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The MPLS Division values the diversity of all of its staff and students. We strive to create an inclusive culture where different perspectives and experiences are encouraged, and each person is respected and treated fairly, so that individuals of all backgrounds can fully contribute their talents to our scientific community. The MPLS Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Fund has been established to support departments (and staff and students in those departments) and enable local activity that aims to advance equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I). Applications are now open for the March/April 2022 deadline.

Over the 2021-2022 academic year, £8,000 will be dispersed to departments in MPLS for ED&I activities that:

  • Create new projects and initiatives;
  • Enhance and support existing activity that has evidenced impact;
  • Foster creative ideas to address existing disparities/inequalities pertaining to protected characteristics as described in the Equality Act 2010; or
  • Pilot activity in a department for possible extension across the Division.

There will be two calls for applications in November 2021 and March 2022, and we anticipate funding about 3-5 projects. All staff (academics, researchers and professional services staff) and students within MPLS are eligible to apply, and all applications require approval by the Department Administrator and Head of Department.

The selection panel of divisional officers chaired by the MPLS Associate Head for People, will consider the following criteria:

  • The activity will benefit one or more MPLS departments [or individuals within the department(s)]. Proposals involving departments/partners external to MPLS will be considered, as long as there is at least one participating MPLS department.
  • The proposal involves either funding an innovative/new activity or sustaining existing activity that has demonstrated impact or positive results/benefits.
  • The proposal is aligned with departmental, divisional, or University ED&I related action plans and strategic priorities (e.g. Athena Swan action plans, Race Equality Charter).

 Examples of successful applications can be seen at the bottom of the page. Funding is unlikely to be awarded for:

  • A proposal which benefits a single individual and which does not demonstrate broader impact beyond that individual; and
  • Activities which form part of the regular day-to-day operations of a department where we would normally expect funding to already exist to support that activity.

How to apply

The following initiatives and projects were successful in their applications to the MPLS ED&I Fund.

Hilary Term 2021

Mfano-Africa and Mathematical Institute – Mentorship Programme

A pilot 2-month mentor programme during Long Vac 2021 to encourage quality applications from African applicants in Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science and to help applicants build a career in Maths. 10 applicants will undertake an online programme of work over 8 weeks with Oxford-based mentors. Outcomes and impact include increase of quality DPhil applications from African students, collaboration across MPLS departments. We are hoping this pilot will develop into a bigger project in in 2021/22.

Chemistry and Pharmacology – addressing bias in graduate applications

A joint submission from Chemistry and Pharmacology to address unconscious bias in graduate applications, developing redaction software (with commercial potential), to investigate and evaluate admissions processes across the University and beyond. The overall objective is to promote these processes and roll out across the University and beyond.

Michaelmas Term 2020


The BIPOC STEM Network is an inclusive group of research staff, academic staff, administrative and postgraduates within the University’s STEM departments, who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) or BAME. The primary aim of the Network is to promote and support the work of People of Colour within the University and beyond, in order to create a more diverse and inclusive environment within academia. The Network will highlight contributions of People of Colour in STEM, explore how to navigate STEM as a Person of Colour, promote effective allyship and work with the University to implement policy aimed at improving diversity and inclusivity that draws on the experiences and insights of People of Colour.

Zoology and Plants Sciences – Colonial Fieldwork Project

A project to develop an online training course for staff and students to address colonial attitudes towards fieldwork. The project will specifically focus on: (a) building relationships between visiting researchers and host researchers and their institutions; (b) collaboration and data sharing; (c) local knowledge and cultural sensitivity.

Zoology and WildCRU – EDI Reverse Tutorials

A pilot project to explore current graduate students delivering reverse tutorials to current tutorial staff on EDI topics, with a focus on increasing their understanding of the barriers to success faced by minorities, and encouraging them to enhance their teaching and research activities to be more actively inclusive.