Skip to content

Under representation in academia

Data on representation of academic staff shows 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.

Data also show that as the seniority of the academic role increases, the representation of staff from ethnic minorities decreases. 

How we're trying to help

JPEGEqual Representation in Academia (ERA) is an initiative which aims to raise awareness of academic research careers for students from ethnic minorities and thereby facilitate the academic career path for those wanting to follow this route. ERA is open to undergraduate students from ethnic minorities, on any degree programme.

This is an independent initiative but will be pioneered in St George's, University of London with 4 pilot placements to begin shortly. Following this, ERA hopes to branch out to other universities. 

What we offer

Through ERA, we offer:

  • a work shadowing research placement with travel stipend. Students can shadow a research group to understand the day-to-day life of members instrumental to the scientific process such as postgraduate students, postdoctoral fellows, laboratory technicians, lab principal investigators (PIs), professors etc.

  • an online platform with podcast style interviews and question and answer sessions with academics discussing topics including the graduate school, how to go about considering a PhD and the rewards of an academic career

  • mentoring and careers support

  • engagement with the community to showcase some of the work that scientists do and to highlight the vital contribution of academia to life (e.g. the development of life-saving vaccine treatment for the Coronavirus pandemic).

Apply for a work shadowing placement

ERA work shadowing placements provide the opportunity to gain a valuable insight into academic research careers for students from ethnic minorities, to improve their graduate employability and support in the transition from degree to career. 

The initiative is open to undergraduate students on any degree course and in any year at St George's who are from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Complete this application form (PDF) and send it with your CV to by 4pm on 30th June 2021.

More information

ERA was founded by Dr. Mohani-Preet Kaur Dhillon, a SGUL PhD alumnus.

Mohani is working closely with the Deputy Head and Head of SGUL Graduate School Dr. Mark Bodman-Smith and Dr. Carwyn Hooper and the Dean for Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Dr. Vanessa Ho, to improve Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) and Widening Participation (WP) at SGUL. 

If you would like to get involved in ERA or want more information, please get in touch:

Find a profileSearch by A-Z