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Bell Burnell Graduate Scholarship Fund: 2024 awardees announced

19 June 2024

Fund has now given out more than £1m over the last five years to physics PhD students as eight new scholars are revealed. 

Eight physics PhD students from across the UK have today been unveiled as the awardees of this year’s Bell Burnell Graduate Scholarship Fund.

The fund was set up by leading physicist Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell and the Institute of Physics (IOP) in 2019 after Dame Jocelyn was awarded the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for her role in the discovery of pulsars.

Dame Jocelyn immediately donated her entire £2.3m prize award to the IOP. Her aim was to help counter what she described as “the unconscious bias that still exists in physics research”, adding: “I don’t need the money myself, and it seemed to me that this was perhaps the best use I could put it to.”

The fund is now in its fifth year and to date has given out more than £1m to support 37 physics PhD students. Its aim is to improve diversity in physics by offering doctoral scholarships to students from groups currently underrepresented in the physics research community.

Those eligible include women, people with refugee status, ethnic minorities, disabled or financially disadvantaged students – and others who would otherwise struggle to complete a course of postgraduate study due to their circumstances.

This year, for the first time, all awardees will be given free IOP membership for the duration of their PhD and the following year as alumni to the fund.

Read more about this year’s awardees and their research.