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Department of Archaeology


Archaeological scientist amongst the 2020 cohort for prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship

Seventy-seven of the most academically outstanding and socially committed postgraduates have been awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge.

The 2020 cohort are citizens of 30 different countries, and this year 17 higher education institutions have produced their first Gates Cambridge Scholar.

The Department of Archaeology are excited to welcome Scholar-elect Mustakim Sulaiman who will be pursuing an Mphil in Archaeological Science at St Edmund’s College.


I was born and raised in Nigeria. I first attended Federal College of Education, Kano (an advanced teachers training collage), where I earned an advanced level certificate in two majors i.e., Geography and English language. I later proceeded to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where I completed a BA in Archaeology.

It was out of the previous A-level knowledge in Geography and fieldwork experiences that I developed an interest in Paleo-Environmental Studies, specifically the life-histories of landscape and the connections between past human societies and physical landscapes in Nigeria. I have been researching on how past societies in Northern Nigeria utilized the geo-environmental provisions around them and my immediate goal is to develop a career in that direction; because I believed that a proper understanding of past environmental and social systems is invaluable to how we approach and solve contemporary social and environmental problems.

I hope to collaborate with the Cambridge community members and other Scholars to promote education and research and to achieve my long-term goals of advancing my country's knowledge of its centuries old diverse history. I am greatly honoured to be part of the Gates Cambridge community.


The international postgraduate scholarship programme was launched in 2000 with a $210 million donation to the University of Cambridge from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which remains the largest single donation in history to a UK university. 

Since the first cohort of Gates Cambridge Scholars in 2001, more than 1,700 scholars have been selected from over 100 countries. 

Stephen Toope, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge and Chair of the Gates Cambridge Trustees, said: “The Gates Cambridge Scholars are an outstanding group of people. They have not only demonstrated exceptional academic abilities in their fields, but have also shown a real commitment to engaging with the world – and to changing it for the better. They truly embody the values our University cherishes –  excellence, a global outlook and an aspiration to contribute to society, values that are needed more than ever at this terrible time.”

More details about the Gates Cambridge programme and the full class of 2020 scholars are available here

Image information

2020 Gates Cambridge Scholar-elect Mustakim Sulaiman who will be studying for an MPhil in Archaeological Science
Image credit: 
M. Sulaiman