not receive the support he enjoyed due to lack of funding


Stephen Hawking fears that talented academics with serious medical conditions like his own would no longer receive the support they need to flourish due to a lack of funding.

The renowned physicist and author said: “I wonder whether a young ambitious academic, with my kind of severe condition now, would find the same generosity and support in much of higher education.

“Even with the best goodwill, would the money still be there? I fear not.”

Speaking at a dinner to mark his 50th years as a fellow of Gonville and Caius College at the University of Cambridge, he praised the backing he was given, which allowed him to continue to his ground-breaking work.

The support he was provided by the college throughout the progression of motor neurone disease features heavily in The Theory of Everything – the Oscar-winning film that brought his inspirational story to a new audience earlier this year.

Mr Hawking said: “Caius gave me a home, literally and figuratively, and is a constant thread running through my life.”

The college’s master, Alan Fersht, said in a speech at the dinner: “Stephen questioned whether a young academic in his condition would get the same level of support today?

“For Caius at least, I can say emphatically ‘yes’. The fellowship is a family, just as our students, our staff and our alumni are all parts of the Caian family.”

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