Forty females studying IT are to be offered bursaries of £1,250 a month to complete their master's degree at London's Brunel University.
The university will choose forty female "IT rising stars" to offer the bursaries to in a bid to boost the number of women students in advanced computing education.
Project leader at Brunel, lecturer Petra Gratton, said nationally only around a quarter of students on computing master's courses are women.
She said: "Bluntly speaking that has to change if the UK is going to continue to compete as successfully as it currently does. Encouraging more women into the profession is vital to the country's economic future.
"Also this Women in Engineering Programme will allow us to deeply study what is still holding back female computer engineers from realising their full career potential and the insights we gain will be shared throughout higher education and the professional bodies."
Announced by Universities Minister David Willetts the funding will cover courses in computer communication networks, distributed computing systems and embedded systems.
"While some may see this as positive discrimination the stark reality is that UK plc can no longer afford not to exploit fully this enormous potential talent pool. Every British IT company will tell you they face crippling skills shortages and without radical action that can only get worse," added Gratton.