A London university is to launch the first esports scholarship in Europe for women.
From September, the University of Roehampton will offer up to four scholarships to first-year students worth up to £1,500 a year.
The university said it hopes the scheme will improve diversity and inclusivity in the competitive gaming industry and help find a new generation of female esports professionals.
It is the second programme of its type at Roehampton – in 2018 the university became the first in the UK to offer esports scholarships.
The university already has a dedicated esports arena space which houses top-tier gaming PCs and other equipment for students.
Esports has grown exponentially in popularity in recent years, with well-known games such as Fortnite and Call of Duty now hosting live competitions in sold-out arenas for multi-million-pound prizes.
Professor Anna Gough-Yates, provost at the University of Roehampton, said: “We are proud to be engaged and at the forefront of developing talent for an exciting and emerging industry like esports.
“Diversity and inclusion are values held to the highest regard at the University of Roehampton and the scholarship is another example of how we implement this into the experience of students and the extra-curricular activities available to them.”
As part of the new scholarships, the university said it had partnered with a number of organisations, including Women in Games, the National University Esports League (NUEL), Cat Collective, Special Effect and London Esports, to provide placement and training opportunities for scholarship recipients.
Marie-Claire Isaaman, chief executive of Women in Games, said: “Women in Games welcomes the Women in Esports scholarships as a very positive move to encourage further diversity and inclusion in esports.
“We also welcome the University of Roehampton as one of our first educational ambassadors.”
The university confirmed that more details about applying for the scheme can be found on its website and the deadline for the first round of applications is September 1.