Diversity Fund

The University of Oxford is committed to fostering an inclusive culture which promotes equality, values diversity and maintains a working, learning and social environment in which the rights and dignity of all its staff and students are respected. The Diversity Fund is a £70,000 annual fund which provides small grants to initiatives aimed at furthering this commitment, with the aim of delivering a lasting change in culture across the collegiate University.

This year, to mark the centenary of women being admitted as full members of the University and being awarded degrees for the first time, the Diversity Fund is opening an additional, targeted call that will support initiatives to promote gender equality. The total value of this call is £35,000. 

On 14 October 1920, forty women who had previously studied and sat exams at Oxford, were finally awarded their degrees in the Sheldonian. Since that historic date, many further reforms, including the opening of previously male colleges to women from 1974, and numerous scholarship and outreach schemes, have widened access to Oxford for women. In 2019, women comprised half of all undergraduate students for the first time. 

Despite this progress, the University recognizes that gender inequalities remain, for staff as well as students, and that intersectional disadvantage means that some groups of women remain less visible, or have not benefited equally, from progress to date. 

In recognition of this important centenary and of the need to accelerate progress in tackling gender inequality, the Diversity Fund is seeking to support:

  • Initiatives that recognise, promote and celebrate the diversity of women’s scholarship or contributions to University life;
  • Innovations to tackle gender inequalities affecting the experience of learning and working at Oxford;
  • Initiatives that further understanding of gender equality across the University.

We are particularly keen to receive applications that take an intersectional approach to the above issues. General application criteria remain the same, as detailed below. 

Applications are open from 9 March until 7 May 2020. 

A second open call will be made, as usual, early in Trinity term and will close in June 2020.

See below for more details on making an application. The following links contain information about previous years’ awards, Women's Centenary and the University’s work on gender equality

If you have any further questions, email: diversity.fund@admin.ox.ac.uk

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Anyone! We welcome applications from all academic departments, as well as from UAS and GLAM. Students are welcome to apply but must have the support of an academic sponsor and agreement that funds will be administered by the sponsor’s department.

Applications should show how they:

  • Contribute to the institution's equality and diversity priorities outlined in the Strategic Plan.
  • Demonstrate breadth of impact, through benefit to staff and/or students across a number of departments/divisions, and/or clear plans for good practice to be applied more widely, and/or clear plans for external influence.
  • Address challenges identified in new ways.
  • Demonstrate how the impact of the project will be sustained beyond the initial funding period.

Funding is unlikely to be awarded for:

  • Standalone events, with no demonstrable legacy.
  • A project which benefits only a single department.
  • Activities which form part of the normal day-to-day operations of a department.
  • Activities for which we would normally expect other financial support to exist within the University or externally, including funding for a member of staff.
  • Activities which would require recurrent funding in order to continue beyond the initial funding period.

Bids will be shortlisted by a panel made up of representatives from the academic Divisions, GLAM and the Equality and Diversity Unit (EDU). The final decision will be made by a smaller panel made up of senior representatives of each Division and of the EDU. The panel will be chaired by Rebecca Surender, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Advocate for Equality and Diversity.

There is no upper or lower limit on the value of awards, but the higher the sum requested the more exceptional the case will need to be. Total funding of £35,000 is available for the targeted Centenary call in addition to £70,000 for the main call. 

Funds for the targeted Centenary call will be available from 1 June 2020 and must be spent by 31 July 2021.

Funds for the main call will be available from 1 August and must be spent by 31 July of the following year.

Applications will be accepted for projects with funding phased across more than one year: in such cases, funds would be released annually.

Each successful project lead will be required to conduct an evaluation of the project and complete an evaluation template within one year of the end of the project.

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