UCL aims to address inequality across the post-graduate research student lifecycle and barriers that exist for students from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups through a new programme funded by Research England and the Office for Students.
The programme, In2research, is receiving a £790,000 grant as one of 13 projects announced today by UKRI as part of an £8m funding call to improve access and participation for BAME students in postgraduate research study.
Co-led by UCL and social mobility charity In2scienceUK, the project has a particular focus on supporting UK-domiciled students from Black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds, who are most acutely under-represented in postgraduate research study and academic careers. It aims to strengthen students’ applications to postgraduate programmes, build confidence, increase networking opportunities, and extend support through an alumni community.
Professor Sasha Roseneil, UCL Pro Provost (Equity & Inclusion), said: "Whilst UCL’s UK undergraduate students have become increasingly ethnically and racially diverse over recent years, our PhD candidate community, and, even more so, our academic staff are far less representative of the UK population.
"We urgently need to address the social processes and cultures that maintain the academy as a white, majority ethnic space. The In2research programme offers a really exciting opportunity to take forward evidence-based interventions that will open up postgraduate research and academic careers to Black, Asian and minority ethnic students."
The programme is led at UCL by UCL’s Doctoral School and the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging. It is a collaboration with project partners UCL Students’ Union, Leading Routes, UK-Pakistan Science and Innovation Global Network (UPSIGN), City, University of London and the University of Cambridge.
Paulette Williams, Founder & Managing Director of Leading Routes, said: " We are delighted to be a partner on the In2research programme. The pipeline to academic careers begins way before the PhD application stage and this programme aligns with our aspirations to support Black students on that journey as early as possible."
Over the course of the project, UCL will work with its partners to recruit over 300 students to engage with a 12-month mentoring and development programme - including an 8-week paid research placement with experienced academics and mentors.
Implemented over the next four years, the programme will also promote institutional culture change through cultural and race literacy training for staff who supervise, train or support postgraduate research students, led by project partners Leading Routes and UPSIGN.
Professor David Bogle, UCL Pro-Vice-Provost (Doctoral School), said: "The PhD candidate cohort, which is the pipeline to research careers within and beyond the academy helping drive innovation in society, needs to be more diverse and representative. This project will help accelerate our actions to achieve this and build a strong partnership to embed change."
Students, academic staff and professional services staff from several faculties and central services contributed to the In2research project working group and consultations, and provided input into the design of the access and participation programme. The programme will continue to be shaped by student voice, supported by UCL Students’ Union.
The project’s vision is to be a sustainable, national programme that strategically embeds equity, diversity and inclusion values and shares effective practice across the higher education sector.
Tel: +44 (0) 7858 152143
E: e.calder [at] ucl.ac.uk