The Faculty of Engineering at McMaster University has partnered with five other Ontario universities to release new fellowships to expand the pathways for Indigenous and Black students pursuing doctoral degrees in engineering.
Nationwide, Indigenous and Black Engineering faculty members are poorly represented. The Indigenous and Black Engineering and Technology (IBET) Momentum Fellowships aim to address this inequity and the urgent need to encourage and support the pursuit of graduate studies by underrepresented groups.
“The Fellowships will help McMaster and other Ontario universities work towards greater diversity in engineering and technology programs at McMaster,” says Ishwar K. Puri, Dean of Engineering. “A more inclusive environment leads to better perspectives, innovation and problem-solving approaches.”
The partnership includes the engineering and math Faculties at the University of Waterloo, and the engineering Faculties at McMaster University, the University of Ottawa, the University of Toronto, Queen’s University and Western University.
Recipients of the IBET Momentum Fellowship will receive $25,000 a year for four years as they pursue doctorate degrees and specialized engineering research. It will also help to prepare students for academic careers as professors and industry researchers.
“We hope to see graduate enrolment increase among Black and Indigenous scholars at Ontario universities with the release of the Fellowships in the years to come,” says Michael Thompson, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Engineering. “The initiative represents a big step towards enriching the academic landscape.”
The launch of the IBET Momentum Fellowship coincides with McMaster University’s new approach to support inclusive excellence. As part of the Strategic Equity and Excellence Recruitment and Retention program within McMaster’s EDI Strategy and Action Plan, McMaster released a cohort hiring initiative this past November that will see up to 12 Black faculty members join across all six Faculties.
At the end of December, the Faculty of Engineering also supported The National Society of Black Engineers McMaster Chapter in rolling out the NSBE McMaster Chapter Entrance Award.
The Momentum Fellowships are a central pillar of the new IBET PhD Project which aims to change the academic landscape within the next five to 10 years by increasing the number of Indigenous and Black engineering professors teaching and researching in universities across Ontario.
The project will also create a pipeline of students who will increase diversity in Canadian technology industries as they enter the workforce with graduate degrees from STEM programs.
Interested Canadian students can apply for the IBET Momentum Fellowships directly with each university as part of their application process.