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Are you passionate about Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I)?

Are you a DPhil student in the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences (MPLS) Division interested in enterprise and innovation?

Do you want to explore how to combine enterprise and innovation and ED&I within your subject area?

During Trinity Term 2022, we have an exciting opportunity for three DPhil students within MPLS to take a break from your studies, or work part-time, and spend up to three months working on ED&I challenges relevant to or within your disciplines, in the enterprise and innovation space. This secondment will allow you to help embed ED&I within research, industry or your department (or all of them!) – depending on the project you choose and any partners you wish to engage with. This is an innovative project, working closely with the MPLS ED&I team, with potential for real impact in the University and beyond.

One of the projects would look specifically at applying machine learning algorithm (GPz; working with Dr. Peter Hatfield, Dr. Amy Hinks and Prof. Matt Jarvis) to ED&I data to both accelerate our understanding of the statistics and gain insights into what data is critical for our decision making processes across ED&I.

The other two will be agreed with you during the application process.


EPSRC’s Impact Acceleration Accounts (IAA) are strategic awards provided to institutions to support knowledge exchange (KE) and impact from their EPSRC funded research. IAAs allow Research Organisations to respond to opportunities in flexible, responsive and creative ways, aligned to their institutional strategies and opportunities. More information about the funding.

EXAMPLE PROJECTS and more information

Our ED&I team will work with you to develop a feasible and impactful project that you will lead on, which can be achieved within the secondment. This will be done in collaboration with you, aligning with our divisional work and priorities, as well as your interests and other time-commitments. Other than the machine learning algorithm project, you don’t need a defined plan in order to apply, but any initial ideas, interests, or thoughts you have would be great to include in your expression of interest. Here are some potential broad topics that you could address during your secondment:

  • Artificial Intelligence and racism – understanding leading research and connecting with researchers studying the impact of AI on racial and ethnic communities;
  • Disabilities and assistive technologies – researching cutting-edge technologies available and being developed to support disabled people;
  • Neurodiversity and assistive technologies – researching cutting-edge technologies available and being developed to support neurodiverse people;
  • Mental health related strategies employed by industry and academia, reviewing evidence of impact;
  • Incorporating inclusive design practices to inform our research approaches across the division or in subject specific areas;
  • Removing or mitigating the impact of implicit bias in specified subject areas – for example, through recruitment, promotions, work assignment/distribution processes.

Exploring these topics can involve conducting research, connecting and collaborating with others in academia or industry, organising talks and events, and more. The scope and project plans will be discussed and agreed with the ED&I team.

We anticipate the secondment will last up to three months, but will work with you to agree an approach that best suits your studies and other time-commitments. This includes whether you would plan to work full-time, and therefore suspend your studies, or part-time, and perhaps extend your completion date. We are keen for this secondment to be as flexible as possible, and will do what we can to ensure the right approach that suits each applicant is taken. This opportunity will be majority home-based/working remotely, but with opportunities to meet and work with the ED&I team and other collaborators in person, if desired.


  • An existing University of Oxford DPhil student within one of the MPLS departments.
  • Have demonstrated interest in equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • Have demonstrated interest in enterprise activities and innovation; previous experience working with industry partners is desirable but not necessary.
  • Have the ability to clearly communicate (in writing and verbally) complex scientific concepts to a non-academic audience.
  • Have the ability to set and work towards agreed deadlines, collaborating with ED&I supervisors.
  • Be able to consider suspending your studies or work with your supervisor and funder to agree an extension or workaround. 


  • A paid secondment opportunity consistent with Oxford pay spine 6.1.
  • Experience of independent research and leading a project.
  • Increased knowledge of ED&I related research, practices, and principles within your subject area and across the MPLS Division.
  • Opportunities to connect and work with colleagues in academia and industry (depending on the scope of your project).


Please provide your CV and (up to one page) statement explaining why you are interested in this secondment, what relevant experience you have, and a description of the project you have in mind or areas that you would like to focus on during this secondment. If you are interested in the machine learning algorithm project, please specify that in your application. Please also specify whether you intend to work full-time or part-time.

Please send your documents as PDFs, and label them with your name and specified contents (e.g. NAME – CV; NAME – Statement) by email to The deadline is 5pm GMT on Friday 18 March 2022.

If you need further information, reasonable adjustments, or want to discuss this project and how it will work prior to applying, please get in touch via


How do I take a secondment from my DPhil studies?

If you intend to take a full break from your studies to focus on this secondment, you will need to apply for a suspension of status. This halts your academic work for an agreed period of time. A GSO.17 form will need to be submitted. More information about taking a secondment. Remember to check what impact a suspension might have on your visa.

How do I get a secondment approved by the University so I can extend my DPhil completion date?

If you are taking a full break from your studies, you should simply need to notify the relevant department contact (e.g., graduate administrator), once your suspension of status has been approved. If you are funded through an external body, you will need to check the process with them directly.

How do I get a secondment approved by my research council/funding source so I can extend my DPhil completion date?

You will need to contact them directly to understand their process.

How will this affect my research funding? How do I arrange a pause in my funding?

If you take a full break, your research funding will simply be put on hold while you are doing the secondment. Alerting your funder in advance will help.

What if my visa is associated with my research funding and continued enrolment for studies?

Make sure you check the terms of your visa before suspending your status – some visas will not allow a suspension.

What do I need to do if I intend to do this secondment part-time, alongside my studies?

Depending on the hours you work and the impact this will have on your studies, you will need to check the terms of your funding agreement. If you intend to formally reduce the hours that you work on your studies, you will need to agree this with you funder (if this then means you extend your completion date, please let the relevant department contact know). If you intend to do this secondment on top of your studies, this will need to be agreed with your supervisor.

Will I remain an enrolled student during the secondment?

If you do not pause your studies and do this work part-time, alongside your studies, then you will remain an enrolled student. If you suspend your studies to focus on this full-time, then you will be a suspended enrolled student during this period, which means you will not have access to formal teaching.

Upcoming events

The Michael Dillon LGBT+ Lecture: Lord Browne of Madingley

Friday, 17 June 2022, 5pm to 6.30pm

St Anne's College, the University of Oxford and GiveOut are delighted to announce that the second Michael Dillon LGBT+ Lecture will be given by Lord Browne of Madingley, the most senior British businessperson to have come out as LGBT+. This is an in person event in the Mary Ogilvie Lecture Theatre in St Anne's College. Registration is encouraged but not required for attendance.