New scholarships will increase diversity in digital industry
By Sarah Wood
University of Gloucestershire has been awarded a share of £8.1 million in funding to support efforts to widen access and increase diversity in the UK digital industry, providing the sector with a larger pool of highly skilled graduates.
The funding from the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) and Office for Artificial Intelligence (OAI) is being awarded by the Office for Students (OfS) to universities to deliver artificial intelligence and data science scholarships.
The OfS is providing a total of £8.1 million funding for up to 817 scholarships to eligible under-represented groups across 30 universities. The scholarships - each worth up to £10,000 - are prioritised for women, black students, students registered disabled and those from low socioeconomic backgrounds, to increase diversity in the technology sector.
After a competitive selection process, the University of Gloucestershire was awarded funding for scholarships for its MSc in data science, delivered by its School of Computing and Engineering, for the 2023-24 academic year.
The university, which is aiming to become a centre of excellence for computing and digital technologies, secured the funding as part of a consortium led by Coventry University, which will coordinate the efforts of universities to distribute the scholarships.
Dr Will Sayers, academic course lead for the university's MSc in data science, said: "Empowering students with data skills is crucial in today's world, where the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) and data science technologies, such as ChatGPT, is set to transform our society.
"This scholarship programme for our MSc in data science supports diverse students in gaining these critical skills and helping to ensure that this transformation takes place in an inclusive and representative way."
John Blake, director for fair access and participation at the OfS, said: "This funding provides opportunities for students under-represented in these industries to achieve their career aspirations.
"This funding builds on the successes of the programme's recent students and provides the UK's data science and AI sector with a wider pool of highly skilled graduates."
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