Five new scholarships will be available for 2021/22 for South Asian women to study STEM at the University of Edinburgh, with applications open from January.
By Lorna Bruce
The scholarships will provide full funding to two women from India, two women from Pakistan and one from Bangladesh to study a one-year postgraduate taught programme in Biosciences, Biomedical Science or Population Health Sciences. The funding was secured from British Council through a bid coordinated by the South Asia team, working alongside the teams in the subject areas.
Dr. Anne Payne, Director of Professional Services – School of Biological Sciences
"As well as strongly supporting the inclusivity and widening participation aims of the scheme, we see this as an opportunity to enhance our University profile in South Asia."
Women in STEM
The British Council has established programmes, including these scholarships, to support women and girls in STEM. They are designed with a lifecycle approach in mind, from inspiring young girls to work in STEM and to support women in STEM fields reach positions of leadership and network with peers in their region and the UK.
As stated in the British Council’s call for proposals, the gender gap in STEM means not only that women make up a fraction of the workforce and research teams in STEM, but they are published less, paid less and are less likely than their male counterparts to reach positions of leadership, despite being proven to be on average 8% more productive. Closing the gender gap in STEM can also be considered a key strategy in working towards the Sustainable Development Goal Five – Gender Equality.
Securing the funding
The scholarships have been awarded to just 18 other UK universities, including three other Scottish institutions. Across those successful bids the themes and regions differ, however for all the process was competitive.
British Council said “The interest demonstrated by UK universities to participate in this opportunity has been very positive. Over thirty universities have applied through more than eighty applications to the three regions we had available.”
One of the key factors in securing the funding was to be able to provide evidence of how the scholarship would be means tested. Harish Lokhun, South Asia Regional Manager, said that, “We’re able to evidence how well we do this as an organisation because we have such a lot of learning to take from the expertise of other successful programmes like the Mastercard Scholars Foundation Program.”
COP26 scholarship success
Another scholarship opportunity was recently confirmed for the Masters in Climate Change Finance Investment for 2021, in the Business School. There will be two partial scholarships of £10k each for two students, one from Pakistan and one from Nigeria. The University is one of 12 successful UK institutions to secure two of the 26 British Council scholarships in this call.