125th Anniversary Scholarships for Black British Researchers

A new PhD scholarship scheme will fund up to 12 talented Black postgraduate research students in Autumn 2024.

The University of Birmingham is proud to celebrate its remarkable 125-year journey and announce the launch of a groundbreaking scholarship initiative designed to empower and support Black British researchers in their pursuit of doctoral education.

These newly established 3.5-year scholarships aim to address under-representation and create opportunities for talented individuals from diverse backgrounds to excel in academia.

We recognise the importance of diversity and inclusion in higher education. In line with our commitment to fostering an environment that celebrates differences and promotes equal access to education, we are excited to introduce the 125th Anniversary Scholarships for Black British Researchers programme.

The deadline for applications is 23:59 (UK time) on Tuesday 30 April 2024.

Key features of this innovative scholarship initiative include:

  1. Financial Support: Recipients of these scholarships will receive substantial financial support, including a stipend at UKRI rates, which is set at £18,622 per year. This support covers tuition fees, living expenses, and research-related costs, including bench fees. This support is designed to alleviate the financial burden often associated with pursuing a doctoral degree.
  2. Mentorship and Guidance: Scholarship recipients will benefit from mentorship opportunities and guidance from accomplished faculty members who are dedicated to helping them succeed in their academic and research endeavours.
  3. Research Opportunities: We are committed to providing an exceptional research environment. Students will have access to state-of-the-art facilities, cutting-edge resources, and a vibrant scholarly community.
  4. Community Building: A key component of the scholarship programme is the creation of a supportive community of Black British researchers pursuing PhDs. This network will foster collaboration and peer support among scholars.
  5. Research Training Support Grant: In addition to financial support, scholarship recipients will receive a research training support grant. This grant is intended to support conference attendance, fieldwork, and other essential activities that enhance their research and academic growth.
  6. Commitment to Inclusivity: We are dedicated to building an inclusive academic environment that values diversity and ensures equitable access to education.

Who can apply?

These scholarships are designed to create opportunities and address the underrepresentation of talented Black or Black mixed heritage students in academia. Applicants who meet all of the following criteria are eligible to apply:

  1. UK nationals and eligible for registration as Home students
  2. Members of one of the following ethnic groups:
    • Black African
    • Black Caribbean
    • Black Other
    • Mixed – White and Black Caribbean
    • Mixed – White and Black African
    • Other mixed background (to include Black African, Black Caribbean or Black Other)
  3. Not already enrolled on a PhD programme at the University of Birmingham

Entry Requirements

In addition to the above eligibility criteria of the scholarships, applicants should meet the university's entry requirements; you should familiarise yourself with the specific entry requirements on your project's individual webpage. Typically, applicants are required to hold a good Honours degree (usually a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree) or an alternative qualification, or experience of equal quality. In certain cases, a Masters degree or equivalent may be expected in a relevant subject.

How to apply

Once applicants have familiarised themselves with the individual project's details, they are encouraged to contact the lead PhD supervisor to discuss the project and the applicant's suitability for the project. This is recommended before you submit an application to the PhD project. You can contact the lead supervisor via email on the individual project's webpage as well as viewing their research portal which includes the supervisor's research interests and academic publications.

After applicants have made contact with the lead PhD supervisor, you will then need to apply to the PhD project using our online application portal. You will find the application link on the individual project's webpage. You will need to create an account for the online application portal and you will be prompted to sign-in upon your return to the portal.

You do not need to complete your application in one session; you can save your application at each stage and return to the portal at any stage before submission, particularly if you do not have all of the necessary documents when you begin your application.

As these are 'advertised PhDs', in which you will studying one of the above projects that has already been provided by the academic supervisor(s), you do not need to submit a research proposal. Your personal statement will suffice for determining your suitability for the PhD project as well as your previous academic, professional and personal experiences. 

The deadline for applications is 23:59 (UK time) on Tuesday 30 April 2024.

For your application you will need to submit the following documents:

Application portal tips

  • You don’t need to complete your application in one session. Simply save it and come back to it when you’re ready.
  • Avoid delays by checking all your information is accurate and complete.
  • Your application won’t be processed until you’ve completed all the relevant sections and submitted it.
  • If you run into any technical issues with your application, email us at directapplicationsystem@contacts.bham.ac.uk

What happens next?

Once you’ve submitted your application, we’ll send you details on how to access your applicant portal. You’ll be able to track the progress of your application, update your personal information, view decisions and accept offers.

Your application will be ‘pending’ on your portal while we check your application.

You can add or edit some details or documents within your application after it’s been submitted through your applicant portal. Or email pgadmissions@contacts.bham.ac.uk (include your applicant ID number) and we can add or edit for you.

Research themes

The 125th Anniversary Scholarships for Black British Researchers are innovative PhD projects in the following research areas:

Global Health: To improve the health and well-being of people and communities across the world through the application of advanced analytics, the development of personalised treatments and the delivery of early interventions.

Thriving Planet: To diagnose the destructive impact of anthropogenic climate change and advance the scalable clean technologies needed to ensure a sustainable future for people, planet and communities.

Connecting Cultures: To foster intercultural inclusivity and communication by understanding how different cultures shape the world; and to enrich the lives of people and communities through the exploration of human experiences, values and expressions.

Life Changing Technologies: To lead advances in technology and accelerate their impact on human progress. As pioneers in sustainable manufacturing, quantum technology, critical materials and healthcare technologies, our researchers are transforming lives and livelihoods.

Fairer World: To provide everyone with the chance of a fairer future by tackling inequalities and regional disparities in all aspect of economy and society.

Professor Michael Hand

We are delighted to be offering up to twelve studentship awards to increase the representation of Black British students at Doctoral level at Birmingham. We believe that fostering diversity and providing opportunities for underrepresented communities is essential for the advancement of knowledge and societal progress. These University of Birmingham Anniversary Scholarships are a reflection of our commitment to inclusivity and academic excellence.

Campus - Aston Webb

125 years of the University of Birmingham

In 2025, we’ll celebrate 125 years since the Royal Charter was granted. Founded in 1900, Birmingham represented a new model for higher education, as England's first civic university, a place where students of all backgrounds were accepted on an equal basis. One of the ways we’re celebrating this 125th anniversary is by making a significant investment in our research students. Birmingham is an outstanding place to live and carry out your research. Join us as we celebrate our 125th anniversary, and be part of our ambitious, exciting future. You will play an important part in driving the excellence of our research to make an even greater difference to the world around us.

Find out more

For more information about the scholarship programme, including announcements of available projects and the application process, please register your interest using the form below.