New funding enables expansion of postgraduate access programme In2research

UCL has been awarded £790,000 to grow its partnership with social mobility charity In2scienceUK through the postgraduate outreach initiative In2research extending across all disciplines and multiple universities by 2026.

A recent report on the structural barriers to students from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds progressing to postgraduate study highlights core barriers that need to be urgently addressed.

In2research was designed to tackle three fundamental barriers to progression: knowledge of the postgraduate application system, research experience and the academic culture of the institution they are going into.

Dr Rebecca McKelvey, Founder of In2scienceUK, said: “We are excited to support many more people who are smart, interested and passionate to progress to research careers and help us shape a more equal future from health, technology, engineering, and maths of our society. We hope this will inspire more organisations across industry and education to help us make a real difference in people’s lives while boosting the UK’s talent pool of future innovators.”


The In2research programme has been designed to leverage the passion and expertise of universities and researchers to provide high quality and meaningful opportunities to support people from under-represented backgrounds to progress to postgraduate research.

The four-step programme consists of workshops, mentor sessions, away days and summer research placements, and will be delivered through a bespoke In2research platform which fosters a collaborative relationship between participants, researchers and universities.

The 8-week paid research placements will take place over the summer, based in one of our three partnering institutions: UCL, University of Cambridge and City University of London.

All participants will then receive ongoing support through the Alumni programme, supported by the Student’s Union. This network will create a community of support with a focus on changing the academic landscape.

Crucially, the programme also seeks to change the culture of the institutions it works with. All mentors and supervisors are required to attend race and cultural literacy training and will have continuous support from the In2research team.

Leading Routes, author of The Broken Pipeline report, are partners on the project; providing training and specialised guidance on supporting black students to progress on to postgraduate study beyond.

Paulette Williams, Founder & Managing Director of Leading Routes said “We are delighted to be a partner on the In2Research programme. The pipeline to academic careers begins way before the PhD application stage and this programme aligns with our aspirations to support Black students on that journey as early as possible.”

UPSIGN, a charity focused on supporting British Pakistani people in research and academic careers, will also be partnering on the programme. Together they will bring much needed insight into the structural barriers faced by the least represented groups in academia today.

All institutions will participate in a long-term culture change study reflecting on the culture of the workplace, and the impact of their participation in In2research on this culture.

Prof Sasha Roseneil, Pro Vice-Provost for Equity and Inclusion, said “Whilst UCL’s UK undergraduate students have become increasingly ethnically and racially diverse over recent years, our PhD student community, and, even more so, our academic staff are far less representative of the UK population. We urgently need to address the social processes and cultures that maintain the academy as a white, majority ethnic space. The In2Research programme offers a really exciting opportunity to take forward evidence-based interventions that will open up postgraduate research and academic careers to Black, Asian and minority ethnic students.”

The successful bid, funded through the joint funding competition between OfS and UKRI, is led at UCL by Cassandra Hugill (Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging), and Dr Rebecca Lindner (UCL Doctoral School). Developed in consultation with students and key partners, the programme will continue to be shaped by student voice, supported by UCL Students’ Union.

The programme has gained considerable co-investment across UCL and partner institutions through the funding of research placements which provide stipends at London living wage.


More information:

UKRI – Improving minority ethnic groups’ access to postgraduate research

BBC – Universities to combat race bias in research

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