Training the next generation of Black health data scientists

The University of Leicester has partnered with Health Data Research UK and BREATHE – The Health Data Research Hub for Respiratory Health to offer an internship programme providing paid work experience to future Black data scientists; a group currently under-represented within the health data research community.

Commencing in summer 2021, the six-week programme will run from 28 June – 6 August 2021. It is aimed at Black students that are currently studying at a university in the UK, on a gap year or have recently graduated from a UK university

Students will have paid experience of working within data science whilst also bringing new perspectives to the work already being undertaken by the University. The University of Leicester has been at the forefront of pioneering research during the COVID-19 pandemic, and has been awarded more than £10m of UKRI funding for its studies into post COVID hospitalisation and the effect of the virus on ethnic minority healthcare workers.

Professor Martin Tobin Professor of Genetic Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Leicester, Chair of the Leicester Precision Medicine Institute and Honorary Consultant in Public Health, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and Public Health England said:

“The University of Leicester is proud to support this important initiative. We are delighted to be partnering with Health Data Research UK to build the next generation of health data scientists; with this programme we will be helping to ensure that health data science becomes a more inclusive career prospect.

“COVID-19 has highlighted the disparity of COVID-19 infections and its effects on different ethnic groups. In order to address discrepancies in representation in health data cohorts, we must ensure that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities are included in in the communities conducting research.

“This initiative will help to create better representation within the health data science communities by creating more opportunities for those groups to be involved in this vital work.”

The University of Leicester is proud to be one of the most diverse universities in the UK, with 56.3% of its students coming from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background.

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Leicester has called for the University to set the standard for inclusion in higher education. Upon joining the University in November 2019, he pledged to eliminate the ‘awarding gap’, which is the difference between the number of white UK students awarded first-class or 2:1 degrees compared to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic UK students. The University currently has an awarding gap of 7.59% compared with the national 13%.

Earlier this year, Professor Canagarajah launched a £1.5m studentships programme to encourage the next generation of academics to realise their ambition and help to inspire the students of the future.

Applications for the Health Data Research UK internship programme are currently open and students can apply until 17:00 on 11th January 2021. Please visit the Health Data Research UK website to apply.