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. To help people implement those ideas, the EDI Seed Fund offers a total of £10,000 each year (eachapplication can apply for a maximum of £2,000). 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.
Students may also be interested in the Outreach Seed Fund for Recruiting Black Students.
Any queries or questions about the EDI Seed Fund should be emailed to Professor Lesley Cohen and Dr Wayne Mitchell, Associate Provosts (EDI).
2023-2024 Seed Fund
This year out of a total of 18 applications, 9 projects were given funding.
Julia Anderson Training Programme - secondary school outreach
Ann-Sophie Pieters and Nicolette Davies, from the institute of Global Health Innovation, will develop a secondary school outreach initiative to raise awareness and encourage applications to the Julia Anderson Training Programme - a scheme that offers paid work experience to people who have no, or limited, prior work experience.
LGBTQ+ students of Imperial
Avani (Avi) Ela Kaura, LGBTQ+ Officer 2023-24, and third year medical student, will produce a video exploring students experiences and to raise awareness of support available, for LGBTQ+ History Month 2024.
Gender differences in Business School PGT degree performance
Karen Tweddle, Business School, will lead a data-gathering and analysis project to understand the factors contributing to observed gender disparity in distinction rates among male and female students in MBA and MSc programmes, and to identify possible interventions.
Provision of LGBTQIA+ inclusion, awareness, and mental health training with a focus on international travel and collaboration
The LGBTQIA+ international support group aims to increase awareness amongst staff and students on the challenges of travelling and collaborating with countries with anti-LGBTQIA+ laws or attitudes. A bespoke training session has been designed with MindOut, a mental health charity for the LGBTQIA+ community.
Understanding the Black and Minority Ethnic obstacle course
Rebecca Smith, Department of Brain Sciences, and Kemi Aofolaju, Department of Bioengineering, will develop training materials to raise awareness of structural racism within Higher Education (HE). The training materials aim to foster a supportive and inclusive environment, and concrete examples within the HE context, so people can understand how structural racism may present itself within the workplace and university life.
Wayne Mitchell, Department of Immunology and Inflammation, and Dez Mendoza, Library services, will lead a pilot to determine the impact of departmental allocation of one day per month where staff and students are encouraged to engage with and participate in an EDI related activity.
Meet the author book club sessions
Wayne Mitchell, Department of Immunology and Inflammation, and Sharon Datt, alumni, will host a monthly book cub event to highlight a minority writer and to raise awareness and provided greater insight in the intersectionality of the lived experience and how this is visible in their books.
Women & Non-Binary in Physics: UG to PhD Mentoring Scheme
Isabel Rabey and the Society for Women & Non-Binary Individuals in Physics will establish a mentoring scheme that will support and encourage women and non- binary students to pursue postgraduate research in physics.
Say My Name
Desmond Samuel, Faculty of Medicine, and Wayne Mitchell, Department of Immunology and Inflammation, aims to the issue of name mispronunciation with a project to explore how the College can implement a system where staff and students can add an audio clip or phonetic label of their name pronunciation to their email signature.
Projects from previous years
"We had over 30 submissions and the judging panel had an especially difficult job awarding funds with so many strong cases this year. It is fantastic to see the energy and commitment that the EDI Seed Fund helps to deliver, and I am grateful to everyone who took the time to apply." Stephen Curry, Assistant Provost (EDI)
Hearing impairments and the D/deaf community
Dr Felicitas Starr-Egger, Nikiaisha Thompson, and Dr Michael Weatherburn (Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication) will facilitate a programme of activities to raise awareness of hearing impairments and the D/deaf Community across the College.
Shining a spotlight on the inclusion of disabled participants in clinical trials
Marie Miller, Meena Reddi, and Lee Webber (Imperial Clinical Trials Unit) will review the inclusion and exclusion criteria for clinical trials, and create a framework to increase inclusion of people with disabilities and thereby make trials more robust.
Ethnicity and race
Black people of Imperial
Wunmi Olatidoye, President of the African Caribbean Society, will lead a media campaign to increase awareness of local Black creatives in London and demystify impressions and preconceptions of Imperial for prospective Black students.
Bringing lived experience into undergraduate medicine: a focus on excluded groups
Dr Richard Pinder, Dr Florence Mutlow, and Dr Hannah Wright (School of Public Health) will produce six short videos for use in UG teaching in collaboration with people with lived experience of health inequity and poverty in London and local communities.
Invisible warrior: race and health equity
Dr Christina Crossette-Thambiah and Dr Linda van Keimpema (Department of Immunology and Inflammation) will lead workshops to increase awareness of the complexities of race-specific diseases and shine a light on the invisible disabilities many people face.
Academic Women Association (AWA): a new network at Imperial College
Dr Ilaria Belluomo, Dr Nina Moderau, Professor Charlotte Bevan, and Mr Christopher Peters (Department of Surgery and Cancer) will be forming a new network in the Faculty of Medicine, with a series of events to bring together women working across different academic career levels.
STEM Mentoring: career choices and tips from inspiring women in science
Dr Stefano Sandrone (Department of Brain Sciences) will launch a new website, interviewing 10 female scientists from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds who will tell their own stories, alongside tips on careers, mentoring and role modelling.
Being OUT in the field: challenges of fieldwork for LGBTQ+ scientists
Christina Atchison (School of Public Health) will research the experiences of Imperial LGBTQ+ staff and students when travelling overseas for research or fieldwork, and develop strategies that promote safety and inclusion.
LGBTQ+ liberation network
Calyste Revel and Charlotte Hope will facilitate weekly museum tours showcasing significant artwork related to LGBTQ+ history and culture during LGBTQ+ History Month, reflecting the theme this year of ‘Politics in Art’.
Out Loud: Voices of Imperial's LGBTQ+ community
Corrine Tomsett and Maeve O’Sullivan will spotlight ten staff and postgraduate students at Imperial, sharing their stories and increasing the visibility of our LGBTQ+ community.
Queer STEM in South Ken!
Julia Stawarz, William Proud, Yasmin Andrew, and Vinita Khanna (Department of Physics) will run a new summer school for LGBTQ+ sixth-form students who are interested in physics and related fields.
Mental health awareness explainer videos at Mechanical Engineering
Dr Antonis Sergis and Sophia Quazi (Department of Mechanical Engineering) will develop short video clips about frequently encountered mental health topics.
Student recruitment and outreach
Confront educational inequality mentoring program
Marieke Hoekstra and Natalie Ness (Department of Brain Sciences) will continue their partnership with a London school to provide STEMM mentoring to help students improve their chances when applying to university.
EDI communications guide for marketing, recruitment and admissions
Sarah Hetherington, Olivia Beer, and Emily Beales (Business School) will develop a specific EDI guide, featuring content on gender-neutral language/pronouns, terminology around ethnicity, and accessibility.
Offer holder caller campaign
Lizzie Burrows and Andrew Tebbutt (Departments of Marketing, Recruitment and Admissions, and Outreach) will give UG offer holders an opportunity to speak with a current student from the student ambassador scheme.
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
The Faculty of Natural Sciences EDI Coordinator 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 were 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.
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.