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100 Black Women Professors NOW

100 Black Women Professors NOW

A unique 12-month accelerator and change programme for UK higher education institutions developed and delivered by the Women’s Higher Education Network (WHEN)

Out of more than 22,000 professors at UK universities, only 41 of them are Black women.

The programme aims to propel equity of opportunity for Black women academics, researchers and PhD students and to deliver a step change in progress for the sector by working with individuals throughout the academic pipeline as well as institutions, managers and leaders.

Programme participants will take part in and benefit from mentorship, career coaching, action learning and peer group coaching, networking, master classes, campaign and profile-raising opportunities.

This is not about just 100 Black women professors; it’s about the first 100

Our drive is to promote equity of opportunity within the academic world, and we begin that journey with 100 Black women academics, pioneering the path of change.

Following the hugely successful pilot, WHEN will be expanding phase two of the programme with the aim of retaining and propelling the careers of Black women earlier in the pipeline. Tracks include advanced career academics, early to mid-level career academics and PhD Students.

The programme isn’t only about supporting black academic women to navigate and manage their careers; it’s about challenging institutional assumptions and bias, recognising the need to address fundamental societal inequities, and acting to achieve systemic change for a fairer world.

The programme works with institutions who are committed to change. An institution seeks support from their Vice Chancellor, HR Director and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead, and will likely also gauge support from line managers and Heads of Department. Once ready to start, the institution identifies Black women academics (the academic cohort) with the potential to reach professorship who will be supported through the programme.

WHEN works in partnership with institutions so that stakeholders can draw on learning between the participating institutions and provide the academic cohort with a peer group beyond their own institution. The programme uses core change principles to unblock limiting systems and structures and to support the academic cohort to successfully navigate the pathway to professorship.

Applications are now being accepted for the next programme, which will commence in January 2023.

CompetentMonthDate setLocationParticipant groupFormat
Launch (attendance is optional) Jan

20 January 2023 (10:00 – 16:00)

The Faversham, 1-5 Springfield Mount, Leeds LS2 9NG Academic Cohort An opportunity to meet the previous cohort from phase one and celebrate the programme so far
Personal Insights Jan 

26 January 2023 (09:00 - 12:00) Early-mid Career Stand

27 January 2023 (09:00 - 12:00) PhD Strand

Virtual Session Academic Cohort  90-minute online workshop
Career planning and strategies Mar 02 – 03 March 2023 (11:00 Day 1 - 16:00 Day 2) The Birch, Theobalds Park Lieutenant Ellis Way, Waltham Cross EN7 5HW · Academic Cohort  2 day in-person workshop with career coaches (accommodation included)

To be eligible for this programme, you must be willing to participate fully in all programme activities. In addition, academic cohort members must meet the following criteria:


Track One

Early - Mid level Career Academic (Grade E+)

Track Two

PhD Student

 Must identify as a woman of Black African and/or Black African-Caribbean heritage (including mixed/multiple related Black heritage)  ✅  ✅
 Must be motivated and committed to participating in all aspects of the programme  ✅  ✅
 Must hold no less than an 0.5 FTE contract (fixed term or permanent)  ✅  ✅
 Must be contracted by the university until after December 2023  ✅  
 If on a fixed term contract, must have the potential to achieve a tenured position  ✅  
 Must have the endorsement and support from your line manager or PhD supervisor to participate  ✅  ✅
 Have the potential and desire to achieve academic promotion  ✅  
 Must have the potential and desire to successfully pursue an academic career    ✅
 Must be due to complete PhD after December 2023    ✅

Taking place over the course of twelve months, the programme will be launched in January 2023. It consists of the following elements for the academic cohort: 

Launch event A full day event taking place on 20th January 2023. The launch event gives the incoming cohort the opportunity to meet key stakeholders from the previous programme. Participants can expect to be inspired to achieve change, feel uplifted by what is possible, challenge limitations and aspirations and to feel connected, united and empowered.

Each member of the academic cohort will be sponsored by a member of the VC’s Executive Board. The sponsor will act as a career champion. Firstly, they will listen and seek to develop a new perspective. Secondly, they will look for opportunities for career development and profile raising by promoting the participant and their work to others. 


Each member of the academic cohort will be encouraged to opt-in to be assigned a mentor. Mentors will serve as a guide, talking participants through issues and giving participants confidence in their own abilities. Individuals will be able to specify the kind of mentor they would prefer including by gender, race, role and institution.

Career coaching

Each member of the academic cohort will be allocated a career coach from the programme team. They will receive career coaching sessions in which they will look in detail at the academic promotion criteria of their institution and complete a gap analysis to identify areas for strengthening. The coach will be able to provide support and guidance for development in key areas as well as facilitate a discussion with their head of department / line manager / Principle Researcher 

Getting to know the VC

The academic cohort from each institution will be invited to, together meet with the Vice Chancellor on a few occasions, in order to build relationship and help the Vice Chancellor to learn about lived experiences of Black women academics in their institution. 


Participants will be invited to join networking events together with the sector’s most senior women in order to support them to broaden their relationships, reputation and develop new senior level contacts. 

Master classes

2 x 2 day modules will take place during the programme covering lived experiences, social and political capital, career confidence and other topics evidenced to support career development for Black women. Specialist topics may also be added including: Research funding opportunities; Research funding bid writing; Maximising publication submissions; Negotiation; Media training. 

Campaign and profiles

The cohort participants would be publicly announced and celebrated. Their details would be made available as expert and panel speakers. 

How and When to apply?

Completed applications should be submitted via the online MS Form below by 16:00 on Monday 12 December 2022. Applications via email will not be considered.

Applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application on Friday 16 December 2022.

Please read the full programme and application process before applying. You can access it here: Programme and application process

Be the change, apply now:

More information

If you have any questions about the programme, application or selection process, please email Shraddha Chaudhary, Assistant Director for Culture and Inclusion at