The partnership, which is part of a national initiative, aims to make postgraduate study more accessible to students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Imperial College London is one of four universities that have been chosen to participate in the inaugural round of a new scholarship programme announced today by the Martingale Postgraduate Foundation, a UK charity that aims to make postgraduate education in STEM subjects more accessible.
In the first year, Martingale Scholarships will be available for students wishing to do a PhD in mathematics at one of the partner universities. Each Scholar receives full funding for a master’s and then a PhD course, together with a maintenance bursary and an allowance for research costs. The programme aims to prioritise students from disadvantaged backgrounds - who tend to experience additional barriers to postgraduate study. Alongside Imperial, University College London, King’s College London, and the University of Cambridge are participating in the first round.
Professor Richard Craster, Dean of Faculty of Natural Sciences, said: "Imperial and the Martingale Foundation have a common commitment to building the pipeline of STEM talent and lifting the barriers that can prevent some students from going into postgraduate education. The announcement of this programme is tremendously exciting, and we are looking forward to welcoming the first cohort of Martingale Scholars in autumn 2023."
While there is wide recognition of the shortage of STEM skills in the UK workforce - the UK Commission for Employment and Skills finding that 43% of STEM vacancies are hard to fill due to a shortage of qualified candidates - the lack of financial support for postgraduate study in STEM subjects is cutting off the flow of talent into the sector. Currently, only a third of recent graduates wishing to go on to postgraduate education are able to do so, with a lack of funding presenting a major barrier to further study for many individuals.
We’re grateful for the Foundation’s generosity and philanthropic leadership, which will have impact not only on the lives of individual students, but on the whole landscape of postgraduate mathematics in the UK Professor Richard Craster Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences
According to Professor Richard Craster, Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, students from lower-income backgrounds are disproportionately affected: "We know that students from less well-off families are underrepresented in postgraduate study at Imperial. The financial support and career development opportunities available through the Martingale Foundation Scholarships will provide a new route for exceptional individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds to study in the Department of Mathematics at Imperial. We’re grateful for the Foundation’s generosity and philanthropic leadership, which will have impact not only on the lives of individual students, but on the whole landscape of postgraduate mathematics in the UK."
Imperial’s partnership with the Martingale Foundation is the latest in a series of initiatives aiming to support young people from diverse backgrounds to excel in mathematics. In 2020 the College announced plans for a new maths school, set to launch in autumn 2023, which will focus on attracting A-level students from groups underrepresented in STEM. Imperial is also home to the pioneering mA*ths online programmes, which provide intensive support and mentoring to A-level students who are studying maths or further maths, and who are considering a maths-related degree at university.
The Martingdale Foundation is accepting applications from 6 October. Full details of the programme and how to apply are available on the Martingale Foundation’s website.