The Carnegie Trust was incorporated by Royal Charter on 21 August 1902.


This Charter, based on Andrew Carnegie’s 1901 Trust Deed, has been revised and updated a number of times since. Nonetheless, the over-riding intentions of our founder continue to govern the operations of the Trust. The most recent revision of the Royal Charter was completed in 2019.

The Trust is governed by a Board of Trustees, whose role is to ensure that the Trust adheres to the requirements of the Charter, and that its strategic objectives remain faithful to the wishes of the Trust’s founder though its support of the universities of Scotland, their staff and their students.

Matters reserved to the Trustees under the Royal Charter comprise the following: administering all the affairs of the Trust, appointing Trustees, receiving the Annual Report and Accounts, appointing members of the Audit & Risk Committee, the Investment Committee and the Nominations Committee.

Board of Trustees

From May 2019, the Board of Trustees comprises nine nominated Trustees and five ex-officio Trustees selected from the current Principals of the Scottish universities  (Ahead of this date, a transition occurs from the previous larger Board, which included all Principals of the Scottish universities.)

Trustees are elected or re-elected at the Annual General Meeting of Trustees. Trustees are appointed for three-year terms, and can be re-elected no more than twice (i.e. limiting maximum service to nine years).

Trustees are proposed by the Universities, existing Trustees and others knowledgeable in Higher Education and are sought through open advertisements. They are appointed by the Trustees on the advice of the Nominations Committee, which works to ensure an appropriate range of expertise and experience in the Trust.


The Charter specifies three Committees and requires that each should include at least three Trustee.  Other members may be co-opted as appropriate.

Investment Committee

The Investment Committee keeps the Trust’s investments and the performance of its fund managers under regular review.  Its membership must include not fewer than three persons qualified by their ability in and practical experience of financial matters.

Audit & Risk Committee

The Audit & Risk Committee ensures that the annual accounts and audit of the Trust are scrutinised each year and that the internal control and risk management systems are kept under review, along with the Trust’s Risk Register.

The Committee’s membership includes both Nominated and Principal Trustees.

Nominations Committee

The Nominations Committee considers persons suitable for being put to the Board of Trustees for appointment as Trustees.  This includes individuals both from amongst the Principals of the Scottish universities and from the wider community.  When a vacancy arises, or is anticipated, advertisements are placed inviting applications and relevant groups or individuals are informed of the opportunity.


The Trustees and Committees are supported by four permanent members of staff.


Historical records

The Trust holds over 100,000 index cards recording awards made…

Learn more

Support the Trust

Donations and legacies from former beneficiaries, grant recipients or other…

Learn more

About our Carnegie Community

The Carnegie Community is a network of current and past…

Learn more