Royal Academy of Engineering announces first Masters-level motorsport engineering scholarships to help improve diversity in Formula 1

Posted on 17 Oct 2023 by The Manufacturer

The Royal Academy of Engineering, working with Sir Lewis Hamilton’s charitable foundation Mission 44, has announced the first five Black or mixed Black ethnic students to receive scholarships to study for an MSc in motorsport engineering or an associated discipline.

The MSc Motorsport Scholarship Programme was launched in June 2022 with inaugural funding from Sir Lewis Hamilton HonFREng and Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team, now continued through the work of Mission 44. The scholarships provide financial and career support to individuals completing their masters in motorsport or a related degree.

The Scholarship Programme was developed to address a specific recommendation within The Hamilton Commission’s report, Accelerating Change: Improving Representation of Black People in UK Motorsport. Sir Lewis Hamilton HonFREng formed The Hamilton Commission with the support of the Royal Academy of Engineering to address the underrepresentation of Black people in UK motorsport and the STEM sector.

Five individuals have successfully applied for the first round of scholarship funding:

  • Laila Fadli Dokkali from Greenford in West London will study for an MSc in Aerospace Vehicle Design at Cranfield University
  • Nevin Hall from Edinburgh will study for an MSc in Information Systems at Kingston University London.
  • Jonathan Keeya from New Malden in Surrey will study for an MSc in Motorsport Engineering at Oxford Brookes University
  • Amjad Saeed from Hayes in West London will study MSc Motorsport Engineering at Oxford Brookes University
  • Benjamin Theo Woodhouse from Cardiff will study for an MSc in Advanced Mechanical Engineering at Cardiff University

Each student will receive a grant of £25,000 to cover full tuition fees and living costs, along with wraparound support through networking events and motorsport experiences, with the objective that within two years of completing the MSc most, if not all, will be employed in the engineering sector – with the majority in the motorsport sector and Formula 1. All five awardees attended a first networking event at Silverstone Museum on Thursday 12 October 2023. They met with staff from the Academy and Mission 44, had a Q&A session with engineers from the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team, toured the museum and had sessions on the simulator.

Dr Hayaatun Sillem CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Engineering who co-chaired the Hamilton Commission with Sir Lewis, said: “It is imperative that engineers better reflect the diversity of the society they serve and that engineering careers are not only open to all but are seen to be open to all. The recommendations in the Hamilton Commission report were intended to make that a reality for the motorsport sector, which relies so heavily on a technical workforce. I am delighted that we are able to support these five talented engineers in their studies and wish them every success in building exciting and rewarding careers in motorsport.”

Katie Miller, Head of Impact at Mission 44, said: “The first recipients of the MSc Motorsport Scholarship represent an exciting step towards addressing the barriers for Black and mixed Black students and a more diverse motorsport sector. The scholarship aims not only to address financial barriers but provide the wrap around and community support to accelerate their careers. This is just the start of their journeys and we can’t wait to see where the next year takes them.”

The Hamilton Commission identified three strands of action to address the barriers to Black students entering not just the motorsport industry but also the wider engineering profession:

  • Support and empowerment – engendering a sense of agency among young Black people and supporting progression to engineering careers;
  • Accountability and measurement – accountability of those in authority, evidenced through consistent collection and sharing of data;
  • Inspiration and engagement – enabling young Black people to visualise what these careers involve and see themselves in these roles.

The Commission put forward ten recommendations that it believed would have a long-lasting and positive impact on the motorsport industry and encourage more young Black students to pursue subjects which lead to careers in engineering. One of these was the creation of scholarship programmes to enable Black graduates from degrees in engineering and allied subjects to progress into specialist motorsport roles.

The second round of applications for the masters in motorsport scholarship will open today (17 October). Applications can be made via the Academy’s website. Closing date is Friday 8 March 2024 at 4pm.

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