The Germany-based supermarket chain Lidl has announced that it intends to create a new scholarship for students at the University of Oxford studying German at a graduate level, as well as establish a support fund for students on their year abroad.

Beginning in the 2018-19 academic year, Lidl will provide for one student working towards a Masters in Modern German and will also sponsor a new competition, the Lidl Undergraduate Prize in German Studies.

Chair of the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, Professor Ian Watson, said: “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.

“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.”

Oxford’s first Lidl Graduate Scholar, Clara Coiler, said: “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.”

Although Lidl is a multi-national business and began operating in the UK in 1973, the company still requires the use of German at management level, and Professor Watson describes this as “a reminder that a thorough understanding of foreign languages and cultures is of practical as well as intellectual benefit.”

Lidl is keen on encouraging German education in the UK, where the study of the German language seems to be under threat – the study of German at A-Level falling by 16.5% in the UK last year.

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