Already at the heart of a county bidding to become the cyber capital of the UK, the University of Gloucestershire has won a share of an £8.1 million pot to help increase diversity within the UK’s digital industry.
The funding from the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) and Office for Artificial Intelligence (OAI) is being awarded by the office for Students (OfS) to deliver artificial intelligence and data science scholarships.
It is hoped the investment will create up to 817 scholarships to eligible underrepresented groups across 30 UK universities, with each scholarship worth up to £10,000, with priority given to women, black students, students registered disabled and those from low socioeconomic backgrounds.
The University of Gloucestershire has been awarded funding for scholarships for its MSc in data science, delivered by its School of Computing and Engineering at its Cheltenham campus, for the 2023-24 academic year.
Dr Will Sayers, senior lecturer in cyber computing at the university, said: 'Empowering students with data skills is crucial in today's world, where the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) and data science technologies, such as ChatGPT (an artificial-intelligence chatbot), is set to transform our society.
‘This scholarship program for our MSc in Data Science supports diverse students in gaining these critical skills and helping to ensure that this transformation takes place in an inclusive and representative way.’
The university, which is aiming to become a centre of excellence for computing and digital technologies, secured the funding as part of a consortium led by Coventry University, which will coordinate the efforts to distribute the scholarships.
In 2020 a report by the National Cyber Security Centre and KPMG UK highlighted discrimination and a lack of inclusivity across gender, sexual orientation, social mobility and ethnicity in the digital sector and led the NCSC to declare more needed to encourage positive change.