The Yorkshire Consortium for Equity in Doctoral Education is a collaboration between five universities in Yorkshire, 12 UKRI funded Doctoral Training partnerships and Centres for Doctoral Training plus a number of external partners dedicated to equity at doctoral level. Central to YCEDE is the question of access to doctoral study for graduates from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.
YCEDE will focus on four main elements of facilitating institutional change and empowering individuals:
Nurturing the research pipelineAim: Widening opportunities to ensure equity of access to and participation in research.
Reforming PGR recruitment and selection for equity and diversityAim: Changing institutional practices and culture to reduce inequality in offer rates.
Enhancing the on-course PGR experienceAim: 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 activitiesAim: provide an evidence base for interventions to share widely across the HE sector and beyond.
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.