Esri UK launches new geospatial student scholarships to help diversify the industry

Micro-scholarships aim to help larger number of Black and mixed Black heritage students

Esri UK today announced it has partnered with Akama Fund, a charity dedicated to supporting students and facilitating accessible scholarships, to create a new scholarship programme for Black and mixed Black heritage students. Designed to support 60 higher education students, in disciplines related to the geospatial industry, the Geospatial Student Accelerator scheme will make awards totaling £30,000 in the first year.

Ten students will be awarded up to £2,500 each while an additional 50 will receive funds of £300 to buy items and clothing needed for fieldwork. All applicants will gain access to Esri UK’s mentorship network, personal development workshops and other careers resources provided by Akama Fund, aimed at enhancing their professional development. One student can also win a trip to Esri’s global user conference in California, one of the largest geospatial events in the world with over 20,000 attendees.

“The Geospatial Student Accelerator scheme has been designed to widen the scope of support for students from Black and mixed Black backgrounds, in line with Esri UK’s dedication to cultivating a more inclusive and diverse geospatial community,” explained Pete Wilkinson, Managing Director of Esri UK. “By increasing the number of financial awards and easing the burden of applying, working with Akama we want to identify and nurture a higher number of talented individuals and accelerate their journey towards a geospatial career.”

Akama Fund is providing its scholarship application platform and student outreach, while Esri UK is funding the programme. The new scheme removes some of the stress and burden of applying for scholarships due to Akama’s proven two-stage process and its staff who support and encourage students throughout the procedure. Applications are welcome between 4-31 March 2024 from higher education students, enrolled at UK universities in relevant fields, including Geography, Earth and Environmental Studies, Landscape Architecture, Biology and Archaeology.

Thelma Onyeka, Founder and Chair of Akama Fund, commented: “Each scholarship symbolizes the start of a journey, a journey of a student who can continue their study in the field of their choice, on the road to meeting their unlocked potential. This is particularly significant during the cost-of-living crisis, which is affecting students disproportionately with 41 per cent of students contemplating dropout. We’re proud to launch this Geospatial Student Accelerator in partnership with Esri UK.

“At Akama Fund, our vision is a world where every student can pursue a fulfilling career, and in turn, help the generations after them to achieve the same. This is personal to me: my father was orphaned before his first birthday and was raised by a small village in Nigeria. Thanks to his hard work, he managed to get a scholarship which changed the course of his life – and that of me and my family.”

More information about the scheme’s criteria and application process can be found on Akama’s website:


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