Six projects to improve Black, Asian and minority ethnic students’ access to postgraduate research in Yorkshire

The joint investment, worth nearly £8 million, by Research England – part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) – and the Office for Students (OfS), will be spent over the next four years on thirteen new projects that will attempt to tackle persistent inequalities that create barriers for Black, Asian and minority ethnic students to access and take part in postgraduate research (PGR).

Six out of these thirteen projects will be led by or with the involvement of Yorkshire Universities (YU) member institutions.

The projects are innovative in scope, scale and focus to an extent that has not been seen in England before. They will improve access into research, enhance research culture and the experience for Black, Asian and minority ethnic PGR students, and diversify and enhance routes into a range of careers.

The projects range from targeting recruitment, admissions and transition, to increasing the number of Black, Asian and minority ethnic female professors, and generating new admissions practices to creating longitudinal, systemic, and structural change at English universities.

Professor Shirley Congdon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bradford and Chair of Yorkshire Universities, said:

Having six of these projects led by or involving YU members is a fantastic achievement and will add significant weight to the region’s capability, understanding and improvement of participation. We have a genuine opportunity to make tangible differences in the lives of our Black, Asian and minority ethnic students and deepen our collaborative relationships with the NHS and community actors.

Dr Peter O’Brien, Executive Director of Yorkshire Universities, said:

Improving opportunities for under-represented postgraduate students requires a region-wide approach. I congratulate those Yorkshire universities that have secured funding for the innovative approaches they will take to tackling the problem of under-representation and the barriers to progression for Black, Asian and minority ethnic post-graduate students in higher education. This is yet another example of collaboration between universities in the region, which YU is proud to both encourage and to support.

The projects involving YU members (by primary contact or in collaboration with project partners) are the following:

  1. University of Bradford, City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Working Academy, Emerald Publishing, Stronger Communities, Bradford for Everyone, Simply Customer, Digital Health Enterprise zone.

    Bradford Pathways to Academia for Minoritised Ethnicities: Brad-ATTAIN working with partners across the Bradford District, this programme will develop positive action pathways to support progression to PGR study for Black, Asian and minority ethnic students to build a vibrant, inclusive community of Black, Asian and minority ethnic researchers as leaders and influencers.
  2. University of Leeds, Goldsmiths College, University of London, Reading University, University of Plymouth, University of Sheffield, University of Sunderland

    Generation Delta: Nurturing future cohorts of Black, Asian and minority ethnic female professors will be led by six, female, Black, Asian and minority ethnic professors and will lay the foundations for a long-term increase in the number of Black, Asian and minority ethnic female professors in higher education institutions in England.
  3. Nottingham Trent University, Liverpool John Moores University, Sheffield Hallam University, UK Council for Graduate Education, Grit Break Through Programmes, Nottingham University Hospital Trust, NHS R&D North West, Health Education England – North West, Sheffield Hospitals NHS Trust, Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS Trust

    Equity in Doctoral Education through Partnership and Innovation (EDEPI) will improve access and participation for racialised groups to PGR across three modern universities. It will target recruitment, admissions and transition as critical points of systemic inequality in doctoral education.
  4. University of Sheffield, MA Education Consultancy Our Mel, Sheffield and District African and Caribbean Community Association (SADACCA), The Lit Collective Sheffield, African Voices Platform, Sheffield Anti-Racist Education (SHARE)

    The University of Sheffield Centre for Equity and Inclusion will create longitudinal, systemic, and structural change at the university, establishing a network composed of Black, Asian and minority ethnic PGR students, University of Sheffield academics, and local partners working for equity and racial justice.
  5. Sheffield Hallam University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Advance HE

    Accomplished Study Programme in Research Excellence (ASPIRE) for Black students: Fixing the broken pipeline will develop the capabilities of Black students to navigate structural barriers to doctoral study and enhance pathways of opportunity, through inclusive targeting.
  6. University of York, University of Sheffield, University of Leeds, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Bradford

    Yorkshire Consortium for Equity in Doctoral Education (YCEDE) will tackle ethnic inequalities in access to PGR by systems-change innovations that re-shape institutional policies and procedures. Five Yorkshire universities will reform their admissions criteria and practices, involving work on the efficacy of taken-for-granted criteria as predictors of PGR success.

Note to editors

A full list of project summaries can be found here. Link to call.

Yorkshire Universities has a shared commitment to strengthen the contribution of universities and higher education institutions to the economic, social and civic well-being of people and places in Yorkshire.

The members of Yorkshire Universities are Leeds Arts University; Leeds Conservatoire; Leeds Beckett University; Leeds Trinity University; Sheffield Hallam University; University of Bradford; University of Huddersfield; University of Hull; University of Leeds; University of Sheffield; University of York; and York St John University.

The Chair of Yorkshire Universities is Professor Shirley Congdon, Vice-Chancellor, University of Bradford.

Contact

Dr Peter O’Brien, Executive Director, Yorkshire Universities
@YorkshireUnis

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Tender opportunity: Review into the use of R&D tax policy to support the creative industries

PERN are seeking to commission a systematic literature review (or meta analysis or similar) to understand the potential of the UK’s R&D tax policy to support the creative industries. The output should include an overview of evidence, understanding of regional differences and policy suggestions tailored to the Yorkshire / West Yorkshire economy.

Find out more about this tender here.

The deadline for submitting proposals to this tender has been extended to 5pm on Monday, 6 December 2021.

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Urgent climate advice given to Yorkshire and Humber leaders

A climate action plan for Yorkshire and the Humber finds that the region will have used up its share of the global carbon budget consistent with a “good chance” of staying within 1.5 °C of warming – the focus of COP26 currently taking place in Glasgow – within just six years if urgent action is not taken now.

The Yorkshire and Humber Climate Action Plan , published today (Wednesday 10 November), calls for meaningful climate leadership from larger institutions in government and the public and private sectors to deliver “significant, tangible contributions” to help tackle the climate and ecological emergency.

Fostering shared responsibility, moving from targets and planning to action, and putting climate and nature at the heart of all areas of decision making are three of the key recommendations from the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission, which also commits to undertake a raft of ambitious actions itself.

It also stresses the need for Yorkshire and Humber to be “climate ready” to face increasing risks from climate change, stating that not acting with the required urgency and ambition will both prolong the region’s contribution to the problem and worsen local impacts.

The Climate Action Plan has been developed with the input of more than 500 people and is being presented at the Yorkshire Post Climate Change Summit in Leeds on 10 November, which has been co-organised with the Commission.

Andy Gouldson, Director of the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission and Professor of Environmental Policy at the University of Leeds, will set out the report in an hour-long session with other Commissioners.

Professor Gouldson said:

“As a Commission we have brought together climate leaders from all sorts of organisations and groups, and we have worked extensively with stakeholders from across the region to develop this plan. It’s been a mammoth undertaking, but it’s hugely important that people are involved in the process and we are very happy with the outcome.

“We now have to start the really hard work, which for us as a Commission is to tackle a set of specific actions over the next two and a half years. We’re playing our part, but we need the region as a whole to step up and get behind the delivery of the plan.”

Included in the report’s 50 actions are calls for a fair and inclusive transition, the integration of climate and nature into the curriculum in schools, the development of jobs and skills, the promotion of green finance and investment and the inclusion of emissions from aviation and shipping in the region’s net zero target.

While delivering a stark warning about the need to prepare for worsening impacts, it also offers hope that dealing with the connected climate and nature crises can help to transform Yorkshire and Humber into a happier, healthier, fairer and more prosperous place to live and work.

Liz Barber, Chief Executive of Yorkshire Water and Chair of the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission, said:

 “The publication of this action plan is a significant first step for the Commission in guiding the region’s response to the climate and ecological emergency.

“Of paramount importance to this response is a commitment to achieve a just transition as we move to a green economy. Climate change impacts more on disadvantaged communities and it is critical that we make sure that our efforts reduce rather than exacerbate existing inequalities.”

Support for the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission’s Climate Action Plan has come from the Yorkshire Leaders Board, which includes the leaders and chief executives of all of the local and combined authorities across the region.

In a joint statement, Yorkshire Leaders Board co-Chairs Cllr Carl Les, Leader of North Yorkshire County Council, and Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton, Leader of Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, said:

“Climate change is not a remote or distant issue. Many of our communities have already experienced extreme weather in recent years. In time, every corner of Yorkshire and Humber will be directly or indirectly impacted by the changing environment to some degree. The Commission’s recommendations on how our region can adapt are therefore an extremely important contribution.

“Going forward, we will work together to build the support from our communities, businesses and national government that will be vital to make all of these actions possible.”

Fifty actions to drive change

Fifty actions are outlined in the Climate Action Plan, designed to help build the region’s resilience against climate disasters and help achieve the region’s 2038 net zero target, which specifies the need for “significant progress” by 2030.

Other key actions included in the Commission’s “Framework for Change” include:

  • Developing a positive vision
  • Improve skills and create jobs in the green economy
  • Accelerating investment
  • Nurturing collaboration and innovation
  • Protecting and restoring nature
  • Developing a sustainable progress index for the region that is not based solely on GDP
  • Influencing national government.

The strong emphasis on climate resilience underscores the need to plan ahead so that we can cope and recover quickly when climate risks become reality. Among its recommendations on this are:

  • Develop climate risk communications for different audiences
  • Encourage the wider adoption of area-wide and site-specific climate adaptation plans and actions
  • Promote resilience in land use by restoring and enhancing the region’s many key natural assets
  • Prepare the food and farming sector for current and future changes
  • Promote nature-based solutions and blue-green infrastructure
  • Develop a regional network for climate readiness and resilience training
  • Promote the provision and uptake of affordable, comprehensive flood insurance
  • Strengthen plans for the long-term management of change and loss caused by sea level rise
  • Develop a whole of society approach to emergency response.

On net zero, the plan points out that Yorkshire and the Humber region directly emits 7.5% of UK emissions, which is more than countries like Croatia, Slovenia or Cyprus. We can “do our bit” by a range of actions, including:

  • Put the primary emphasis on reducing demand for all types of energy
  • Support the greatly accelerated decarbonisation of energy supply
  • Deliver ambitious retrofit for housing, with a major focus on reducing fuel poverty
  • Minimise the impact and maximise the contribution of new developments
  • Promote public transport through the wider development of mass-transit schemes
  • Minimise the need for private car ownership
  • Minimise the impacts of aviation by promoting alternative forms of travel and changing the behaviours of the small percentage (14%) that take the most (70%) of flights
  • Focus economic development, business support and training on greening the region’s economy
  • Promote changes in planning that put climate and nature at the heart of the design and delivery of local plans.

Undertaking commitments

In addition to the 50 recommended actions for the region, the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission has outlined specific actions that it plans to work on. These include:

  • Developing a Citizens’ Forum to enable diverse voices to shape the climate debate, and explore ways of developing a regional network of Community Climate Champions
  • Enhance access to climate outreach and carbon literacy for everyone in the region, and develop an online, open access Climate Leadership Programme
  • Bring forward a Climate Leaders’ Pledge to promote ambitious actions in key organisations across the region
  • Work with the finance sector to explore ways to develop a climate and nature finance platform for the region
  • Work to develop an outline strategy for nature-based solutions and blue-green infrastructure for the region, and explore ways of developing a Yorkshire and Humber Nature Service
  • Develop a regional climate observatory to assess risks, analyse policies and scan for best practice and develop a Sustainable Progress Index
  • Develop a regional area energy plan and support the development of smart energy networks and community energy initiatives
  • Press national government for policies to deliver regional climate ambitions.

Support from Yorkshire mayors

South Yorkshire Mayor Dan Jarvis willbe speaking at the Summit on the regional relevance of the global climate agenda. He said:

“The climate emergency is the greatest challenge we face. We must urgently confront it while also tackling the long-standing inequalities holding the Northern economy back. We’ve declared a climate emergency in South Yorkshire, and have pledged to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040 at the latest. But we must do this in a way which benefits not only just the environment, but our people too – creating good jobs, boosting our productivity, and building a future that’s happier, healthier and more prosperous for everyone.

“This plan is a significant first step to building that future for Yorkshire and the Humber. It’s critical that we start this work now, there is no time to waste.”

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, will be opening the Summit with a welcome from Yorkshire. She said:

“The climate emergency is a global crisis but the solutions are local and that’s why the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission’s Action Plan is so vital.

“Many of the measures being called for in this plan are mirrored in the West Yorkshire Climate and Environment Plan which was launched last month and sets out how we will deliver a net zero carbon region by 2038 at the latest. Both Plans are clear – we need urgent and collaborative action now. We cannot afford to delay.”

Livestreamed event

The all-day Summit at the Royal Armouries in Leeds will be hosted by journalist and broadcaster Christine Talbot. Key sessions from the Yorkshire Climate Summit will be livestreamed and available to watch for free via the event website. The Summit runs from 9.15am to 4.30pm, with the Climate Action Plan being presented by Commissioners from 10.00-11.00am.

The conference is available to watch for free on the Yorkshire Post Climate Change Summit website.

Notes to editors

View the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission Climate Action Plan here.

For interview requests please email Kate Lock, Communications Manager for Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission, on K.M.Lock@leeds.ac.uk 

Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission

The Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission launched in March 2021, as part of the Place-based Climate Action Network (PCAN) and supported by the Yorkshire Leaders Board.

The Commission is an independent advisory group that brings together public, private and third sector actors to support, guide and track the delivery of ambitious climate actions across the region.

Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission’s aims are to advance the region’s climate leadership and to accelerate climate resilient, net-zero development through an inclusive and just transition. Read an overview here.

The Commission has received funding from the Yorkshire and Humber Leaders Board, the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water, Northern Powergrid, Northern Gas Networks, and the University of Leeds. In-kind contributions were provided by the Trades Union Congress and Yorkshire Universities.

yorksandhumberclimate.org.uk
@YHClimateCom
info@yorksandhumberclimate.org.uk

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Yorkshire Universities welcomes the publication of the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Action Plan

Responding to the publication of the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Action Plan, Dr Peter O’Brien, Executive Director of Yorkshire Universities, and Commissioner on the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission, said:

Yorkshire Universities (YU) welcomes the publication of the first Yorkshire and Humber Climate Action Plan. This is a serious and thoughtful document, which provides a clear framework for the region to harness its collective assets and capabilities to deliver the actions needed to respond to the climate emergency. As the Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance, said yesterday, there is no greater challenge facing humanity than climate change. 

As a Commissioner, I welcome the fact that the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Action Plan has been developed following extensive public consultation. All people, places and stakeholders in the region need to feel ownership of the Plan if we are to see a just transition to a net zero carbon future. 

Universities in Yorkshire and the Humber have been at the forefront of scientific efforts to identify the issues causing and resulting from climate change, and to help society take forward the technological and behavioural changes needed to ensure that communities, industry and infrastructure become more resilient in the face of more extreme weather events. Yorkshire’s universities have demonstrated their unique value to the global movements that have been evident during COP26. Equally, within Yorkshire and the Humber, our universities have shown real leadership as the new Regional Action Plan has taken shape. 

As we now move towards implementation, the region’s universities, of all types, will be invited to contribute towards the next stage of the Commission’s work. It’s a responsibility I know Yorkshire’s universities, with the support of YU, are ready to embrace. 

Note to editors

Yorkshire Universities has a shared commitment to strengthen the contribution of universities and higher education institutions to the economic, social and civic well-being of people and places in Yorkshire.

The members of Yorkshire Universities are Leeds Arts University; Leeds Conservatoire; Leeds Beckett University; Leeds Trinity University; Sheffield Hallam University; University of Bradford; University of Huddersfield; University of Hull; University of Leeds; University of Sheffield; University of York; and York St John University.

The Chair of Yorkshire Universities is Professor Shirley Congdon, Vice-Chancellor, University of Bradford.

Contact

Dr Peter O’Brien, Executive Director, Yorkshire Universities
@YorkshireUnis

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