Forty Black Bristol Scholars will start their studies this month, as the University’s newest scholarship programme gets underway.
The University’s Black Bristol Scholarship Programme was launched to address the under-representation of Black students at Bristol and 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 – totalling 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 (Insight to Bristol), support to prospective students and their parents through Year 13 (Next Step Bristol) and free one-to-one counselling for Black, Asian and minority ethnic students provided by a specialist partner organisation.
The University also runs the Be More Empowered (BME) for Success programme, which employs and trains current Black, Asian and minority ethnic students as advocates to work with students and staff to understand the particular challenges they may face.
Over the past five years student undergraduate enrolments to the University from Black students have more than doubled. The Black Bristol Scholarship programme aims to build on this progress. 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.