UCL Computer Science


New scholarship to support Black students launched at UCL Computer Science

19 May 2022

The UCL Computer Science Aspire Award is a new undergraduate scholarship that reduces financial barriers and improves representation of students from Black or mixed Black ethnic backgrounds within the department.

Words say: UCL Computer Science Aspire Award Scholarship. Image shows two black students (one female, one male)

About the scholarship

Three scholarships are available to prospective undergraduate students who identify as the target group and intend to study either the Computer Science BSc or Computer Science MEng programmes.

The scholarships cover full tuition fees plus an annual allowance for living and study expenses (£15,364) during the normal duration of their UCL programme. All Aspire scholars will also receive on-going academic and career support during their studies.

Why support is needed

Following recent work with Arkisites, an organisation dedicated to bridging the access gap between the tech sector and minority ethnic groups, the department found that students from Black or mixed Black ethnic backgrounds named financial barriers as one of the main factors for not joining UCL.  

More broadly, representation of Black people within the tech sector is low. In 2019, Black people made up only three per cent of the UK tech workforce – and only 2.6 per cent of UK technology company board members are from ethnic-minority backgrounds.

As a whole, according to 2020 Office for National Statistics figures, Black people working in IT made up only 1.9% of the total IT UK specialist workforce.

In response to this backdrop, the department has committed to creating more opportunities for underrepresented groups to study Computer Science at UCL through this scheme.

Karin Alderson, UCL Computer Science Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee Co-chair, said: 

“We want the best and the brightest students to be able to study with us and recognise that financial constraints can be an insurmountable barrier to many excellent candidates, especially from the Black community. We are delighted to launch our Aspire Scholarships for undergraduate students who identify in this group.”

Professor Marc Deisenroth, UCL Computer Science EDI Committee Chair, said:

"I'm super happy that we can support three Black undergraduates with the UCL-CS Aspire Scholarships since Black students are especially vulnerable to financial hardships. We are looking forward to being able to offer even more support in the coming years."

Find out more

To learn more about the scholarship, including eligibility criteria, how to apply and FAQs, please visit the Aspire Award website.