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.


Dr Peter O’Brien, Executive Director, Yorkshire Universities

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