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University awarded share of £8.2m to widen access and increase diversity within digital sector

University of Gloucestershire has been awarded a share of £8.2 million in new funding to increase diversity and widen access within the UK digital sector, providing a larger pool of highly skilled graduates to address the skills gap.

With the digital skills shortage estimated to cost the UK economy £63 billion a year, the Office for Students (OfS) is funding up to 818 scholarships in Artificial Intelligence and data science to under-represented groups across 31 universities for the 2024-25 academic year.

The new 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, with these groups currently significantly underrepresented.

head and shoulders photo Zainab Loukil smiling

The University, which offers a range of digital courses developed with partners from the sector, has been awarded funding for scholarships for its MSc in Data Science for the 2024-25 academic year

The University secured its share of the funding as part of a consortium led by Coventry University, which will coordinate the efforts of universities to distribute the scholarships.

The University offered nine scholarships for its MSc in Data Science for the 2023-24 academic year after the consortium was awarded a share of £8.2 million by the OfS in the first round of funding last year.

Zainab Loukil (pictured), Academic Course Lead for the University’s MSc in Data Science, said: “We’re determined to help drive forward further progress around accessibility and diversity within the UK digital sector and provide opportunities for untapped talent and potential within under-represented groups to thrive.

“The scholarship programme for our MSc in Data Science will enable students from under-represented groups to gain critical skills for a career in the digital sector and help to ensure that improvements that address the skills gap take place in an inclusive and representative way.

“We look forward to providing students with the skills and qualifications they need for a rewarding and successful career in the sector and playing a key role in supporting the ambition to make Gloucestershire a world-class centre for technological innovation.”