Oxford launches postgraduate summer access scheme
Oxford University has announced its first graduate summer school programme: UNIQ+.
The residential experience will run over six weeks, and will give 25 potential applicants the chance to experience what it is like to be a postgraduate research student at Oxford, with a focus on the medical, biological, mathematical and physical sciences.
UNIQ+ builds on the success of the recently expanded UNIQ residential for A-Level students in their final year of study. It is aimed at talented individuals who would find progressing into postgraduate study a challenge for reasons other than their academic ability, such as socio-economic circumstances.
The programme will run for six weeks, from 1 July to 9 August 2019, and will give candidates the chance to take part in a range of research projects, including time spent in laboratory environments, all under the guidance and mentorship of Oxford academics and current postdoctoral research students.
All candidates will receive a £2,500 stipend to offset any loss of potential earnings during this time.
UNIQ+ includes a programme of activities intended to give participants a taste of life as an Oxford research student. Participants will also receive guidance on writing an application for postgraduate study and scholarship funding, and on improving their CV to enhance potential career prospects. Accommodation will also be provided for free in one of the University’s world-famous colleges for the duration of the summer school.
Nadia Pollini, Director of Graduate Admissions, said, 'The University of Oxford is committed to attracting and admitting the very best students from all backgrounds and this commitment does not end at undergraduate level. We expect that the UNIQ+ summer school pilot will be a significant step towards widening participation in postgraduate study in the UK, amongst the first of its kind in the country. We hope that UNIQ+ will give talented students who might not usually consider continuing on to postgraduate study the chance to experience what Oxford offers to its students for themselves.'
Victor Ajuwon, current DPhil student, UNIQ attendee and UNIQ+ mentor, said, “The UNIQ summer school was a really amazing week. Being at Oxford with people who were like-minded is really something that raises your aspirations because the idea of studying here becomes a reality, not something really far away and dream-like. It makes you want to work harder to be here.
'I think offering UNIQ+ for graduate study is really important - particularly for second-year students who may not even have thought about what to do after their degree. There’s definitely an information barrier for people from certain backgrounds where their family or friends don’t have those sorts of degrees. You’ll get to come to Oxford and stay for free, with a stipend, and that’s usually a financial barrier – particularly for students from working-class backgrounds who can’t afford these opportunities.'
The programme’s inaugural year is being supported by the EPSRC- and MRC-funded Sustainable Approaches to Biomedical Science (SABS) Centre for Doctoral Training, the BBSRC Interdisciplinary Bioscience Doctoral Training Partnership, and the Mathematical Institute within the Mathematics, Physical, and Life Sciences (MPLS) Division, and by 10 Departments within the Medical Sciences Division.
David Gavaghan, Professor of Computational Biology and Director of the MPLS Graduate School, said, 'The University’s success derives from its community of outstanding researchers and the world-leading research environment that supports them. We are really excited to be able to invite students from under-represented backgrounds to join this community for the summer and to experience this world-leading environment through UNIQ+. There is no typical Oxford experience or typical Oxford student. We want everyone who could benefit from our doctoral research programmes to consider us.'
UNIQ+ programme information and eligibility criteria are available at ox.ac.uk/uniqplus. The deadline for 2019 summer school applications is 12pm on Monday 29 April