Five women from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh are studying fully funded postgraduate degrees at the University of Aberdeen with the aim of gaining the skills necessary to foster a career addressing some of the biggest problems of today in their home countries.
Aberdeen is one of ten UK universities partnering with the British Council to offer scholarships to women from South Asian countries including Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Syed Sophia, Thara Pappan Selvam, Tasnim Fateha, Nimra Ashfaq and Urvashi Prajapati are studying for degrees in Renewable Energy Engineering, Information Technology, Data Science and Geographical Information Systems.
As part of the application process the women were required to demonstrate how they will use the knowledge and skills they gain through their degrees to address challenges such as energy transition, health and education inequalities and climate change.
Some of the issues the women intend to address include deforestation and environmental damage, education for special needs children, preparedness for extreme weather and affordable energy.
Urvashi Prajapati who is studying for a Masters in Renewable Engineering said: “I want to set an example for women that they can strive for whatever goals they want and achieve their dreams. Renewable engineering is a growing sector and the Masters degree is something I can achieve that will benefit my career and home country.”
Nimra Ashfaq, who is studying for a Masters in Geographical Information Systems, said: “I have achieved what many people can only dream of, the opportunity to study in a place I feel safe and secure. Without the scholarship this great opportunity I have been given would not have been possible.”
Professor Adelyn Wilson, Dean for International Stakeholder Engagement, said: “The skills needed to address the biggest challenges of today bridge a range of subjects from engineering to data science and information systems and technology. It is a privilege to be a partner for the British Council Scholarships for Women in STEM for South Asia. We are delighted to welcome our students from this region to our beautiful campus and it is truly inspiring to hear them talk about how they will use the knowledge, skills and ideas they foster here to address the issues facing their local communities as well as the rest of the world.”
The scholarships are available for those studying one of several STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine) Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes - Data Science; Information Technology; Artificial Intelligence; Renewable Energy Engineering; Medical Physics; Medical Imaging; Biomedical Engineering; and Geographical Information Systems.
In addition to the scholarships, stipends for the five students and up to three dependants each is included in the funding.