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New funding secures the future of social mobility programme In2Research

Global health funder Wellcome is the latest funder to support the impactful In2research programme, co-founded by In2scienceUK and Department of Imaging Neuroscience, UCL.

The programme, now in its third year, supports people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds to progress to postgraduate research while working to create a more inclusive research culture. While significant steps forward have been made in widening access to universities for undergraduate students, students from lower-income households are still significantly less likely to progress to postgraduate study and careers in research. The In2Research programme aims to address this gap by tackling three fundamental barriers to progression: knowledge of the postgraduate application system, research experience and the academic culture of the institution they are going into.

The funded grant, led by In2research co-founder Cassandra Hugill at the Department of Imaging Neuroscience, will allow the expansion of the In2research programme, providing 95 fully funded places over three years. It will also allow for further training and support for academics to build their race and cultural literacy and foster a more diverse research community.

Professor Geraint Rees, UCL Vice-Provost (Research, Innovation and Global Engagement), said:

“Diverse teams make better decisions and do better research, so building a pipeline to enable talented people from underprivileged backgrounds to make a career in research and innovation is crucially important. The In2research programme, created in partnership between UCL and In2scienceUK, tackles this challenge. Wellcome’s support of the In2research programme will enable more talented people to access these careers.”

Over the academic year, In2research participants engage in bespoke workshops, subject-specific mentoring and away days focussing on professional development. The programme ends with a fully funded 8-week research placement at a top research institution. Participants then join the growing alumni community, where they continue to receive support throughout their career.

Shomari Lewis-Wilson, Senior Manager, Research Culture & Communities at Wellcome, said:

“Inequality exists throughout the academic pipeline with access to postgraduate study, even for those with a first-class degree, putting students from racially-minoritised backgrounds at a huge disadvantage. We are delighted to support the In2Research team and their ambitious and inclusive programme that provides these students with the support they need to develop their skills and pursue inspiring careers in research science.”

Working in partnership with Leading Routes, UPSIGN, City University of London and Students’ Union UCL, the programme tackles key barriers to postgraduate research study for underrepresented groups. The programme has successfully supported over 75 participants to date, with a further 106 participants enrolling this academic year.

The In2research Programme was created to directly address the long-running problem of underrepresentation of people from low socio-economic backgrounds in academia, medicine, and science. Just 10% of life science professionals, 15% of academics and 6% of doctors come from working class backgrounds.

Find out more here.