Research and community impact

Promoting new initiatives in teaching, research and student experience that help local, national and international communities.

Please note that our team is working remotely following the UK government’s guidance relating to the COVID-19 outbreak. We’re still very much on hand to assist with your queries relating to donations. The most efficient way to donate just now is online or via bank transfer. Unfortunately, we can’t take donations over the phone at the moment or process donations sent through the post. Thank you for your patience and support.


Through your support, the University is able to award grants of up to £5,000 to students and staff wanting to launch a project, conduct a piece of research or explore a new initiative in teaching.

From a student-led veterinary clinic for pets of the homeless and vulnerable, to providing access to clean water in the driest parts of the world using fog catchers, these student experience grants not only help local and international communities, but they can help improve and even save lives.

These grants are possible only through the generosity of our supporters. Please consider a gift today to help continue this valuable area of the Edinburgh Fund. 

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Your gift in action

Palma Soap in Malawi 

Palma Soap members

Palma Soap is an all-natural bar of soap with an ingredient that protects against mosquitoes and other insects for up to eight hours. It is a simple yet ground-breaking idea from University of Edinburgh students. They originally produced it in their kitchen in Marchmont and now, thanks to an alumni-funded grant, the soap is helping to protect international communities that are facing the devastating effects of malaria.

With the alumni-funded grant, the students decided to take Palma Soap to a small community in Malawi where malaria is the number one cause of death in children under five years and the cause of 70% of hospital visits.

They partnered with a local non-governmental organisation and recruited a group of women from the community to produce and sell the soap to the surrounding villages. These women, who were previously unemployed, now have a job, an income and the opportunity to improve their lives and the lives of their families. These women will continue to develop and grow the business even after the student team leaves. Project Leader, Meghan, explains: “We wanted to listen to them…eventually the business will be theirs. That is our goal, to hand Palma Soap over.”

Palma Soap costs 22p to produce and is sold at 25p a bar, providing the local people with an affordable solution to this deadly disease, regardless of their financial circumstances. It is also tackling sanitary issues the community faces by promoting regular hygiene practices.

The team have also successfully rolled the project out in the Dominican Republic and plan to continue to develop the project to help more communities in need.

Image: Edinburgh students from the social enterprise Palma Soap with the local Malawian women beneficiaries. Credit: Meghan Ingram


Project links

Palma Soap - A small bar of soap with big impact

Fog Catcher - Increasing access to clean water

All4Paws (external link)