Pioneering projects to support BAME students involved in postgraduate research study

We have been awarded funding for three projects which aim to tackle persistent inequalities that create barriers for Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students to access and take part in postgraduate research.



Data published by the OfS found that BAME people are underrepresented in postgraduate research and studies show that there has been little change in recent years.

These three initiatives are among 13 projects funded by Research England and the OfS which range from targeting recruitment to increasing the number of Black, Asian and minority ethnic female professors, and generating new admissions practices to create longitudinal, systemic, and structural change at various English universities.

The University of Sheffield is proud to be part of and leading on these dynamic projects that will change the postgraduate research student experience at universities in England. Read on to learn more about the work we are doing to improve the experiences of postgraduate students.

These projects are primarily aimed at  students who identify as Black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME).

Project: University of Sheffield Centre for Equity and Inclusion


The Centre for Equity and Inclusion aims to enhance the university experience for BAME postgraduate students through a wide-ranging programme of professional development, reflective and creative practice, and collaborative projects with local organisations invested in racial and social justice. 

This three-year project will establish an expert network of postgraduate research students, University of Sheffield academics, and local partners, and will develop a resilient and sustainable network capable of creating significant systemic and cultural change within higher education.

The aim is to build a more equitable and justice-focused culture in the institution, in order to create space for a more inclusive community that recognizes the contributions of students, academics, and community partners from all racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Professor Aarti Iyer

Co-Director of the Centre for Equity & Inclusion and Professor of Social Psychology, University of Sheffield.

University of Sheffield Centre for Equity and Inclusion members
From top left - right: Dr Nadena Doharty, Dr Antony Williams, Dr Seth Mehl, Dr Nicola Hemmings, Professor Aarti Iyer, Dr Alex Mason

Project leads

The Centre will be led by University of Sheffield academic staff and a project manager:  

  • Dr Nadena Doharty, School of Education
  • Dr Nicola Hemmings, School of Biosciences
  • Dr Antony Williams, School of Education
  • Professor Aarti Iyer, Department of Psychology
  • Dr Seth Mehl, Digital Humanities, Humanities Research Institute
  • Dr Alex Mason, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Project Manager 
Who is the project for?

This project is open to all postgraduate students (both domestic and international) who identify as Black, Asian or another minoritised ethnicity.

How can I get involved?

Visit our Centre for equity and inclusion website for the latest updates.

In April 2022, we are hosting a series of student feedback workshops, aimed at UK educated postgraduate research students who identify as BAME. These sessions will shape the work of the centre and provide the opportunity for students to share key insights into the issues that are affecting them.

Our external local partner organisations include: SHARE (Sheffield Anti-Racist Education), SADACCA (Sheffield & District African Caribbean Community Association) MA Education Consultancy, African Voices Platform, The Lit Collective, Adoptee Futures.

For more information and to sign up for activities, sign up to the Centre for Equity & Inclusion google form.

Project activity timeline

Spring 2022

Project starts March 2022 Wellbeing and professional development opportunities begin Two research projects begin: (1) reviewing supervisory support for postgraduates from racially marginalised backgrounds, and (2) conducting racially equitable partnership work.

Winter 2022 - early 2023

Centre’s first showcase event. Annual community archive publication.

Autumn 2022

Funding opportunities for knowledge exchange projects co-developed by students and     external partners. Mentorship scheme begins. New postgraduate supervisor training course.

Summer 2022

Centre for Equity and Inclusion launch event 24 June Community archive programme established.

    Project: Yorkshire Consortium for Equity in Doctoral Education (YCEDE)


    The Yorkshire Consortium for Equity in Doctoral Education (YCEDE) is a four year project that will tackle ethnic inequalities in accessing postgraduate research through innovations that reshape institutional policies and procedures.

    Led by the University of York, this work will support Black, Asian and minority ethnic candidates to apply for postgraduate research programmes and work to enhance their on-course experiences and provide bespoke mentoring and training to build a strong community of staff and PGRs with the knowledge, confidence and leadership skills to succeed in their future careers.

    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 PGR community and will help to maximise the impact of the excellent research our PGRs undertake now and in the future. By working with our partners and local communities, we will catalyse change in the recruitment and support of BAME students across Yorkshire and nurture the next generation of BAME research leaders.

    Professor Lorraine Maltby

    Deputy Vice-President for Research, University of Sheffield 

    Professor Lorraine Maltby

    Universities in consortium 

    • Kate Arnold, Paul Wakeling and Avtar Matharu, University of York
    • Pippa Chapman and Louise Banahene, University of Leeds 
    • Esther Allen, Charlotte Burns and Lorraine Maltby, University of Sheffield
    • Lucy Clague and Colin McCaig, Sheffield Hallam University 
    • Udy Archibong, University of Bradford
    Who is the project for?

    This project is primarily aimed at current students at the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam, Leeds, York and Bradford who identify as Black, Asian or another minoritised ethnicity.

    How can I get involved?

    Visit the Yorkshire Consortium for Equity in Doctoral Education website for more details.

    Project timeline activity

    February 2022
    YCEDE consortium website launch

    May 2022
    YCEDE launch 26 May 2022

    Summer 2022
    YCEDE research experience internships for undergraduate students who identify as Black, Asian and minority ethnic under the University SURE scheme. More details to follow.

    YCEDE launch event

    Join us on Thursday 26 May 2022 to celebrate the launch of the Yorkshire Consortium for Equity in Doctoral Education (YCEDE).

    We have a very exciting day planned ahead which will be an excellent opportunity to network with our partners and for you to learn more about the activities and outcomes of this project. This is an in-person event and will take place in the city of York. Please see below for further details:

    • Date: Thursday 26 May 2022
    • Time: 10 am-4pm
    • Venue: Principal Hotel, Station Rd, York YO24 1AA

    More information about this event will be posted soon on the Yorkshire Consortium for Equity in Doctoral Education website.

      Project: Generation Delta


      Generation Delta project has been designed to nurture the next generation and long-term increase the number of BAME female professors at higher education institutions in England.

      This four-year project led by the University of Leeds, will address both institutional and individual barriers experienced by Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) women at different stages of the postgraduate research students’ life cycle, through working with institutions to design and deliver training and strategic advice that recognises the impact of intersecting inequalities on access and progression in academic careers. 

      This work will build upon and create tangible infrastructural networks for BAME female postgraduate research students (PGR), pilot contextual offers/contextualised admissions for BAME female PGR students; design and implement workshops which will support and engage PGR students to successfully access and participate in PGR study and academic careers, and create a network of support led by and for students that is modelled on the Black Female Professors Forum. 

      Generation Delta will deliver an active intervention to improve the practical experiences and outcomes for BAME female students through 3 key phases of the postgraduate research student lifecycle: Access to Academy; Retention and Progression; and Training for Careers.

      This project is unique amongst those funded by the Office for Students and Research England, in that it focuses on BAME females, the smallest group of professors in UK higher education. 

      Led by a team of BAME female professors, this is an important and exciting opportunity to understand and break down the barriers to successful careers in academia that this group faces. Our hope is to encourage and mentor BAME female students at every stage of their academic careers, with a view to redressing the current imbalance at the very top.

      Professor Amaka Offiah

      Chair in Paediatric Musculoskeletal Imaging, University of Sheffield

      Professor Amaka Offiah

      Project leads

      The project is led by six female BAME Professors with academic expertise covering law, medicine, education, tourism, economics and  business studies.

      • Professor Iyiola Solanke,University of Leeds and the project’s Chief Investigator 

      • Professor Amaka C Offiah, University of Sheffield and the project’s Local Principal Investigator

      • Professor Farzana Shain, Goldsmiths University of London

      • Professor Donna Chambers, University of Sunderland

      • Professor Uma Kambhampati, University of Reading

      • Professor Shaofeng Liu, University of Plymouth 

      Who is the project for?

      This project is primarily aimed at students at the University of Sheffield, Leeds, Sunderland, Reading, Plymouth and Goldsmith University who identify as female and Black, Asian or another minoritised ethnicity.

      How you can get involved

      Visit the Generation Delta website to learn more:

      Project activity timeline 


      Generation Delta survey is open to students at the six participating universities. Feedback will inform future plans and discussions

      Winter 2022/early 2023

      Generation Delta website launch planned Mentoring scheme opens to nominations for mentors and mentees

      Institutional Admissions Roundtable in London (more details to follow)

      Autumn 2022

      Advisory Group Meeting (more details to follow) Student Admissions Workshop in London (more details to follow)

        In the future...

        Generation Delta champions

        We will be reaching out  for students who can become Generation Delta champions - this will be up to three BAME female students from each of the participating universities who will champion the project’s cause.

        Retention Workshop

        We will be asking students to register for/attend our Retention Workshop to help ensure the programme makes a sustained difference to our students.

        Language disclaimer

        Language can influence how we perceive and categorise reality. Throughout our work, we use the acronym BAME to stand for people from Black, Asian, and minority ethnic groups within the UK. We are aware of the profound limitations of this term as it groups together a wide range of people and their various lived experiences. Over the coming months our aim is to reach out to our stakeholders to find a more inclusive term that they recognise and is meaningful.

        These projects are supported by the Yorkshire Consortium for Equity in Doctoral Education (YCEDE), Generation Delta and the University of Sheffield Centre for Equity and Inclusion:

        Logos for YCEDE, Generation Delta, University of Sheffield

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