This new initiative follows the Institute of Continuing Education’s relaunch of its Cambridge Thousand Futures Bursary, which offers a £1,000 bursary to 1,000 students across the countryLouis Ashworth

The University’s Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) announced its Next Generation Bursary last week (03/02), which will offer up to 100 students taking ICE postgraduate courses a maximum of £2,100 towards the costs of their studies for the 2021/22 academic year. 

The bursary, which is designed to offer support to those students who have studied throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, will be made available to any University of Cambridge postgraduate students who either graduated in 2020 or are due to graduate by 1 July 2021, as well to postdoctoral researchers currently employed by the University. 

It will apply to students studying for Postgraduate Certificates in one of Practical Science Communication, Genomic Medicine, Teaching Creative Writing or Philosophy, with the application deadline on 31 May 2021.

ICE, based at Madingley Hall in Cambridge, is a branch of the University of Cambridge which acts as “an accessible gateway” for learners approaching higher education for the first time, career-changers and early- and mid-career professionals in order to provide “opportunities to learn in later life.” It provides over 250 courses per year, ranging from undergraduate and master’s certificates to short online courses and summer programmes, as well as courses on the edX online platform. 

Dr James Gazzard, Director of ICE, told Varsity that the bursary had been in consideration in light of “the impact of COVID-19 on the global economy and particularly on recent graduates and early career professionals.”

A report from the Graduate Union (GU) released last July surveyed 847 postgraduate students on various issues related to communication, productivity and mental health, funding and submission extensions and accommodation. The report found that, when asked to rate the University’s response to their issues, 796 respondents returned a mean satisfaction level of 57.51%.

When asked about plans for potential future bursaries, Gazzard responded that there are not any further plans at present, but that ICE is still offering a 25% fee concession for all of its courses for any alums or current staff members of the University as it does in any non-Covid year, except for Master of Studies (MSt) courses and the International Pre-Master’s Programme.


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Gazzard clarified that the bursary will be awarded to students on a first-come first-served basis provided that they meet the eligibility criteria, and that it will be deducted from the final course payment instalment.

ICE's Next Generation Bursary follows the relaunch of its Cambridge Thousand Futures Bursary in December, which offers 1,000 people across the UK a £1,000 bursary, and provides a subsidy towards the cost of ICE’s part-time undergraduate certificates, diplomas and advanced diplomas. All of these will be delivered online in the 2021/22 academic year.

The Next Generation Bursary also follows an announcement in November by UK Research and Innovation(UKRI), the largest provider of PhD funding in the UK, that students should adjust their research projects in order to complete them within the existing funding period, rather than extending the period in light of the pandemic. This prompted an open letter signed by 1,127 academics (as of 09/02) across the country in support of PhD students, which “urge[d] that UKRI revisit this decision with the view to providing greater support to emerging researchers who have had their research disrupted.”

UKRI has pledged an additional £180m in funding for the 2020/21 and 2021/22 academic years in its COVID-19 Grant Extension Allocation (CoA).