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Doctoral Scheme Expanded to Offer Opportunities for Under-represented Groups

The Leverhulme Trust Board is pleased to announce the investment of more than £6 million to help under-represented groups secure careers in academia. 

The Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships scheme (LDS) is being expanded to provide funding specifically for Black students and those from low-income households. In addition, the Trust will also offer new funding for outstanding EU and international doctoral students via its LDS programmes. The package is designed to ensure support for a nationally and internationally diverse range of the most promising students.

Previously, the Trust typically made 10 LDS awards every three years, each to train 15 doctoral students. That number will now rise to up to 18 students per award with the new funding. It means up to 30 Black and/or low income students will initially benefit from this scheme and the funding will support them through both a research masters degree and a PhD. The extra funding will amount to £6.06million, bringing total spending on the LDS to £19.56m per three-year cycle.

Chairman of the Leverhulme Trust, Niall FitzGerald, said:

‘We want to offer richly rewarding, not to mention personal and society transforming careers to the best and brightest students, no matter what their background or where they come from.’

Director of the Leverhulme Trust, Professor Anna Vignoles, said:

‘We are proud to offer these new opportunities to students whose research is often bold, innovative and edgy, and has the potential to make our world of tomorrow a better place.’

The LDS can be transformative for some individuals. 

Portraits of Dr Imani Strong and Dr Marina Bazhydai

Left: Dr Imani Strong; Right: Dr Marina Bazhydai

Dr Imani Strong, a postdoctoral fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science, studied racial inequalities and affirmative action policy in the United States through the LDS. She said:

‘I would have been unable to begin study without the fellowship.

‘I benefitted from interdisciplinary discussions with peers and guidance from top scholars in related fields who pushed my research and encouraged my explorations and ideas.

‘My burgeoning career as an anthropologist and academic was made possible financially by the Trust and supported by its administrators at the LSE, and both have my deepest gratitude.’ 

Dr Marina Bazhydai, a Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Lancaster, said of the LDS:

‘The unparalleled financial support for research expenses, conference travel, skills training and networking opportunities was instrumental to my early career successes.

‘Following this excellent doctoral training, I was successful in securing a lecturer position at Lancaster University. I undoubtedly owe it to the Leverhulme Trust for jump-starting my academic career.’

Hear more from past and current Leverhulme Doctoral Scholars: www.leverhulme.ac.uk/leverhulme-doctoral-scholarships/doctoral-scholars-over-years

Another important change will also be made to eligibility for the LDS, which is expected to further improve access for a wider range of students. Currently, the scheme does not allow for bids from groups of universities in partnership. This rule will be abolished, meaning institutions where there is wider diversity in the student body will be able to apply in partnership with others. 

For more information on how to apply for the scheme, and its terms and conditions, see: www.leverhulme.ac.uk/leverhulme-doctoral-scholarships

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