Attaining Comprehensive Equality in Postgraduate Research Initiative

ACE PGR Initiative

LSE is an international community of talented individuals with impactful ideas. As we look to increase the diversity of our student body and faculties, we are taking concrete steps to fulfil the diversification and inclusion goals of the LSE 2030 Strategy by launching a pilot scheme, Attaining Comprehensive Equality in Postgraduate Research Initiative (ACE PGR Initiative).  

ACE PGR Initiative builds on the work undertaken at undergraduate level by the Widening Participation team. The scheme emulates the principles of LSE’s existing Access and Participation Plan - which focuses on reducing barriers to accessing higher education at undergraduate level. The scheme provides tangible support to UK postgraduate research (PGR) candidates from minority ethnic backgrounds who are underrepresented at PGR level in several UK universities, including LSE. 

We remain dedicated to improving the admission and student experiences of all candidates interested in developing their academic career at LSE (See, for example, Our Graduate Admissions Policy and Guidance for refugees, forced migrants and displaced students). However, research by organisations such as Leading Routes has underlined the importance of strengthening the academic pipeline for UK BAME students, especially Black candidates who are among the most underrepresented in academic and research posts across the UK.  

ACE PGR Initiative has been designed to improve the educational experiences and student outcomes of BAME candidates at PGR level.  With a focus on enhancing long-term academic success for PGR students, the ACE PGR Initiative will provide support to BAME candidates at three key stages of the PGR lifecycle: (1) Access, (2) Student Success, and (3) Career Progression. 


The main objectives of the ACE PGR Initiative include: 

  • Expanding existing contextualised admissions practices to PGR level 

  • Increasing funding opportunities for BAME PGR candidates 

  • Creating a support network for current and prospective BAME PGR students 

  • Organising focus groups involving BAME PGR students to listen to their experiences and inform best practices for improving access and participation  

In the initial phase, the pilot scheme will concentrate primarily on increasing access to PGR study.  The application fee will be waived for all self-identifying BAME applicants of UK nationality who apply to MRes/PhD and MPhil/PhD programmes at LSE.  All self-identifying BAME applicants will be automatically included in the scheme unless they use the opt-out option * on the online application. This means that, in addition to the waiver of the application fee, opt-in BAME applicants will benefit from:  

*Please note that in the first two pilot years, departmental participation in the ACE PGR scheme is voluntary for departments.  LSE’s Department of Finance does not currently participate in the scheme. For more information on the MRes/PhD Finance application process, please click here.