Scholarships for students from underrepresented groups launched to plug digital skills gap

Issue date: 18 June 2020


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Postgraduate scholarships have been launched at UWE Bristol as part of a Government initiative to address the shortage of data science and artificial intelligence specialists in the UK.

UWE Bristol is one of 28 universities across England offering the new scholarships, which are open to students from underrepresented backgrounds.

In all, 18 scholarships in MSc Data Science will be offered over the next three years. The first scholarships on the course, taught in the Faculty of Environment and Technology, will begin in January 2021.

UWE Bristol has received £265,000 in funding from the Office for Students to run the scholarships as part of an £10 million investment. Altogether 1,000 scholarships are being offered across the country.

The national programme aims to target graduates from backgrounds often underrepresented in the AI and data science industries, particularly female, disabled and black students.

Programme leader Dr Paul Matthews, a Senior Lecturer in UWE Bristol’s Department of Computer Science and Creative Technologies, said: “We are pleased to be offering these scholarships to students from underrepresented groups and to play a part in tackling the shortfall of skilled data science specialists joining the UK workforce.

“As part of this programme, we will be using some of the funding received to support and mentor successful scholarship applicants, and to develop work experience and other collaboration opportunities with companies in the region.”

Chris Millward, Director for Fair Access and Participation at the Office for Students, said: “In recent years we have seen significant and increasing demand for digital skills in a range of fields. From healthcare and biosciences, to industry and transport – harnessing artificial intelligence and data science will be crucial in tackling significant global challenges for years to come.

“It is also critical that graduates from all backgrounds have equal opportunities to gain the skills that employers need. With new AI and data science conversion courses across the country, and scholarships available to students from underrepresented backgrounds, this programme will both help tackle skills gaps and increase choice and opportunities for all students.”

Those interested in applying for the UWE Bristol scholarships should contact paul2.matthews@uwe.ac.uk for more information.

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