About Gradfunding: the publishers of The Alternative Guide
GradFunding was founded in 2007 as a social enterprise dedicated to postgraduate funding from charities. We publish The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding which is available right here as a web resource! It's also available in printed, CD, and PDF form. The Alternative Guide is the most popular postgraduate funding resource in the UK, and has sold over 500,000 copies or licences in the five years we've been publishing. Read more about the history of the Guide since 2008 here. We've also won two major academic prizes, and been featured in The Guardian, the Telegraph, Sky News, The Independent, Vitae, FindaPhD.com, and in GradBritain.
We sell subscriptions of the Alternative Guide to individual users, and licence it centrally to universities. We have 100 university subscribers, and this number is increasing all the time.
Our Team: Executive Members
Dr. Luke Blaxill is co-Director of GradFunding. In 2006-7, he was rejected over a dozen times from various research council and university scholarships, and started his PhD at King’s College London (in Political History in 2006) unfunded. Over the next 4 years, he gained 45 separate charity awards totalling over £40,000. He was inspired to first write the Alternative Guide in 2008 to help more cash-strapped students access the sorely underutilised voluntary sector. Luke is also Junior Research Fellow in History at Hertford College, University of Oxford, and enjoys collecting eccentric items, including military jackets and busts of nineteenth century politicians.
Dr. Shuzhi Zhou is GradFunding's second co-Director, having joined the company in 2008 to also develop the Alternative Guide. Her background is in the Biological Sciences (PhD Neurocience from King's College London). She specialises in Science Funding, and is particularly experienced at fundraising for research, travelling, and conferences. Shuzhi's PhD was fully funded for three years, but she funded her fourth year, and all her conference expenses from charities. Shuzhi is also a classical pianist, and is interested in vintage fashion and glamour - owning an impressive collection of fine garments - and Chinese (especially Sichuan) cooking. Read more about Shuzhi's fundraising story here. Shuzhi is also Business Development Manager at St. George's University of London
Our Team: Associate Members
Raihan Islam is the Director of Inspire Creative IT who are the designers and programmers behind this website. Also a lawyer, Raihan has been involved with the Alternative Guide for several years, having first met us at King's College London. He also appeared with Luke Blaxill on Sky News in 2013.
Mr. Renzhi Zhou performs other clerical and administrative duties for GradFunding on a casual basis, including website maintenance.
Sheila Volpe is the graphic designer for the print form of the Alternative Guide. A seasoned graphic designer with more than 30 years experience, Sheila now lives in Suffolk with her husband David and greyhound Mike.
Julius Howe is the company accountant, and the artist behind Jacob the Crow. A connoisseur of beer, Julius also owns a large collection of comic art and various memorabilia and strange objects from the 1980s.
Jacob the Crow
Jacob the Crow is our company mascot. From a venerable but hard-up aristocratic family, Jacob managed to secure funding from numerous obscure sources to fund his schooling, and to finance both undergraduate and postgraduate study at an excellent university. He was due to take a seat in the Upper Chamber, but his family lost their right to send him there due to the House of Lords Act, 1999. With little now to do, he idled many years away in the leafy environs of various scenic English market towns. He first met us on a punt one Summer, having tired of his previous company. Jacob enjoys Pimms, and drinks several glasses a day. Jacob was drawn by the esteemed cartoonist Julius Howe.