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Black Bristol Scholarship Programme kicks off: 40 students join £1m diversity initiative

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The University’s Black Bristol Scholarship Programme was launched to address the under-representation of Black students (@BristolUni).

Starting this month, the scheme will see scores of students given bursaries, postgraduate funding and targeted careers support.

One of the inaugural scholars, David Afikuyomi, who will be studying for an MRes in Economics, said:

“I was lost for words when I received the scholarship. This is one of the best things that has happened to me and I’m incredibly grateful.

“The university of Bristol has always supported me since I finished my undergraduate degree six years ago.

“Ultimately, this funding helps my dream to complete a PhD in economics. As one of the first people to receive this scholarship, I hope that I can set an example for others with a similar background to pursue their research aspirations.”

Funding for the first four years of the Programme – totaling more than £1million – comes from the University of Bristol’s generous community of alumni and friends.

It adds to a range of other support which feed into one of Bristol’s core aims: to be an anti-racist university.

Initiatives include week-long summer schools, support to prospective students and their parents through Year 13 and free one-to-one counselling for BAME students provided by a specialist partner organisation.

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The University also runs the Be More Empowered (BME) for Success programme, which employs and trains current BAME students as advocates to work with students and staff to understand challenges faced by BAME students.

Over the past five years student undergraduate enrolments to the University from Black students have more than doubled.

The Scholarship builds on this success. The £250,000-a-year programme includes:

  • 20 Black Futures Scholarships, which provides undergraduate students with both a bursary and targeted support from the Careers Service, alongside funding to support employability opportunities.
  • Three postgraduate scholarships for students within the University’s Widening Participation programmes, encouraging students to progress to taught master’s programmes.
  • £125,000 to grow the Opportunity Bristol studentships, which supports around four to five students within the research community to embark on postgraduate research master’s degrees, preparing them to pursue funded PhD opportunities.
  • Four PGCE scholarships to increase the number of Black teachers in the UK’s education sector.
  • Two Black Humanities master’s scholarships per year, which will fully fund two teachers to complete the unique interdisciplinary course either full time or part time.

Professor Judith Squires, Provost and Deputy Vice Chancellor, said:

I am really proud to be welcoming our first cohort of Black Bristol scholars.

“This landmark scheme provides much-needed positive support for highly talented students, addressing the historical under-representation of Black students at our University.

“A huge thank you to our ever-generous alumni community, who are once again helping to change the lives of those who come after them.”

Fewer than 1% of the professors employed at UK universities are Black and few British universities employ more than one or two Black professors. Overall, Black academics make up 2% of the total working at UK universities.

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