First grants awarded from Imperial’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Seed Fund


portrait of a Black woman

Black People of Imperial is one of the projects which received funding | Image credit: John Almando

The new seed fund has supported 10 proposals in the first round of annual funding allocation.

The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Seed Fund was established to encourage staff and students to generate ideas, activities and initiatives that support Imperial’s EDI Strategy.

The strategy brings together Imperial’s efforts to promote equality, diversity and inclusion, and sets out the College’s commitments to supporting individuals and reform structures and practices that maintain inequality and discrimination.

Stephen Curry
Professor Stephen Curry

Professor Stephen Curry, Imperial’s Assistant Provost for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, said: “We know that different people and groups within the university often have bright ideas about how we can do things better – and we are keen to nurture and stimulate that creativity.

“We had many more applications than we were able to fund, with a tremendous breadth of ideas. Thank you to everyone who applied.”

Reaching out

Three proposals have been funded which aim to encourage under-represented school students to apply to study STEM subjects at university. The teams will coordinate their projects with the College’s central Outreach team.

Dr Sunday Popo-Ola, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Professor Sara Rankin, National Heart and Lung Institute, will run four workshops aimed at Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students and students with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD).

Kitan Oyeleke, an undergraduate student in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Vice President of the African Caribbean Society (ACS), was awarded funding for the ACS Outreach Programme. The programme provides mentorship to underprivileged, high-achieving Black British students in Year 12 and the funding will enable the ACS to expand the programme and organise visits to the College for mentees.

Dr Wayne Mitchell, Department of Immunology and Inflammation, and De-Shaine Murray, Department of Bioengineering, will take a group of Imperial students to a careers conference for Black British school students.

Portraying diversity

Three proposals have been funded relating to portraits.

One of the project teams from the IMPACT talent development programme has been awarded funding for their proposal Wall of BAME. This campaign aims to highlight the presence of BAME colleagues who are normally hidden behind the scenes or otherwise underrepresented in their job sectors such as the academic family.

group of people
The 2019 IMPACT cohort

Dr Sarah Essilfie-Quaye, Faculty of Medicine, has won funding for a collaboration with Mixedracefaces, an organisation that captures portraits and stories of mixed-race people. The project will profile mixed-race people working and studying at Imperial, giving them a platform to discuss how their mixed background and cultures influence how they navigate their everyday lives.

Launched for Black History Month in 2019, Black People of Imperial is run by the African Caribbean Society (ACS) and Imperial College Union. The striking portraits celebrate the Black community at Imperial and provide a space for Black students and staff to reflect on the positive and negative aspects of life at Imperial. The funding will enable the team to commission new portraits and expand the campaign.

These projects will add to the diversity of portraiture around the college that has been boosted by the Women at Imperial portraits project, which ran for the first time in 2019 and is running again this year.    

Looking ahead

Four other proposals have also been funded, including a workshop on gender equality in the workplace that aims to empower men as allies, seminar and discussion events focusing on a range of issues and experiences of diversity and inclusivity at Imperial, and a workshop for BAME undergraduates who are considering research careers.

All the projects are due to be completed by the end of July 2020.

The EDI Seed Fund will reopen for applications in autumn 2020.  


Elizabeth Nixon

Elizabeth Nixon
Communications Division

Click to expand or contract

Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 6699

Show all stories by this author


Comms-strategy-Inclusive-community, Equality
See more tags

Leave a comment

Your comment may be published, displaying your name as you provide it, unless you request otherwise. Your contact details will never be published.