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Department of Geography, University of Cambridge


Leaving a legacy to the Scott Polar Research Institute

Leaving a legacy to the Scott Polar Research Institute

Captain Scott
This iconic image of Captain Scott was taken by Herbert Ponting on Scott's Terra Nova expedition to Antarctica. The original glass-plate negative, along with over 1,700 others, was purchased by the Institute in 2004 with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Friends of SPRI and money bequeathed directly to the Institute.

The Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge is home to unrivalled expertise and resources about the Arctic and Antarctic regions. The Institute's scholars are engaged in pioneering research in fields ranging from polar marine science to ice physics, and contribute to discussions on polar issues with scholars and policy-makers from around the world.

The Institute's Archives, Museum and Library provide members of the general public - as well as scientists, government bodies, industry and polar inhabitants - with vital information on a variety of polar topics, including climate change, management of natural resources and historic polar expeditions.

Founded in 1920 to honour the achievements of Captain R.F. Scott and his colleagues who died on their return from the South Pole in 1912, the Scott Polar Research Institute is dedicated to perpetuating the legacy of polar exploration and science through research, education and public outreach activities.

The Institute offers the opportunity for you to leave your own legacy, to help ensure the enhancement of its important work of investigating the significance of the polar regions in a changing world and continuing to preserve and make accessible its world-leading collections of polar books, archival manuscripts, art works and artefacts.

"I'm so glad to be able to leave something to the Scott Polar Research Institute in my will. My husband and I have loved the Antarctic all our lives, and this seemed like the perfect way to remember that..."
- Legacy donor, August, 2005

In recent years bequests to the Institute have had a significant impact. Construction of the Shackleton Memorial Library was part-funded by legacy. Opened on 20 November 1998 it represents a major enhancement of the Institute's Library and Archives which now hold 700 current journals and over 140,000 volumes.

Recent legacies from supporters in many parts of the world have contributed to SPRI's endowment fund. This growing fund is intended, over time, to secure and develop key posts in the Institute relating both to research and to library, archive and museum activities.

This information is intended to help you when you visit your solicitor to make or update your will.

There are two main ways of leaving a legacy to the Institute. Some imitable wording for each is provided below. In both examples, please note that, as part of the University, the Institute has charitable status for all UK and USA tax purposes.

Pecuniary Legacy

"I give free of tax to the Scott Polar Research Institute the sum of £... (preferably inflation linked to the Retail Price Index) and declare that the receipt of the Institute's Director shall be full and sufficient discharge."

Residuary Legacy

"Subject to the payment of my debts, funeral and testamentary expenses, I give free of tax the whole of my estate not otherwise disposed of by this my will (alternatively, x percent of my residuary estate) to the Scott Polar Research Institute and declare that the receipt of the Institute's Director shall be a full and sufficient discharge."

If you are thinking of giving memorabilia or collections to the Institute, please contact the Institute's Director in the first instance to discuss the most appropriate way to do this.

If you are considering making a legacy bequest to the Scott Polar Research Institute, we would be delighted to hear from you.

It is also of great help to the Institute to have an indication of planned bequests so that we can thank those who show support for the Institute in this important way.

If you would like to talk confidentially to someone at the Institute about either of these matters, please do get in touch. There are various ways you can contact us, or e-mail the Director, at .

"The Institute's supporters are key to its continuing development as one of the world's premier centres for polar research and heritage in the twenty-first century"

- Professor Julian Dowdeswell, Director