Supermarket chain Lidl has made a gift in support of students studying German at Oxford. Their donation will enable the creation of five annual graduate scholarships, as well as a fund to support undergraduate students embarking on their year abroad. Finally, Lidl's generosity will also lead to the establishment of an annual undergraduate competition.

Clara Collier, Oxford’s first Lidl Graduate Scholar. Photo by Peter Chung

Within the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages sits one of the oldest, largest and most active departments of German in the country. With an excellent record in teaching and research, the department provides students with an extensive grounding in German culture, from medieval writing to contemporary literature, language and film.

Despite Oxford's proven success in the subject, however, the study of the German language is currently under threat in the UK. Over the last 15 years, many university German departments have closed, and the discipline is now in need of urgent intervention if it is to thrive again. Lidl’s generous support – which is welcomed by academics and students alike – will enable the University to work towards this goal.

Providing vital support to students

Beginning in the 2018/19 academic year, one scholarship will be awarded annually to students wishing to pursue a Masters in German Modern Languages. Lidl's commitment will provide financial support to individuals demonstrating exceptional academic merit, but who may be prevented from taking up the course due to financial circumstances.

Clara Collier, Oxford's first Lidl Graduate Scholar, says: 'I am very grateful to Lidl for giving me the opportunity to study at Oxford. Through their generosity, I hope to deepen my knowledge and enrich my contributions to the study of German literature and culture.'

Lidl's gift will also enable the creation of an annual fund for undergraduate students who need additional financial support for their year abroad. By relieving the substantial financial commitment this can often entail, the fund will leave students free to engage fully in an academic, cultural and social capacity during their stay in Germany.

Furthermore, Lidl's support will enable the creation of an annual competition, to be known as the Lidl Undergraduate Prize in German Studies.

Oxford's German Collection is housed in the Taylor Institution Library. Photo by Stuart Bebb

Raising the profile of German at Oxford

Professor Ian Watson, Faculty Board Chair for the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages and Dr Charlie Louth, Chair of the German Sub-Faculty, say: 'We are delighted that, at a time when the teaching of modern languages in the UK is facing considerable challenges, a major German company in the shape of Lidl has stepped forward to offer its support.

'It is of particular interest to us that Lidl, despite being a global brand, is a company which requires the use of German at management level – a reminder that a thorough understanding of foreign languages and cultures is of practical as well as intellectual benefit. The package of support that Lidl is so generously donating will allow us to raise the profile of the subject of German at Oxford at all stages of the undergraduate degree as well as for postgraduate study.'

The Lidl GB brand was founded in Germany in 1973 and has since grown to become one of Europe's leading food retailers and Britain's fastest growing supermarket. Christian Härtnagel, CEO Lidl GB says: 'As a British supermarket with roots in Germany, we saw this opportunity as a great fit and are incredibly proud to be working with Oxford to support both undergraduate and graduate students of German. We very much look forward to working with the University and its students and, as we continue to grow our workforce, hope that a number of them consider a future career here with us at Lidl GB.'

Visit the Humanities Division website for further information about the Lidl German Language and Literature Graduate Scholarships and student funding.