Ethnic minority students experience disproportionate access to postgraduate studies

© Milkos

Research England and the Office for Students (OfS) are investing £6 million and £2 million into projects to improve access and participation in postgraduate research study (PGR) for Black, Asian and minority ethnic students

Research from the Office for Students (OfS) suggests that equality gaps at undergraduate level restrict Black, Asian and minority ethnic students from progressing to postgraduate research study (PGR).

In 2017-18, only 17.1% of PGR students at high-tariff universities(1) and colleges were from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds and OfS data records a difference of 22.1% between the proportion of white and Black students getting a 1st or 2:1.

The new funding will allow successful projects to address this issue by improving access for Black, Asian and minority ethnic students applying for and entering into PGR study, enhancing the PGR student experience and diversifying routes into careers in research and teaching.

Project proposals

Bids will need to meet at least one of the following:

  • Stimulating innovation and/or distributing examples of effective practice or other insights which can be used to shape future policy;
  • Tackling demonstrable barriers;
  • Collaborating strategically to embed equality, diversity and inclusion for these student groups across the sector.

Proposals will also be assessed on the extent to which they engage Black, Asian and minority ethnic students in the design, development and delivery of the projects.

Science Minister Amanda Solloway said:

“I passionately believe in driving forward diversity across the UK’s research industry, ensuring that our most talented researchers, regardless of their background or ethnicity, have the same opportunity, access and resources to develop their ideas.

“By helping to widen participation for Black, Asian and minority ethnic researchers in postgraduate study, today’s funding call will be vital in unlocking the potential of our best and brightest across all parts of society. I cannot wait to see the creative proposals put forward.”

Research England Director of Research, Steven Hill said:

“We hope that the projects funded through this call will help reduce inequality for Black, Asian and minority ethnic students by exploring ways to overcome barriers to access and participation in postgraduate research study.”

“We will welcome applications which outline ambitious proposals for change, and encourage institutions to support individual projects to ensure that the changes they introduce are long lasting.”


(1) Higher tariff providers are the top third of English higher education providers (excluding specialist providers, previously funded by HEFCE) when ranked by average tariff score of UK domiciled undergraduate entrants.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here