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

The Office for Students (OfS) and Research England (RE) are providing nearly £8 million funding to 13 projects to improve access and participation for black, Asian and minority ethnic students 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.

Read more about the inequalities affecting black, Asian and minority ethnic students in PGR.

The programme competition aims

13 new projects will attempt to tackle persistent inequalities that create barriers for black, Asian and minority ethnic students to access and take part in PGR.

The projects are innovative in scope, scale and focus to an extent that has not been seen in England before. Delivered over the next four years, 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 investment by the OfS and RE, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), 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. They also look at generating new admissions practices to creating longitudinal, systemic and structural change at various English providers.

An expert panel and steering group were appointed via competitive process to help the programme to achieve its aims. The expert panel was appointed to support final funding decisions and the steering group will guide and support the programme long term.

Read about the panel and steering group See details of the funded projects

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.

See the evaluation report of the first year of the programme Strategy for evidence and evaluation in access and participation
Published 22 October 2020
Last updated 27 June 2023
27 June 2023
Added link to evaluation report of first year of the programme.
24 November 2021
Updated with funding programmes
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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