Black Bristol Scholarship Programme offering £1m in new initiatives gets underway this week


By Tia Bahia, BAME Affairs Correspondent

This week the university’s Black Bristol Scholarship Programme will see 40 students be supported with bursaries, postgraduate funding and targeted careers support to address the underrepresentation of black students in higher education.

The University of Bristol claims the programme will support around 130 black students over the course of the next four years.

David Afikuyami, one of the inaugural scholars will be undertaking an MRes in Economics with the hopes of one day achieving a PhD in the field. He said: ‘I was lost for words when I received the scholarship. This is one of the best things that has happened to me and I’m incredibly grateful’.

David Afikuyomi, one of the inaugural scholars / David Afikuyomi

David added: ‘The university of Bristol has always supported me since I finished my undergraduate degree six years ago. Ultimately, this funding helps my dream to complete a PhD in economics. As one of the first people to receive this scholarship, I hope that I can set an example for others with a similar background to pursue their research aspirations.’

Funding for the venture has been provided by Bristol’s community of alumni and friends and will be used for a wide range of initiatives such as week long summer schools and the ‘Next Step Bristol’ programme to offer support and insight to prospective students and their parents. To support students through their university experience, free one-to-one counselling for BAME students will also be provided through a specialist partner organisation.

The £250,000-a-year programme includes 20 Black Futures Scholarships. This provides undergraduate students with both a bursary and support from the Careers Service, alongside funding to support employability opportunities; as well as this, there are three postgraduate scholarships for students within the University’s Widening Participation programmes, encouraging students to progress to taught master’s programmes.

‘I am really proud to be welcoming our first cohort of Black Bristol scholars’

As well as £125,000 to grow the Opportunity Bristol studentships, which will support around four to five students within the research community to embark on postgraduate research master’s degrees, preparing them to pursue funded PhD opportunities; there are also four PGCE scholarships to increase the number of Black teachers in the UK’s education sector and two Black Humanities master’s scholarships per year which will fully fund two teachers to complete the unique interdisciplinary course either full time or part time.

Over the past five years the undergraduate enrolment of black students at the university of Bristol has doubled, with the university having said they are committed to being an anti-racist institution. The eligibility criteria for the scholarship programme is inclusive of those with mixed heritage that includes Black African, Black Caribbean or Black Other.

Professor Judith Squires, Provost and Deputy Vice Chancellor, said: ‘I am really proud to be welcoming our first cohort of Black Bristol scholars. This landmark scheme provides much-needed positive support for highly talented students, addressing the historical under-representation of Black students at our University’.

‘A huge thank you to our ever-generous alumni community, who are once again helping to change the lives of those who come after them’.

Featured Image: University of Bristol