Much has been written, over the last twenty years, about the difficulties that young people of Black heritage face in STEM. Yet, despite this awareness, there has been very little progress. Last year, the Royal Society issued a call to action, saying the "STEM sector must step up and end unacceptable disparities in Black staff and students’ academic progression and success".
Given the central role of mathematics in STEM, the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) and the London Mathematical Society (LMS) have joined forces and will be offering a new university access programme called Levelling Up: Maths for Black heritage students, with support from a broad STEM coalition.
It is envisaged that the first cohort of A level students will apply to join the programme in January 2023 with a programme start in April 2023. The students will be assigned to small virtual tutorial groups and taught and mentored, wherever possible, by Black heritage undergraduates at the participating universities. There are plans to include a variety of influential Black guest speakers including the programme leader, Prof. Nira Chamberlain, who commented:
"This is a ground-breaking initiative which builds on the success of Levelling Up: Maths. I would like to thank members of the STEM coalition for their valued support."
This new programme is an unparalleled collaboration between learned societies, educational charities (and non-profits) across STEM and the Black community. In addition to the IMA & LMS, the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), the Chartered Institute for IT (BCS), the Institute of Physics (IOP), the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), Mathematics in Education & Industry (MEI) and STEM Learning will promote the programme. Black community support will be provided by the Association for Black & Minority Ethnic Engineers (AFBE-UK) and Black British Professionals in STEM (BBSTEM).
Ulrike Tillmann, LMS President said:
"The LMS is excited about this new development to the very successful Levelling Up: Maths scheme. We know that there is massive untapped mathematical talent among students of Black heritage and are delighted to be able to work with such a strong coalition of partners to bring about change which is so overdue."
Paul Glendinning, IMA President noted:
"The IMA is delighted to be part of the STEM coalition supporting this new initiative. We look forward to seeing it make a positive difference to the futures of all those involved."
The IMA and LMS would like to hear from university Maths departments interested in joining this programme. They should contact either Erica Tyson (Erica.Tyson@ima.org.uk) or Lindsay Walsh (email@example.com) for more information.
Last updated: 4/10/2022