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University awarded funding to improve research participation and access for minoritised students and staff

Three projects that aim to tackle persistent inequalities that create barriers for minoritised people at the University of Sheffield have been funded by UK Research and Innovation.

Arts Tower from Devonshire street
Harrison Qi (Unsplash)

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has awarded the University of Sheffield funding for three projects that will support it in its delivery of its Race Equality Strategy and Action Plan.

The plan sets out how the University will improve racial inequalities in "representation, progression and success of BAME students and staff through the creation of an even more culturally inclusive and diverse university community."

The first project will involve the setting up of the Centre for Equity and Inclusion, which will begin its work in February 2022. Funded for three years, the Centre aims to create systemic and structural change at the University. It will put together a network of minoritised postgraduate research students, academics and local partners working in the racial justice field.

The Centre for Equity and Inclusion will be led by five academic staff members and will work with external partners including MA Education Consultancy, Our Mel, Sheffield and District African and Caribbean Community Association (SADACCA), The Lit Collective Sheffield, African Voices Platform and Sheffield Anti-Racist Education (SHARE).

Some of the Centre’s goals include the increasing of student and staff knowledge of systemic racism, developing safe spaces for creativity and alternative visions, and challenging structural racism through co-produced projects.

SADDACA Chair Rob Cotterell said of the new Centre, “By taking part in the project, our aim is to enable students placed with us to have a unique learning experience, and a positive impact on the communities they not only belong to, but also serve.

“The added value for SADACCA is to encourage the University to commence dismantling the internal structural barriers that make this project vital.”

The second project, Generation Delta, will be led by the University of Leeds with the University of Sheffield as a partner, seeking to improve the number of "BAME female professors in higher education." The project will involve working with institutions to design and deliver training and advice to integrate and embed "equitable practices" into postgraduate research.

Generation Delta will also create workshops for postgraduate students to break down barriers in access to academic careers, as well as create a network of support modelled on the Black Female Professors Forum.

The third UKRI-funded project, Yorkshire Consortium for Equity in Doctoral Education, will involving the Universities of Bradford, Leeds, Sheffield, York and Sheffield Hallam. It aims to tackle racial inequalities in postgraduate research access through supporting candidates in their applications, working towards enhancing their course experiences, and providing mentoring and training.

Professor Lorraine Maltby, Deputy Vice-President for Research at the University of Sheffield, said of the projects, “A diversity of experiences and perspectives is critical to understanding our world and tackling the major societal challenges we face, nationally and globally.

“These projects will enable us to further our commitment to a diverse and inclusive postgraduate research community and will help to maximise the impact of the excellent research our postgraduate researchers undertake now and in the future.”

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