Alumni funding supports Equal Representation in Academia initiative spearheaded by alumna
Published: 08 November 2021
The generous support of our alumni has allowed us to provide funding for a new initiative helping underrepresented students to gain valuable insight into careers in academia.
Data on representation of academic staff suggests a low ratio of staff from ethnic minorities to students from the same backgrounds. This suggests that students from ethnic minorities are not progressing into academic research careers.
Spearheaded by St George’s alumna and Postdoctoral Fellow in Neuroscience, Dr Mohani-Preet Dhillon,(pictured below) Equal Representation in Academia (ERA) was launched earlier this year to encourage more students from ethnic minorities to pursue academic research careers, and raise awareness of the career paths available in this area.
The ERA pilot scheme provided fully-funded laboratory placements for four students from ethnic minority backgrounds, allowing them to gain valuable careers insight and hear from role models pursuing careers in academia. Dr Dhillon was shortlisted in the Science category for the 2021 Women of the Future Awards in recognition of her contribution to research and her work to support and nurture young women in the workforce through the ERA initiative. The ERA team are in discussions with other universities and organisations about rolling out placements more widely.
Thanks to the generous donations of our alumni, the Development and Alumni Team has been able to provide £8,000 towards the initiative, enabling the ERA team to provide a further eight placements in 2022.
Dr Dhillon says, "Following the huge success of our pilot scheme, I am delighted that we have received funding to continue creating opportunities for students from different backgrounds and disciplines to pursue careers in academia.
This funding will provide opportunities for students from ethnic minority backgrounds to broaden their horizons and enrich their learning experience so that they have the best chance of success in their chosen career.
Our pilot data has highlighted the significant impact the ERA placements have had by informing students about the career paths available to them and providing them with role models who can help support and guide them as they think about their next steps."
As well as providing student placements, the ERA team will be hosting a careers workshop later this year and would love to hear from alumni who would be interested in supporting these.
To find out more about ERA visit our webpages, or follow ERA on Twitter.