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Top 10 Best UK Scholarships for Women in STEM

The presence of women in STEM has been overlooked for too long.

UNICEF’s global report reveals that less than 30% of women opt for STEM subjects in higher education, while UK research from WISE indicates only 24% of STEM jobs nationwide are held by women.   

New government-funded scholarship programs further enable women, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds, to forge successful career paths in STEM. From the opportunity to begin a journey in higher education, to taking things further with a Masters or PhD, scholarships across UK universities empower women to meet their potential and succeed in a male-dominated world of work. 

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • The benefits women in STEM bring
  • Key barriers for women in STEM today
  • What the top 10 best scholarships for women in science are

Why is it so important to get more women into STEM fields?

When workplaces aren’t diverse, they lose their ability to cultivate inclusive and representative innovations that meet the needs of a diverse population. 

Take FitBit for example; their integrated period tracker on their smart devices features a limit of 10 days per menstrual cycle. This imposed limit excluded women with longer cycles from benefiting from the female health features the watch offers. The controversy and consumer pushback from the female health tracker could have been swiftly avoided if more women had input across the feature design process. 

And that’s just one company. An overwhelming 76% of STEM roles are occupied by men in organisations across the UK, and this trend is maintained regardless of ability – more boys than girls aspire to careers in STEM even if both groups are top performers in STEM subjects. 
  
So, what’s holding top-performing women back from a STEM career?

According to UNICEF’s research, the key barriers are: 

  • Gender stereotypes
  • Gender bias in the curriculum, including textbook illustrations
  • Gender bias in parental and teacher expectations
  • Gender bias in classrooms and peer perceptions
  • Gender bias in access to STEM resources
  • Lack of female teachers 
  • Inadequate information and career guidance

It’s clear from the above that the schools and educational institutions you attend have a strong impact on your access and ability to overcome bias and stereotypes and forge a successful career in science.

Meanwhile, opportunities in the workplace are exponentially expanding. By 2030, The World Economic Forum estimate that STEM graduates can expect to leverage their technological skills across 1 billion new tech-focused jobs worldwide. 

I’ve put together a list of the highest-performing UK STEM universities that put women in science at the forefront of what they do. 

The scholarships listed below range from post-graduate and research opportunities, to undergraduate and higher-education access opportunities designed to empower female students.

What are the best scholarships for women in STEM?

Discover what opportunities the UK’s top universities for STEM could offer you in our top 10 list (note these are in no particular order). 
 
1. DeepMind Scholarship with The University of Cambridge

For the third year in a row, DeepMind, an artificial intelligence company is funding a series of scholarships for under-represented graduates at Cambridge. These scholarships are aimed at talented UK and international postgraduates who identify as female, and/or are of black or minority ethnic backgrounds.

2. L’oreal – UNESCO Women in Science Programme with Imperial College London

L’oreal funds five annual awards of £15,000 for post-graduate women in research. This programme has been designed to provide practical support across the research process, and can go towards anything that enables research continuity, from funding equipment, travel and living costs or child care. 

3. British Council Women in STEM Scholarship with The University of Manchester

The British Council are funding a number of universities across the UK with fully funded scholarships for women from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The University of Manchester has a total of 5 fully funded opportunities to offer its student base.

4. Women in Science Scholarship Scheme with Kings College London

Kings College London’s ‘Women in Science’ scholarships are worth £3,000 and provide financial assistance to outstanding students during their undergraduate studies (for up to three years). The scheme has been designed to increase the representation of women in STEM, and will introduce recipients to various initiatives and activities taking place across the university.

5. Women in Engineering Programme with The University of Warwick

The University of Warwick’s ‘Women in Engineering programme is approaching its 7th year running as it continues to fund opportunities for women in STEM. This award has been designed to enable post-graduate research and career development for the most talented female engineering students who have studied at the university.

6. Women in STEM scholarship with The University of Durham

The University of Durham’s ‘Women in STEM’ scholarships have been newly funded by the alumni community. Details of the scholarship amount aren’t publicly available before application, but the scheme has been designed to support and attract more women into scientific disciplines.

7. J.P Morgan’s Winning Women in Technology Scholarship with The University of Bath

The University of Bath has partnered with J.P Morgan to offer 10 undergraduate scholarships to outstanding female applicants. The scholarships not only include £3,000 per year of study, but an additional paid industrial placement in J.P Morgan’s technology department.

8. The Bell Burnell Doctorate Fund with The Institute of Physics

The Bell Burnell Graduate Scholarship enables post-graduate study for full or part-time graduates seeking to pursue a doctorate in physics.
The fund is specifically for women and other minority groups who are currently under-represented across physics.

9. Leaders in Engineering Scholarship with The Royal Academy of Engineering

The Royal Academy of Engineering’s scholarship will include a total grant of £5,000 to be used over 3 years to fund career-related personal development activities. To support recipients, awardees will be allocated a mentor, and invitations to training and networking events that help cultivate the right skills to become engineering leaders in the UK industry. 
The scholarship isn’t specifically for women, but encourages applications from women, as well as black, Asian and other minority ethnic groups.

10.Women in Tech with The University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham’s Coding and Data Analytics scholarship has the largest award amount, funding up to 600 female learners. 
The scholarship includes a £4,000 discount on studies, as well as further mentoring and career support. Awardees will benefit from industry career support, insight and opportunities from a variety of leading tech companies across the UK including Amazon, HSBC, WISE, and PwC.

Want to see where your STEM career could take you?

You can view available roles across STEM here, or to learn more about alternatives to post-graduate study, connect with Philippa on Linkedin. 

 

 
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