The University of Chester has recently renewed its commitment to supporting scholarships for women studying in challenging research scenarios.
The University and the British Federation of Women Graduates (BFWG), have re-signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two organisations. The document, which was first initiated in 2014, was signed by the outgoing Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tim Wheeler, and Professor Cynthia Burek, Professor of Geoconservation at the University of Chester, and Chair of the Trustees of the British Federation of Women Graduates Scholarship Fund.
Professor Burek said: “I am delighted that we are continuing to work alongside the BFWG in this way. This MoU promotes understanding between two institutions aimed at improving education, especially at the tertiary level. The successes so far have been through exchanging educational courses and training, academic publications and, perhaps the most successful has been sponsoring and supporting an Afghan female PhD student from Kabul. She is now in her last year finishing her research on ‘An autoethnographic study of the obstacles for Afghani women in career advancement – barriers and resilience strategies at the workplace.’ This work has already been presented at the Scottish parliament and at international conferences.
“The University of Chester has also had students who have been the recipient of grants in the past when, for example, Foot and Mouth Disease prevented students from doing fieldwork or when divorce forced a student into financial difficulty. I am proud to say that this MoU was unique when it was first initiated and several other universities have followed the example set. Through cooperation and collaboration, we have achieved success in furthering equality in difficult research situations.”
The British Federation of Women Graduates through its wholly owned charity (Funds for Women Graduates) and its own Scholarship Fund gives away over £250,000 a year, to deserving, final year female PhD students in cases of both academic achievement and hardship, often to those who have an emergency which is through no fault of their own, such as bereavement, termination of funding from their own country or medical problems. This is a hard fought competition with several hundred applications per annum.