YCEDE will focus on four main elements of facilitating institutional change and empowering individuals:

Nurturing the research pipeline

Aim: Widening opportunities to ensure equity of access to and participation in research.

Reforming PGR recruitment and selection for equity and diversity

Aim: Changing institutional practices and culture to reduce inequality in offer rates.

Enhancing the on-course PGR experience

Aim: Ensuring that we deliver an excellent experience for PGRs of Colour by developing institutions in which they feel a valued part of the wider scholarly community.

Evaluating and disseminating our activities

Aim: provide an evidence base for interventions to share widely across the HE sector and beyond.
NB We use the terms BAME and People or Students of Colour interchangeably and respectfully, although we know there are issues with these terms.[1] We recognise the importance of acknowledging and celebrating the cultural and ethnic identity of people within what is defined as BAME.

[1] DaCosta, C., Dixon-Smith, S. and Singh, G. (2021) Beyond BAME: Rethinking the politics, construction, application, and efficacy of ethnic categorization.

Why do we need this project?

UK doctoral education has an equity problem. The population of PhD researchers in the UK does not represent the general population, nor indeed the population of first-degree graduates from which it is drawn. As a consequence, important voices are not heard, and as a result, the research enterprise is deprived of invaluable opportunities for creative problem solving.

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people are underrepresented in postgraduate research study – and data published by the OfS shows there has been little change in recent years. Participation in postgraduate research at the UK’s top universities and colleges remains low; 17.1% of PGRs in 2017-18 were from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, a rise of just 1.4 percentage points compared to participation levels in 2010-11.

Similar to the national patterns, data from YCEDE partner universities shows that People of Colour are under-represented among our PGR community and that they are less likely to receive PhD offers than White applicants. We take both of these patterns as indications that intervention is needed both to expand access to doctoral opportunities and to address selection and offer-making practices at doctoral level.