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Beyond Boundaries logo

We are delighted to announce that applications for researcher role models for the MPLS Beyond Boundaries science-inspired art competition are now open!

If you are an academic or researcher within MPLS or MSD, are passionate about sharing your research beyond the University (particularly with children) and identify as Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic, we want to hear from you! 

About the competition

The Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division of the University of Oxford first launched Beyond Boundaries in 2018. This science-inspired art competition is for Oxfordshire state school students in Years 5, 6, 7, and 8 to create art inspired by research from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic scientists. 

The Beyond Boundaries project, originally funded by the University of Oxford Diversity Fund, aims to increase the visibility of Oxford’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic scientists and mathematicians, bridge the perceived divide between science and art, and further connect schools and local communities with the University.

The participating researchers and academics will be profiled on the Oxford Sparks webpage, where we will host short and engaging descriptions of their career paths and research – along with photos and informal videos where possible. We will also encourage and support researchers to participate in outreach work within participating schools and community groups.

For the competition, school students will be asked to select one of the role models and create an artistic representation of that person’s research (for example, painting, sculpture, digital art, etc.), along with a short statement explaining their creation. Winners and runners-up will receive prize money and recognition at an awards ceremony and exhibition at the Natural History Museum in Oxford in June 2023; and their work will be shared online through the webpage and social media. See past artwork from the 2018 competition and 2020 competition.

This year, we are excited to invite expressions of interest from researchers in MSD, as well as MPLS.

About the researchers

 We are seeking applications from academics and researchers within MPLS and MSD, who:

  • Self-identify as Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic;
  • Conduct exciting research of interest to primary and secondary school students, particularly research which has a positive societal impact;
  • Have intriguing and relatable life and/or career stories – for example, individuals who have overcome challenging life/work circumstances, have been the first in their family to pursue a STEMM career, took an unconventional path to STEMM, etc.

We are particularly looking for individuals who are interested in doing some outreach work with participating schools (although this is not a requirement), and will support you as best we can throughout your interactions.

How to apply

If you are interested in joining this project, please submit an expression of interest via this Microsoft Form by Monday 31 October 2022. If you have any questions or are unable to use the Form, please contact Jo Knights, MPLS ED&I Coordinator, on