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The UNIQ+ pilot programme is a six-week summer school for individuals who would find it challenging to progress to postgraduate study for financial or socio-economic reasons. To find out a bit more about the programme, we spoke to Dr James Edwards and Professor Robert Gilbert, who are helping to coordinate the programme within the Medical Sciences Division.

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Please could you tell us a bit about UNIQ+ and who it is for?

The UNIQ+ graduate summer school is a really exciting opportunity for individuals considering post graduate research from low socioeconomic backgrounds, and who may not believe that studying at Oxford would ever be a possibility for them. We know that financial and other life circumstances can make it difficult for some to continue studying beyond an undergraduate degree and hope that the scheme will give candidates the chance to experience what postgraduate study is like at the University of Oxford.

We would welcome applications from those who are finishing or recently completed an undergraduate degree, and who might be interested in the research of the Medical Sciences Division.

What happens during UNIQ+

UNIQ+ will run from 1 July to 9 August 2019 and during these six weeks UNIQ+ students will receive a generous stipend, live in an Oxford College, carry out a research project at the University of Oxford under the guidance and mentorship of Oxford academics and receive guidance on how to apply for graduate courses and scholarship funding, how to improve their CV and career prospects.

What can university departments do to support UNIQ+?

We are very grateful that this pilot scheme has been supported by the generous contributions of most departments within the Medical Sciences Division. This includes a student stipend and defined research project, as well as the support of a mentor and supervisor during this time.

We are also looking for volunteer ‘buddys’ who may be DPhil students or Postdocs (possibly from similar backgrounds) who would be willing to speak with the students, give advice or meet up with them during the scheme, and to join in with some of the planned events and dinners.  

This is a pilot programme, what future plans do you have for UNIQ+?

This year, the UNIQ+ funding strategy has allowed us to accept approx. 35 candidates across the whole UNIQ programme (including MPLS). In future years it is anticipated that the UNIQ+ programme will expand the intake and opportunities offered and we would welcome further commitments or direction to funding opportunities to enable this, and input on what form UNIQ+ 2020 might take.

If you or anyone you know is interested in this opportunity, visit www.ox.ac.uk/uniqplus.