De Montfort University PhD student beats hundreds of candidates to win an award to help him investigate the experiences of people who do not identify within the gender binary – neither male nor female.
SEBASTIAN Cordoba received an award of £440 from Gradconsult, which will help study the experiences of people who identify as non-binary in the UK.
Sebastian, 28 currently a PhD candidate in psychology, originates from Colombia, and is celebrating after becoming one of the six winners of a grant from Gradconsult, a Sheffield-based specialist in graduate recruitment, learning and development.
The grants, chosen from over 300 entries, are to help new researchers and early career academics get a ‘head start’ with funding bids, thereby giving them a track record to go on and secure larger funding bids to conduct research in their chosen field.
Sebastian had studied in the United States for many years, but with his PhD, wanted to focus on the linguistic and social experiences of non-binary people. It is something he could empathise with, being a gay person himself, although he is aware of the additional challenges trans and non-binary people face due to the lack of awareness regarding gender diversity in society.
He said: “I am interested in understanding the relationship between language usage and identity development among non-binary people, and the difficulties they face due to their identity,” adding. “Some of my early findings indicate that non-binary people face a great deal of discrimination and mis-gendering, which in fact affects their access to health care, employment opportunities, education and overall well-being.”
Rebecca Fielding, Managing Director of Gradconsult said of Sebastian’s achievement: “It is a worthy project, which gives great help to people who have great difficulties due to a lack of understanding of their lives.”
Adding that the grants were much-needed for some of the UK’s best young brains. “We see in great detail the value of research in higher education, and know how hard it can be as a new researcher or early career academic to get projects funded when you don’t necessarily have a track record.”
“We invited those individuals who have the drive to make a difference, to tell us how they can boost lives positively and were overwhelmed with an avalanche of responses, which showed drive and ingenuity.”
The applications were open to PhD students, post-doctoral researchers with less than three years’ experience, as well as academic/lecturers with less than three years’ experience. It was also open to work in any field.
Sebastian and the other applicants met each other when they visited Sheffield, the headquarters of the Gradconsult team during May to receive their grants.
Rebecca added: “It’s been an honour to meet these individuals and we hope that the Gradconsult Microgrant programme will be the launch pad for life-changing projects for generations to come.”