What Magnitude Stands For

Magnitude was founded on the following core values and beliefs:

  • Lack of finances should not equate to a lack of opportunity
    A lack of financial resources alone should not deprive exceptionally promising young people, no matter who they are or where they live, from access to quality tertiary education
  • University education should be put to good use – to benefit others
    A university education comes with a responsibility to use it for the wider benefit of humanity.
  • The world needs more responsible and effective leaders across all fields
    Excellence and leadership are needed in every sphere of human endeavour. While not all the world’s challenges are caused by ineffective leadership, Magnitude believes that many can be solved with effective leadership.

Magnitude’s Beginnings

Magnitude was founded in 2013 by Philip Merryweather, an Australian businessman, who received a free university education on leaving secondary school in Australia as a result of an Australian government policy introduced in 1974. Without this financial assistance, it is unlikely, given his family’s financial position at the time, that he would have been able to attend a leading university and to have made use of all the benefits that flowed from it.

After graduating in both Commerce and Law from the University of New South Wales, Philip went on to have a successful global business career in international law, investment banking and private equity.

The Magnitude Programme draws on Philip’s personal experience to make opportunities for university education more widely available to hard working young people in financial need and who want to go on to use it for wider public benefit.

“We believe that a student’s merit, rather than a parent’s wealth, should decide who should benefit from the community’s vast financial commitment to tertiary education.”

Gough Whitlam, 1972


Our impact lies in making education more widely accessible to people in financial need. Magnitude aspires to increase its scholarship offerings around the globe so that it is able to offer more than 200 scholarships per year which is the equivalent to one in every country in the world. In this way it hopes to develop, over the long term, a growing global network of leaders committed to advancing the interests of humankind in their field of study.

Magnitude’s central interest is the ‘advancement of humankind.’ By fostering exceptional people, we hope to see great contributions made to the world in a variety of ways, and the development of outstanding leaders.

In this way our success will really be a measure of the success of our scholars and how they use their education for the benefit of the world around them. In some instances, it may be the case that Magnitude’s impact is not fully realised until later in the scholar’s life. While we recognise this, we are focused on deriving the maximum public benefit from our graduates in their chosen fields, achieving their objectives and goals and remaining as a resource for them to draw on throughout their  career.


Administrative Cost Funding

Core administrative costs of Magnitude are underwritten by its founder. This means that funds raised externally will be used by Magnitude specifically for scholarships. The initial scholarships awarded under the pilot have also been similarly underwritten by its founder.


Magnitude intends at the successful conclusion of its pilot programme to raise external public donations to fund more students internationally.

The Magnitude Team

Philip Merryweather

Global entrepreneur and Australian-born Philip Merryweather brings 30 years of business expertise, specialising in International Commercial and Finance Law, Investment Banking, Private Equity and Executive Management.

Philip invests in and consults to various companies with intellectual property having global application as well as providing strategic advice to start-up technology companies, and in financial services and products, capital raisings and media. Philip currently resides in London. For more information go to:


Susie Spratt

Susie Spratt has corporate experience as a business development manager. Her background is in education, teaching for many years at secondary level. She has also worked in the non-profit sector, establishing and chairing a new cultural organisation in the Middle East. She has recently been awarded a First in a Master's Degree in International Relations at University College Dublin.

Susie has worked on an educational project in India both in a research and in a practical capacity. Susie lives in Dublin with her extended family.

Vanessa Lorenz

Australian-born Vanessa Lorenz has 20 years’ experience in the Public Relations industry having worked in Sydney, London, New York and Berlin. She has represented clients in the consumer, tech, finance and arts sectors to provide counsel on thought leadership, media strategy, building strategic alliances and profile-building of executives.

Her other interests include cultural diplomacy, cross cultural communication and volunteering, with a current project raising funds to expand a childcare centre in Uganda. Vanessa and her family reside in Berlin.