Expert panel and steering group

Research England and the Office for Students launched an £8 million funding competition to improve access and participation for Black, Asian and minority ethnic students in postgraduate research study.

An expert panel and steering group were appointed via competitive process to help the programme to achieve its aims.

The expert panel were appointed to support final funding decisions and the steering group will guide and support the programme over the long term.

Panel and steering group membership

Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon: Panel and steering group co-chair

Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE is CEO and Creator of non-profit Stemettes, a trustee at the Institute for the Future of Work and host of the hugely popular Evening Standard’s Women Tech Charge podcast.

A former child prodigy who passed two GCSEs in primary school and an A-level in Computing aged 11, she was just 20 years old when she received her Master’s Degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Oxford.

Her work at Stemettes spans almost a decade of frontline work to inspire and support young women and young nonbinary people into the STEM fields, reaching almost 50,000.

In 2017, she was awarded an MBE for her work as a renowned champion and inspiration for women looking to find a role in the world of STEM.

Maisha Islam: Student panel and steering group co-chair

Maisha Islam is the Student Engagement Research and Projects Coordinator at the University of Winchester, whilst also studying for a professional doctorate in Education.

Maisha’s main research interests lie in the area of Black, Asian and minority ethnic student experience, and Muslim student sense of belonging/student voice in higher education, where she presents, writes and has published on these topics.

Maisha is heavily invested in the area of race equality in higher education. For example, Maisha has investigated ‘Asian’ student experience in relation to degree-awarding gaps and has sat on a Universities UK staff panel which developed guidance for universities tackling racial harassment.

Additionally, Maisha sits on the Office for Students’ Student Panel and is the co-Chair of the Research England/Office for Students BAME PGR funding panel.

Dr Arun Verma: Panel and steering group member

Dr Arun Verma is a leader in integrating intersectionality in design, development and action throughout the higher education, third and public sectors.

He is the Head of the Race Equality Charter (Advance HE), Academic Tutor (University of Dundee) and Fellow of the RSA.

He completed his doctorate exploring intersectionality in student learning, retention and success.

He has led the integration and embedding of intersectionality and anti-racist practice, in government commissioning, the global development programmes and academia and policy intervention.

He is a Trustee for Getting on Board, and is editing the ‘Anti-racism in higher education: An action guide for change’

Daniel Akinbosede: Panel and steering group member

Daniel Akinbosede is a PhD researcher at the University of Sussex.

His research focuses on proteins that allow Neisseria bacteria to highjack iron from human blood as a nutrient source.

He is passionate about embedding inclusive and anti-racist pedagogy in STEM teaching and research, as well as throughout the higher education sector.

Dr Kamna Patel: Panel and steering group member

Dr Kamna Patel is an Associate Professor of development studies at University College London and the former Vice Dean of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment.

She has driven innovative approaches to racial equity in higher education including 100% equity-based scholarships for underrepresented groups at undergraduate, post-graduate and doctoral level, applied positive action and guaranteed interviews in academic recruitment, and co-curated a ‘Race and Space’ curriculum for all students and staff to grow subject knowledge.

Kamna is currently seconded to the INGO Christian Aid where she is leading their agenda on racial equity and diversity.

Dr Louise Banahene MBE: Panel and steering group member

Louise Banahene is Director of Educational Engagement at the University of Leeds.

She provides leadership on the University’s access and student success strategy to ensure equality of outcomes in access, non-continuation and degree awards across all levels of study.

She has worked extensively on widening access to, and success, in postgraduate study for under-represented groups.

Her involvement in sector collaborations includes her role as co-chair of the NEON Postgraduate Diversity working group.

In 2017 she was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to higher education

Professor Nicola Rollock: Steering group member

Nicola Rollock is Professor of Social Policy and Race at King’s College London, Distinguished Fellow of the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge and Senior Advisor (Race and Higher Education) to the VC at the University of Cambridge.

Professor Rollock holds a number of advisory roles including as Specialist Advisor to the Home Affairs’ Select Committee’s Macpherson: 22 Years On Inquiry which published its findings in July 2021.

She is also a member of the Wellcome Trust’s Anti-racism Expert Group and the British Science Association’s Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Group.

Her first sole-authored book The Racial Code will be published by Penguin Press in 2022.

Last updated: 17 February 2022

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