Aston University Expands Scholarships to Boost Diversity in AI Sector


  • Diverse scholarships aim to broaden AI talent pool.
  • Aston University addresses industry gaps with targeted support.
  • Financial aid enables underrepresented graduates to pursue AI.

Aston University has unveiled an initiative aimed at fostering greater diversity within the artificial intelligence (AI) sector. 

This move comes in response to a growing demand for skilled professionals in AI and data science, coupled with a need to address the underrepresentation of certain groups within the industry.

Aston University’s AI  scholarship initiative

In an effort to encourage graduates from underrepresented backgrounds to pursue careers in AI, Aston University has announced the expansion of its scholarship program. These scholarships, made possible by increased funding from the Office for Students (OfS), are specifically targeted at individuals who lack a traditional science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) background.

Valued at £10,000 each, these scholarships will provide financial assistance to students enrolling in the MSc Applied AI course starting in September. The objective of this government-backed scheme is to mitigate the shortage of AI and data specialists in the UK while simultaneously promoting diversity within the sector.

Increasing representation

Groups such as women, black students, individuals with disabilities, and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are currently underrepresented in AI and data science professions. Recognizing this disparity, Aston University is taking proactive steps to address the issue by offering targeted support to students who may not have traditional qualifications in STEM fields but are interested in pursuing careers in AI.

Last year, Aston University awarded nine scholarships to graduates seeking to enter the expanding AI sector without relevant qualifications. Building on this momentum, the university is now offering 11 scholarships for the MSc Applied AI program for the September 2024 intake, reflecting its commitment to broadening access to AI education and careers.

Accessible education

The MSc Applied AI course is specially designed to provide students with specialist knowledge in AI without the prerequisite of a computer science background. This inclusive approach aims to attract individuals from diverse academic and professional backgrounds, ensuring a varied pool of talent enters the AI workforce.

Professor Damien Foster, head of the School of Computer Science and Digital Technologies at Aston University, expressed enthusiasm for the expanded scholarship program. He highlighted the importance of nurturing a diverse range of skills and experiences within the AI sector to drive innovation and meet the evolving needs of society.

Addressing industry challenges

A recent study revealed that only one in 10 UK workers possess digital skills, indicating a significant gap in the labor market. With 72% of businesses reporting vacancies for workers with digital skills and over two-thirds struggling to find qualified applicants, there is a pressing need to equip individuals with the necessary expertise to meet industry demands.

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Emman Omwanda

Emmanuel Omwanda is a blockchain reporter who dives deep into industry news, on-chain analysis, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and more. His expertise lies in cryptocurrency markets, spanning both fundamental and technical analysis.

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