Equality, diversity and inclusion Seed Fund
About the Seed Fund
The strength and vitality of Imperial is thanks entirely to the people who work and study at the College. Through our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Strategy we aim to add to that strength and vitality. The EDI Seed Fund is one way the College will do this.
We know that different people and groups within the College often have bright ideas about how we can do things better. The EDI Seed Fund offers £10,000 each year to help people implement those ideas. We are keen to nurture and stimulate our community's creativity so that it might have the maximum impact, helping to build a fully inclusive institutional culture at Imperial.
This year saw another round of very strong applications, covering the full range of EDI issues. We had 23 applications in total, requesting funding that was four times the original budget. The following projects were successful in receiving funding.
Black People of Imperial
The student African Caribbean Society, led by its President Beverly Okuneye, are continuing their campaign to showcase the Black People of Imperial, with artists using different styles and interpretations to paint Black Imperial students and staff, captioned with their narratives of their experiences. This project continues their work interrupted by COVID-19 last year.
Manjula Silva (Teaching Fellow, Department of Materials), Sarah Essilfie-Quaye (Project Manager in Research Strategy, Faculty of Medicine), Desmond Samuel (Head of Digital Communication Services, Faculty of Medicine), and others will work with artists to organise six poetry workshops on EDI related issues, enabling people to share experiences and start conversations.
Grace Fisher (Working Class Officer, Imperial College Union) will start a new campaign to support working class students at Imperial, and undertake outreach activity to prospective students from low socio-economic backgrounds.
Inclusive work experience: improving communications for people living with impairments
Fola Afolabi (Graduate Management Trainee, School of Public Health), will partner with Muna Ali (Employment Service Manager, Action on Disability) to run a pilot, providing two-week long work experience opportunities for young people living with impairments who are not in education, employment, or training. The placement students will be mentored by a Comms & Public Affairs staff member and shadow scientists across the College.
Intersectional (Career) Outcomes: EDI Programmes and Placement Strategies
Joel McConnell (Executive Director, Marketing Recruitment and Admissions, Business School), Lisa Umenyiora (Executive Director, Careers, Business School) will run a speaker series featuring executive-level EDI experts on what their organisations are doing to remove the barriers to career advancement for their employees, with a particular focus on intersecting identities.
Latin America Visible at Imperial
Judith Cherni (Research Fellow, Centre for Environmental Policy) will deliver a participative workshop discussing and raising awareness of the often invisible Latin American community in academia.
Neurodiversity in Albertopolis, a staff and student network
Sara Rankin (Professor, NHLI), Emma Slater (Public Engagement Producer, Office of the Provost), and colleagues from other local institutions are developing a new network for neurodiverse staff and students at institutions around Exhibition Road, with a new website and workshop activity.
Novel tools for promoting EDI in the post-graduate research community
Kevin Murphy (Professor, Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction), Laki Buluwela (Professor, Department of Surgery and Cancer), and Nousheen Tariq (Postgraduate Education Manager, Faculty of Medicine Education Office) will use Quizlet, an online teaching application, to help enable discussions around EDI at informal cafes for PhD students.
Speaking authentically’: A short film and online gallery of students’ stories of authenticity
Zoe Moula (Teaching Fellow, School of Public Health), and Fola Afolabi (Graduate Management Trainee, School of Public Health) will interview BAME medical students on the topic of authenticity, to create an online video to share their stories.
The role of perception and representation in fostering an interest in secondary school students
Crystal Vincent (Research Associate, Department of Life Sciences) will run a research project investigating the perceptions of secondary school students of male, female, Black and White scientists, using Imperial students and staff to deliver workshops in the classroom.
Joanna Jackson (Advanced Research Fellow, Department of Brain Sciences) will produce short TikTok videos to explain basic science concepts to secondary school pupils, featuring diverse Imperial scientists as role models.
Understanding routes to improving engagement with climate change and environmental issues by diverse groups of people
Alyssa Gilbert (Director of Policy and Translation, Grantham Institute), Simon Levey (Communications Manager, Grantham Institute), and Morena Mills (Reader, Centre for Environmental Policy) will run a research project exploring how best to engage diverse groups with climate change and environmental issues, which will shape the Grantham Institute’s new EDI objectives.
The following projects have been funded through the College's Strategic Priorities Fund.
Addressing accessibility issues in ESE and the RSM through focus groups
The Department of Earth Science and Engineering will run focus groups to explore and clarify accessibility issues, which will inform disability awareness workshops and local actions.
African Caribbean Society Outreach Programme
Temilola Olapade-Ayomidele and Olawunmi Olatidoye from the student African Caribbean Society will deliver an outreach programme to encourage Black students to consider STEM degrees by delivering presentations in schools on the application process and their experience of being Black at Imperial.
Let’s Talk About Race @ Imperial
Sarah Essilfie-Quaye (Project Manager in Research Strategy, Faculty of Medicine) and Margaret Lawrence (Engagement Officer, Enterprise) will put together a a pilot programme helping senior leaders from the Faculty of Medicine to have open and honest conversations about race in the workplace.
Shifting the lens - a celebration of cultural diversity
Christopher Bamikole (Laboratory Manager & Section Safety Coordinator, Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction), Aleisha Miller (Clinical Project Manager, Department of Brain Sciences), Martha Salhotra (Internal Communications Officer, Communications and Public Affairs), and Grace Adeyemi (Recruitment Advisor, HR) will run a second digital campaign showcasing profiles of staff and students from Imperial’s vibrant community.
Spot a Sikh Researcher
Gurpreet Singh (Research Associate, Department of Materials) will create an awareness raising video about Sikh researchers working in the sciences across the UK.
Training Programme: Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority mental health: How to support people from BAME communities
Angela Williams (Learning and Development Officer, Estates Operations) will deliver mental health awareness training workshops that focuses on how to support students and staff from BAME communities.
Successful applications from previous years
We were very pleased by the response to the new Seed Fund. The panel would like to thank everyone who took the time to prepare and submit an application. There was a fantastic range of ideas and it was a pleasure to see so much enthusiasm and creativity from staff and students."
Assistant Provost (EDI)
The inaugural round of the EDI Seed Fund saw 21 applications received, requesting funds totalling more than four times the value of the £10,000 Seed Fund.
The assessment panel endeavoured to allocate the Seed Fund as equitably as possible. In a few cases, the panel was able to identify alternative sources of funding for projects that could not be supported from the Seed Fund.
Successful applications were due to be completed by the end of July 2020, however due to COVID-19 most projects were disrupted.
The following applications for the inaugural 2019-20 Seed Fund were successful:
Dr Sunday Popo-Ola and Professor Sara Rankin will run workshops for school students who are under-represented at Imperial.
Dr Wayne Mitchell will take a group of Imperial students to the Reach Society Careers Conferences, which targets black students wishing to go to university.
The African-Caribbean Society Outreach Programme
Mr Kitan Oyeleke and the Society will expand their mentoring programme for under-privileged, high-achieving black students from local schools.
Shifting the Lens, MixedRaceFaces, and Black People of Imperial
These three projects will work on diversifying the physical and digital portraiture at Imperial. You can now explore the Shifting the Lens series.
Ms Deborah Adegoke, Ms Amna Ahmed, and Mr Amr Alwishah, will run a series of discussion events, brining together underrepresented students to talk about their experiences and to generate ideas on how to improve the multicultural environment in the College.
Men, gender equality and inclusivity in the workplace
Ms Francesca Siracusa will run a workshop that aims to tackle gender inequality in the workplace by empowering men as advocates.