The University of Leeds is offering scholarships for students to study data science-related Masters courses, which will help increase diversity and improve skills gaps in the digital workforce.
Applications are now open for 18 scholarships to study on three data science-related Masters courses in the 2023-24 academic year, following the university’s successful bid for funding from the Office for Students (OfS).
The scheme aims to encourage more women, Black students, disabled students and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds into data science and AI industries.
A report from market research company Ipsos Mori has emphasised that the current workforce in AI and Data Science is not representative of the wider population. Some 53% of the AI-related firms surveyed said none of their employees were female, and 40% had no employees from an ethnic minority background.
Together, we aim to make a difference in the world by building a better future for everyone - and equity and diversity is at the heart of this.
Professor Simone Buitendijk, University of Leeds Vice-Chancellor and President, said: “We are on the path to building an inclusive University community which tackles inequalities, ensuring everyone can belong, thrive and succeed. Scholarships like this open up opportunities for more people to achieve the careers they want, and allow them to be the best version of themselves.”
Louise Banahene, Leeds’ Director of Educational Engagement, said: “We know that breaking down discrimination and bias benefits our entire community. By opening up the MSc courses to students who are underrepresented in these industries, we’re enabling more people to achieve their aspirations, as well as increasing the pool of talented graduates entering the UK’s data science and AI industry.”
Funding for the scholarships comes from the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) and Office for Artificial Intelligence (OAI).
Professor Paul Baxter, Director of Education and Training at Leeds Institute for Data Analytics (LIDA), said: "Recruiting and supporting students that are representative of the wider community is really important for the future data science workforce. By working together through Leeds Institute for Data Analytics, we have been able to secure masters scholarships for underrepresented groups across three data science-related MSc programmes at Leeds.”
The Office for Students scholarships are worth £10,000 per student. Students may also be eligible for the Leeds Masters Scholarships, worth £7,000 per student.
Students will also be enrolled in The Plus Programme, which is a support network for students from backgrounds that are under-represented at university.
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