13 new projects to improve Black, Asian and minority ethnic students' access to postgraduate research

Lead provider


Project title, funding, and summary of activities

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)


This project will improve access and participation for racialised groups to postgraduate research (PGR), across three modern universities. It will target recruitment, admissions and transition as critical points of systemic inequality in doctoral education.

The project will co-develop and implement a new, work-based partnership approach to PGR recruitment and pilot this with the NHS. The project will co-produce a novel competency-based PGR admissions framework through national consultation with all major stakeholders, in partnership with the UK Council for Graduate Education, and will deliver a large-scale pilot and evaluation of the new framework.  A bespoke coaching programme will be co-created for PGR, supervisors, and professional service staff.

University of East London


Social Transformation and Advocacy through Research (STAR)


This project will develop a career pathway that leads from school to postgraduate research and create routes into research training and careers in the community, voluntary and public sectors.

The project will build an innovative research training programme, through antiracist training in research. The training will link to four complementary offshoot projects, building student support links between postgraduate and undergraduate students, as well as links between university students and local schools.

The offshoot projects will also build a research training pathway for professionals working in creative industries, community projects and allied health professions and embed research skills in the community and voluntary sector.

The 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


This project will be led by six Black, Asian and minority ethnic female 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.

The project will address both institutional and individual barriers experienced by Black, Asian and minority ethnic women at different stages of the PGR life cycle, through the delivery of a programme of training and strategic advice that recognises the impact of intersecting inequalities on access and progression in academic careers.

It will build upon and create networks for Black, Asian and minority ethnic female PGR students. The project will deliver an active intervention to improve the practical experiences and outcomes for Black, Asian and minority ethnic female students through three key phases of the PGR lifecycle: access, retention and progression and training for careers.

University of Surrey


The Shine Scholars Programme: Fixing the broken pipeline


This project will provide Black British students with the resources, support and environment necessary to achieve excellence and pursue rich and rewarding careers after graduation.

The project will aim to increase numbers and the proportion of UK-domiciled Black PGR students, through an internship scheme, undergraduate mentoring and race equity training for staff.

To enhance the postgraduate research experience, fully funded PhD positions will be provided, with additional opportunities, such as summer school, mentoring, reverse mentoring, placements, teaching qualifications and career advice. The project will review support for researcher development, to build an inclusive practice in which PGR students from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds can thrive.

University of Wolverhampton and Birmingham City University

Arthur Terry Learning Partnership
Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
City of Wolverhampton Council
University of Wolverhampton Multi Academy Trust
NIHR Clinical Research Network
Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce (
C Brandauer and Co. Ltd., SME
The Active Wellbeing Society, Birmingham
University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust
West Midlands Combined Authority
City of Wolverhampton College
Black Country Chamber of Commerce
Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust
Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust


That’s me!: Eliminating barriers to postgraduate research study in the West Midlands


This project will operate in the West Midlands to eliminate barriers for students from Black and Minority Ethnic groups and communities to successfully access postgraduate research. It will focus on three large key professional and practice-based subjects that cross-cut and underpin professional practice within many sectors:  1) Health professions, 2) Education, and 3) Business and Law.

The project aims to eliminate barriers to access to PGR by tackling university cultures and processes, creating an enabling regional employment environment, and facilitating outstanding supervisory and peer support, geared towards championing successful research and researcher careers.

Activity will improve access to research degrees from undergraduate, taught postgraduate and professionals wishing to return to research study. Interventions include process and culture change, an open educational resource, communities of practice and an allies hub.

Durham University

Newcastle University
Newcastle Psychological Therapies Clinic
Northumbria University
University of Sunderland
Teesside University


Postgraduate Research Opportunities for the North East/Network for Equity (pro:NE)


This project brings together five universities in the North-East of England to widen access and promote outcomes for prospective and current students and staff of colour in postgraduate research, to deliver a programme with four key strands. These are:

  1. Mental health - a specialist clinical pathway will be developed within Newcastle Psychological Therapies clinic for students of colour, offering culturally competent and responsive services
  2. Mentoring - a peer mentoring service where students and staff of colour build relationships and community, and a reciprocal mentoring service pairing early career researchers with senior leaders to support mutual learning and support
  3. Development - of services across the network, including leadership training, shadowing and networking opportunities and an annual conference
  4. Admissions - an innovative admissions pilot and evaluation that blinds multiple sections of the PGR application process alongside policy and practice reviews

The project has been developed by staff and students of colour to improve wellbeing outcomes and the number of people of colour accessing and thriving in postgraduate research work and study.

University of Cambridge and University of Oxford

Blueprint for All
CRAC Ltd (The Careers Research & Advisory Centre)


Developing fair selection models for historically marginalised postgraduate research students at Oxford and Cambridge


This project will seek to disrupt persistent inequalities for postgraduate students. Traditional admissions practices have historically focused on past experience as much as assessing potential. The project will generate new admissions practices that are equitable and reflective of wider society.

Following a critical review of existing approaches and analysis of good practice across the sector, the project will engage with key stakeholders to co-develop a range of new, fair postgraduate admissions processes and tools. These will be tailored to different disciplines and rooted in a benefits-led, rather than a deficit-led, approach to applicant selection.

The aim is to halve the current ‘offer gap’ in pilot sites by the end of 2025, with an aspiration to eliminate the gap altogether within one school generation (by 2035). This is essential to the ambition to develop a socially just and equitable postgraduate research environment in England.

University of Essex

Vitae (parent organisation CRAC)
Olivedon (Gradintelligence platform)
Diverse Minds
The Brilliant Club
Open Innovation Team


Transitions and Transformations: Black Researcher’s Journey


This project aims to boost postgraduate research access, participation, and good outcomes for UK-domiciled Black students through a set of environment-changing interventions.

The project focuses on structured longitudinal research exposure and engagement, research training, and network building, all concentrated around periods of transition in the academic journey (undergraduate dissertation, Masters dissertation, PhD thesis).

These interventions will be delivered through an innovative Black Researcher programme that comprises sequenced activities organised and supported by a digital machine-learning platform, together with a new equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) training model and a transferrable model for evaluation.

The new EDI training model for decision-makers, professional services staff and academics will focus on opportunities and barriers in Black students’ research journey, as well as a transferrable model for the evaluation of such interventions.

The University of Sheffield

MA Education ConsultancyOur MelSheffield and District African and Caribbean Community Association (SADACCA)The Lit Collective SheffieldAfrican Voices PlatformSheffield Anti-Racist Education (SHARE)


The University of Sheffield Centre for Equity and Inclusion


This project will create longitudinal, systemic, and structural change at the university, establishing a network composed of Black, Asian, and other Minority Ethnic postgraduate research (PGR) students, University of Sheffield academics, and local partners working for equity and racial justice. The network will facilitate culture change at the University to improve BAME PGR students’ experience by:

  1. Enhancing Black, Asian and minority ethnic PGR students’ professional development and sense of community via a specialised mentoring scheme
  2. Increasing student and staff knowledge about racial inequality via specialised training led by experts in equity and inclusion
  3. Fostering knowledge exchange between academia and the broader community, by funding projects co-developed by Black, Asian and minority ethnic PGR students and community partners with expertise in social and racial justice
  4. Developing spaces for reflection, self-care, creativity, and the expression of alternative visions for the academy, through a community archive programme and other extra-curricular activities
  5. Identifying, critiquing, and challenging inequality and racism via co-produced projects involving all centre participants, including co-producing language that reflects an understanding, whilst also limiting the phenomena of racism and its reproduction.

The 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 prorgamme 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.

The project will create opportunities for Black, Asian and minority ethnic students by stimulating innovation and scaling up and/or distributing effective practice. Progression will be facilitated by our approach to ambitiously address evidenced issues of inequality and structural barriers across the PGR student lifecycle, and through strategic collaboration internally and externally to the university to build cultural competence and embed EDI to improve access and participation for Black, Asian and minority ethnic students.

The project will deliver inclusive employment and recruitment practices fundamentally transforming organisational culture. 

University College London

UCL Students’ Union
University of Cambridge
City University
Leading Routes (part of the Ubele initiative)


In2research: Building a scalable PGR access and progression programme for BAME students


This project will address inequalities across the postgraduate research student lifecycle and the barriers that exist for students from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups - particularly for UK-domiciled students from Black British, British Pakistani and British Bangladeshi backgrounds, who are most acutely marginalised in PGR study and academic careers.

The project will recruit over 300 student participants to engage in a 12-month mentoring and development programme, including an eight-week, paid research placement with experienced academics and mentors.

The project will strengthen students’ applications to postgraduate programmes, build knowledge and skills to navigate inequalities in HE and research, increase networking opportunities, and extend support through an alumni community.

It will also promote institutional culture change through training for staff who supervise, train or support Black, Asian and minority ethnic PGR students.

Sheffield Hallam University

Manchester Metropolitan University
Advance HE


Accomplished Study Programme in Research Excellence (ASPIRE) for Black students: Fixing the broken pipeline


This project will develop the capabilities of Black students to navigate structural barriers to doctoral study and enhance pathways of opportunity, through inclusive targeting. The four key aims of the project are:

  1. Develop an impactful, inclusive, targeted research mentorship and well-being programme designed specifically to meet the racialised needs of Black students interested in accessing doctoral level study
  2. Evaluate the ways in which structural barriers to the access of doctoral level study for Black students can be overcome through participation in ASPIRE
  3. Determine whether participation in ASPIRE leads to improved work-readiness of Black students to access doctoral level study
  4. Improve the understanding of PGR supervisors of the specific, racialised needs of Black students interested in accessing doctoral study and the ways in which Black students can be best supported.

Continuous improvement will lead to the development of a framework that can be adapted and adopted by other universities seeking to attract Black students into doctoral level study.

University of York

University of Sheffield
University of Leeds
Sheffield Hallam University
University of Bradford

Yorkshire Consortium for Equity in Doctoral Education (YCEDE)


This project will tackle ethnic inequalities in access to postgraduate research 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.

The project will take a whole pipeline approach supporting candidates to apply for PGR programmes, enhancing the on-course experience of PGRs of colour.

Bespoke mentoring and training will develop a strong community of staff and PGRs with knowledge, confidence and leadership skills, so the pipeline flows beyond university.

The project will rigorously evaluate the effectiveness of interventions and share innovation and best practice widely to enhance opportunities nationwide.