UK university reaches out to Indian women in STEM

UK university reaches out to Indian women in STEM
Courtesy: Matt Lincoln | Image Source via Getty Images

The University of Manchester has announced five British Council scholarships in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) for master’s degree female students from India and other countries in South Asia.

The fully-funded scholarships aim to increase opportunities for women and girls studying in STEM and will cover full tuition fees and most expenses associated with study overseas including flights, visa and a monthly stipend, with provision also made for accompanying children. The university highlighted it as part of a partnership between the British Council and India’s Department of Science and Technology (DST) on the Gender Advancement through Transforming Institutions, or GATI, project advancing women in STEM in India.

Dr David Polya, Faculty of Science and Engineering Associate Dean for Internationalisation and Professor of Environmental Geochemistry at the University of Manchester, said: “With the new scholarship offering we hope we can help to further address the gender imbalance seen within STEM subjects alongside giving a passport to a successful career and a lifetime of achievement.

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“As the world’s top university in the Times Higher Education (THE) 2021 impact rankings for action on sustainable development goals (SDGs), The University of Manchester is one of the world’s leading research institutes. This scholarship is symbolic of our core social responsibility goals.”

Applicants to the new scholarships must demonstrate a case for financial support and that they are active in the field of study with work experience or with a proven interest in the course area they are applying for. In addition, they must demonstrate plans for future contribution to capacity-building and socio-economic advancement, and a plan and passion to engage other women and girls in STEM.

Barbara Wickham, Country Director British Council India, said: “Based on the overwhelmingly positive experience and feedback from earlier scholarships, we are excited to offer this fourth round of scholarships for women in STEM.

“With the UK widely recognised as home to some of the world’s top-ranked universities offering quality programmes in STEM, we hope to enable women from across India to access a master’s degree or an academic fellowship at leading UK universities. The British Council is committed to girls’ education and addressing gender imbalance in science, technology and innovation, including in academia.”

The British Council said that since 2018, over 180 Indian women have been able to pursue a master’s in STEM subjects in the UK.

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“These new scholarships will support even more women in making transformational changes in their lives and then go on to make a mark in the world and inspire future generations,” added Wickham.

According to data from the UN Scientific Education and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), fewer than 30 per cent of researchers worldwide are women and only 30 per cent of female students select STEM-related fields in higher education. Globally, female students’ enrolment is particularly low in information and communications technology (3 per cent), natural science, mathematics and statistics (5 per cent), and engineering, manufacturing and construction (8 per cent).

Potential students with a Manchester University offer are encouraged to apply ahead of the deadline on April 10.

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