Improving access to postgraduate research

Several new projects are set to tackle inequalities that create barriers for Black, Asian and minority ethnic students to access and take part in postgraduate research (PGR). The 13 new projects, worth nearly £8 million, are innovative in scope, scale and focus to an extent that has not been seen in England before. The projects will be delivered over the next four years and will:

● Improve access into research.

● Enhance research culture and the experience for Black, Asian and minority ethnic PGR students.

● Diversify and enhance routes into a range of careers.Projects across England.

The investment by Research England, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and the Office for Students (OfS), is well spread geographically, across English higher education providers and their partners. The projects range from:

● Targeting recruitment, admissions and transition to increasing the number of Black, Asian and minority ethnic female professors

● Generating new admissions practices to creating longitudinal, systemic, and structural change at various English universities.

A significant step

According to Panel co-Chairs, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE and Maisha Islam, 13 projects will support the PGR lifecycle using innovative methods and approaches. Initiatives include reviewing admissions processes to tackling offer rate gaps, and plans to extend routes into doctoral study via professional doctorates and partnering with the NHS. Additionally, projects will focus specifically on intersectional inequalities related to Black female students, and prioritise the mental health of their PGR students of colour.

Director for fair access and participation at the OfS, Chris Millward, said: “Black, Asian and minority ethnic students have high levels of participation in undergraduate education, but they are less likely to secure the top degree grades and go on to PGR. This then affects their representation among academic staff, particularly at senior levels.

“The projects will ambitiously tackle the issues causing underrepresentation of Black, Asian and minority ethnic students in PGR, with the aim of stimulating innovation and developing effective practice for universities and colleges throughout the country. This is vital, so that PGR in this country can benefit from the talents of people from all backgrounds.”

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