UWE Bristol contributes to push for data science diversity

Media Relations Team, 05 March 2024

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Image credit: Marcus Spiske, Unsplash

Further funding has been secured for a national scholarship programme that looks to increase diversity in the AI and data science sector, which has seen success both at UWE Bristol and across the UK.

Following the programme’s national success – which has seen over 950 scholarships awarded nationally to students in target groups – further funding has been confirmed until March 2025. it’s expected that the programme will produce at least 6000 new graduates in total.

The programme was launched in 2020 in response to a shortage of AI and data specialists in the UK and a lack of diversity in the sector. The Office for Students (OfS), in partnership with the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) allocating £13.5 million of funding to the programme.

UWE Bristol is amongst 48 other universities in the UK taking part in the programme, having awarded 30 scholarships in its MSc Data Science course since the programme’s launch, which sees students learn practical skills such as coding, statistics, and machine learning to support future careers in the sector.

Dr Paul Matthews, Programme Leader in for the MSc Data Science course in Information Science at UWE Bristol, said:

“It’s been a real privilege to be able to award these scholarships aimed at increasing representation in the data science profession. We have been fortunate in attracting some strong and deserving candidates who have been highly motivated to go on and achieve excellent marks, despite backgrounds in other subjects and with diverse prior work experience.

“Having diverse life and work experience makes a much better data scientist – technology is only one aspect. Having soft skills, empathy and understanding is vital to applying creative thinking to real world problems.”

UWE Bristol scholarship alumni have continued to make significant contributions to the sector as full data scientists, start-up founders, and for international organisations. Three are now undertaking PhD study at UWE and elsewhere.

Applications for the scholarship are welcome from applicants from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds; lower socioeconomic backgrounds; women; and disabled people. For further information, please reach out to Paul Matthews Paul2.Matthews@uwe.ac.uk.

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