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Ribbon HUNDRED 2019
AccessEd exists to increase access to university and higher education for young people from under-served backgrounds globally.


London, UK
AccessEd believes young people deserve to access quality education at the highest level. We help local-global partners incubate, build and scale new university access solutions based on a model from the award-winning UK charity The Brilliant Club. This solution is based on mobilising the passion and expertise of academic PhD students to tutor in schools to support young people to develop the skills to access university and creating rich materials to support programme growth. We currently run programmes in the UK, Botswana, Hong Kong, Ireland, South Africa and Malaysia.

Levelling the Playing Field Globally

“Widening university access, valuing the importance of subject knowledge, and research-based teaching are three areas where teachers with PhDs can have an enormous impact.”

The Right Honourable Nick Gibb, Member of Parliament and Minister of State for School Standards, UK.

Higher education can change what's possible for a young person, driving social and economic growth for a country as well as for that individual. However, we also know that gaining access to higher education especially the elite institutions is heavily connected to socio-economic background, which is why we use our model to create extra enrichment and support for the students who need it the most.   

AccessEd seeks to tackle the problem of unequal access to higher education by supporting local partners to design and pilot new university access programmes. These programmes adapt and implement our approach to building a linking programme for universities, mobilising their research (PhD, post-doctorate) communities to share their academic expertise with schools and build their capacity to keep the solution suited to the needs of young people in their area. Tutors work with small groups of students to support them on their journey to higher education.

PhD researchers are uniquely placed to help young people develop the knowledge, skills and confidence needed to access higher education. This model grew out of the UK education system and started with The Brilliant Club, which places PhD tutors and trained teachers in schools. 

AccessEd exists to unlock the potential of PhD researchers and university expertise across the world to support young people from under-represented backgrounds access university. 

We currently incubate university access programmes in five countries. These local programmes belong to the AccessEd global network which exists to connect university access innovations, share best practice between universities and schools, and advocate for our mission globally.


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Innovation Overview
13 - 18
Age Group
1 470
Tips for implementation
We are looking for new partners and supporters who are aligned with our mission and values; have local knowledge and networks; education expertise; and capacity to commit to developing and leading, or supporting, a new university access programme.
Contact information

See this innovation in action

AccessEd in South Africa
AccessEd in Hong Kong
AccessEd in Ireland
Co-Founder Journey and The Brilliant Club in the UK
Our Global Strategy: Fair University Access for All 2018-2023


Achievements & Awards


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Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

Learn more about university access in your community
We know that unequal access to education leads to wider inequalities, including poverty, lower social mobility and the impoverishment of communities. Is university access fair in your local community? What barriers exist to higher education for young people from under-represented backgrounds?
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Apply to the AccessEd Incubator to start your own programme
AccessEd recruits partners that share our values, and who demonstrate the passion and potential to develop programmes that adapt and implement our blueprint in their local context.
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Connect to the AccessEd Network
The AccessEd network brings together university access programmes to share learning, co-ordinate activity and advocate for our mission.
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Support our work
Our objective is to support the development of partner organisations in up to 10 countries by 2023. This will enable us to reach more than 15,000 young people a year and create a global movement of university access organisations committed to our mission.
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