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Breaking down barriers and levelling up in higher education : Good practice in supporting Gypsy, Traveller, Roma, Showmen and Boater (GTRSB) learners to access, achieve and thrive in the academy

   Vice Chancellor's PhD Studentships

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  Prof Margaret Greenfields, Dr David Smith  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

About the Project:

This is a fully-funded PhD studentship for 3 years (full-time) based at Anglia Ruskin University focused on social inclusion and levelling up of educational opportunities for members of Gypsy, Traveller, Roma, Showmen and Boater communities.

Background to the Project:

 There are very few Gypsy, Traveller, Roma, Showmen and Boater (GTRSB) university students and graduates in the UK, with an estimated average of 200 members of the communities in higher education at any one time.

 Although the Good Practice Pledge ( to support students from GTRSB communities has been implemented to improve academic attainment and retention in higher education, it is essential to enhance understanding of the barriers and enablers to education for members of GTRSB communities.

 This project will therefore aim to identify best practice supporting GTRSB communities, to map the development and impact of initiative such as the Pledge and individual university programmes and activities aimed at these communities; to analyse the impact of policy directives, and to explore how initiatives aimed at increasing visibility and recognition of GTRSB communities increase confidence amongst potential students and their families.

 Supervisory Team:

The student will be supervised by Professor Margaret Greenfields and Dr. David Smith at Anglia Ruskin University with additional specialist support provided by Dr Carol Rogers of Buckinghamshire New University. The project will further be supported by an extensive network of GTRSB community members with experience of higher education and will provide access to specialist NGOs and education policy professionals.

If you would like to discuss this research project prior to application please contact Principal Supervisor Professor Margaret Greenfields ([Email Address Removed]) stating VC Scholarship in the subject line of your message.

Candidate requirements

Applicants should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum upper second-class undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a cognate discipline, and a passion for research into, social inclusion, social policy and widening participation in education. A Masters’ degree in a relevant subject is desirable.

Applicants must be prepared to study on a full-time basis, attending at our Cambridge campus. The Vice Chancellor’s PhD scholarship awards are open to Home fee status applicants only.

Application Procedures

Applications for a Vice Chancellor’s PhD Scholarship are made through the application portal on our website:

We will review all applications after the submission deadline of 6th June. We will contact shortlisted applicants in the week commencing 20th June. Interviews will be held between 27th June - 8th July.

If you have any queries relating to the application process or the terms and conditions of the scholarships, please email [Email Address Removed]

Documentation required

You will need the following documents available electronically to upload them to the application portal (we can accept files in pdf, jpeg or Word format):

  1. Certificates and transcripts from your Bachelor and Masters degrees, (if applicable)
  2. Your personal statement explaining your suitability for the project (please upload this in the "research outline" section of the application form).
  3. Passport and visa (if applicable)
  4. Curriculum Vitae

Funding Notes

This successful applicant for this project will receive a Vice Chancellor’s scholarship award which covers Home tuition fees and provides a UKRI equivalent minimum annual stipend for three years. The award is subject to the successful candidate meeting the scholarship Terms and conditions which can be found on our website:


Greenfields, M. (2019) Report of a Roundtable Meeting on Access to Higher Education for members of Gypsy, Traveller and Roma (GTR) communities. High Wycombe: Buckinghamshire New University Available at:
Greenfields, M., Smith, S. (2020) GTR into HE Development Report, High Wycombe: Buckinghamshire New University. Available at:
Smith, S., Greenfields, M. and Rochon, R. (2021) Gypsies, Travellers, and Roma in UK Higher Education: A View from Inside the Academy. In: Adults in the Academy: Voices of Lifelong Learners. Critical Issues in the Future of Learning and Teaching (20). Brill, pp. 101-109. ISBN 978-90-04-50640-4
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