From education to employment

Imperial funds 17 new equality, diversity and inclusion projects

Imperial College Business School
Nandini Bhudia often wears a traditional South Asian lengha outfit when attending family celebrations and cultural and religious events

The Shifting the Lens campaign has received funding for a second year

New equality, diversity and inclusion projects have been funded to highlight diverse voices and encourage open conversations and collective learning.

Eleven creative and exciting projects have been awarded funding in the second year of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Seed Fund. An additional six projects have been funded through the Strategic Priorities Fund and the Vice-Provost of Education and Student Experience.

Professor Stephen CurryProfessor Stephen Curry, Imperial’s Assistant Provost for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion said: “I’m delighted that despite COVID-19 we received so many fantastic applications for the EDI Seed Fund. The projects will highlight diverse staff and student voices, empower different groups to share their experiences and support open and honest conversations and learning from each other across the College.”

Disability matters

Three successful projects will explore issues around disability:

Fola Afolabi, School of Public Health, will work with Action on Disability to deliver work experience for young people living with impairments who are not in education, employment, or training.

Dr Emma Watson and colleagues in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering were awarded funding to run focus groups that will explore and clarify accessibility issues.

Dr Manjula Silva, Department of Materials, along with Des Samuel and Dr Sarah Essilfie-Quaye, Faculty of Medicine, will lead a project delivering six poetry workshops that will develop conversations around disability, race, gender and sexuality.

Supporting secondary school students

Encouraging secondary school students to consider Imperial and a career in STEM is the focus of four projects:

Grace Fisher, Department of Life Sciences, will run a campaign to support working class students at Imperial and undertake outreach to prospective students from low socio-economic backgrounds.

Dr Johanna Jackson, Department of Brain Sciences, will produce TikTok videos to explain basic science concepts to secondary school pupils, featuring diverse Imperial scientists as role models.

Dr Crystal Vincent, Department of Life Sciences, will lead a research project investigating the perceptions of secondary school students of male, female, Black and white scientists.

Olawunmi Olatidoye and Temilola Olapade-Ayomidele, from the African Caribbean Society, want to encourage Black students to consider STEM degrees. They will deliver presentations in schools on the application process and their experience of being Black at Imperial.

Invisible voices

Three projects focus on supporting and raising the profile of less-recognised staff and student groups:

Dr Judith Cherni, Centre for Environmental Policy, will run a workshop to discuss and raise awareness of the often-invisible Latin American community in academia.

Dr Gurpreet Singh, Department of Materials, was awarded funding to create an awareness-raising video about Sikh researchers working in the sciences across the UK.

Professor Sara Rankin, National Heart and Lung Institute, is leading a project to develop a new network for neurodiverse staff and students at institutions around Exhibition Road, with a new website and workshop activity.

Wide variety of projects

Another eight projects have also been funded covering a wide variety of issues, including how to engage diverse groups with climate change and environmental issues; helping senior leaders in the Faculty of Medicine have open and honest conversations about race in the workplace; a second Shifting the Lens campaign; and mental health awareness training workshops focusing on how to support BAME staff and students.

Next steps

All the projects are due to be completed by the end of July 2021.

The EDI Seed Fund will reopen for applications in September/ October 2021.

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