Funding competition to improve access and participation for black, Asian and minority ethnic students in postgraduate research

Research England (RE) and the Office for Students (OfS) have launched a joint funding competition for project proposals to improve access and participation for black, Asian and minority ethnic groups in postgraduate research (PGR).

The issue

Persistent inequalities exist throughout higher education for black, Asian and minority ethnic students.

Some of the inequalities that are present for black, Asian and minority ethnic undergraduate students – such as the gap in degree outcomes between white students and black students – are reflected in the underrepresentation of black, Asian and minority ethnic students in PGR.

Competition aims

The aims of this competition are to:

  • stimulate innovation, scale-up and distribute effective practice in increasing access and participation for black, Asian and/or minority ethnic groups in PGR 
  • ambitiously address evidenced issues of inequality across the PGR student lifecycle that create barriers for students from black, Asian and/or minority ethnic groups
  • collaborate strategically to embed equality, diversity and inclusion across the sector to improve access and participation for black, Asian and/or minority ethnic groups in PGR.

Together OfS and Research England are making available up to £8 million to individual or collaborative provider bids, across a programme duration of four academic years.

Awarding funding

The funding competition has now closed and the assessment process is underway. We will announce successful bids in Autumn 2021.

Date Activity

June - July 2021

Assessment process

July 2021

Panel meeting to review and recommend bids for funding decisions, and communication to bidders

September 2021

Funding available

Projects must commence

First evaluation meeting

September 2025

Projects must conclude

Funding ends

March 2026

End of project reports due

Evaluating impact

We have appointed a collaboration led by Kings College London to evaluate the programme.

The Evidence Development and Incubation Team from the Policy Institute at King’s College London will partner with the Centre for Transforming Access and Student Outcomes in Higher Education (TASO) to evaluate how effective the overall programme and projects are at achieving their aims and priorities.

Students will be at the heart of the research design and funders, evaluators and projects will work inclusively to ensure lived and learned experiences of racial inequality are at the heart throughout.

Given the long duration of the projects, the team will seek to incorporate opportunities for reciprocal learning with projects and funders as the programme develops.

The evaluation team has been appointed early in the process as part of our strategic commitment to prioritise a culture of evidence in our strategic funding interventions.

The evaluation will focus equally on impact and inclusion, and will use a mixed-method, combined impact and process evaluation.

By enabling co-creation and engagement with local project teams and ensuring robust data collection and methodologies are in place at an early stage, it is hoped that the emerging findings will help determine what works, how and why in tackling persistent inequality.

Strategy for evidence and evaluation in access and participation

Contact us

If you have any questions regarding this competition, please email [email protected].

Published 22 October 2020
Last updated 29 June 2021
29 June 2021
Updated to reflect the closed funding competition
21 June 2021
Competition deadline closed.
09 March 2021
Dates updated in process FAQs
15 January 2021
Deadline extended and new FAQs added
11 December 2020
Additional FAQs added
02 December 2020
Two more questions about process added.

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