Office of the President and Provost (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion)


UCL EDI Contribution and Engagement Fund

Information on applying to the UCL EDI Contribution and Engagement Fund to advance localised Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion activity at UCL.

The Race Equality Implementation Group has provided £70,000 to incentivise and reward race equity activity undertaken by students and staff and encourage greater engagement with institutional commitments to race equity. The fund also aims to recognise and help address the emotional labour asked of Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff and students when undertaking race equity work for the institution.

Applications will open on Monday 5th of February and close on Friday 1st of March 2024.

If you have any further questions, please contact Kemi Hassan (EDI Contribution and Engagement Fund Lead).

Who can apply? 

Anyone! We will welcome applications from: 

  • Project Groups
  • Academic departments
  • Students can apply but must have the support of an academic sponsor (e.g., Departmental Inclusion Lead) and an agreement that the sponsor's department will administer funds.

What will we fund:

We encourage applications for projects and activities that:

  • Contribute to the race equity visions outlined in UCL's Race Equality Implementation Action Plan
    • Strategy and Culture
    • Teaching & Research
    • Staff Recruitment
    • Pay, retention and staff progression
  • Intersectional projects/activities that address race equity challenges in new ways. E.g., address race equity dimensions of broader challenges to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion or introduce/identify new dimensions of race equity issues.
  • Cross-departmental projects that encourage partnership working and meaningful collaboration on race equity
  • Projects to 'level up' and ensure that good practice is celebrated and replicated across UCL. 

How do I apply? 

Applications should be made via the UCL EDI Contribution and Engagement Fund application form only.

Applications are open until Friday 1st of March.

Applications will be accepted for projects with funding phased across the 2023-24 academic year.

How much money can I bid for?

There is no upper or lower limit on the value of bids, but the higher the sum requested, the more remarkable the case will need to be.

Impact and Evaluation

Successful project team will be required to provide a quarterly update to the EDI team.

Upon completion of the project, the team is required to produce a full project report no later than four weeks after the proposed project end date.

How is your application assessed?

The EDI C&E fund panel will assess your application using the scoring criteria in the document below:

EDI Contribution and Engagement Funded Project Briefs

In 2022 we funded 7 projects led by staff and students across UCL:

Understanding the Unique Experiences of BAME Students

Data from over 13,000 UCL students graduating from 2016-18 revealed the difference of 5.7 percentage points between White and BAME students in achieving a first or 2:1 undergraduate degree.

The aim of this project is to run focus groups with students from diverse ethnic backgrounds to examine their learning experience in the department of Statistical Science.

We believe these focus groups will provide a platform for their voices to be heard. The obtained data will be analysed to identify any issues specific to these groups, and how to transform these into opportunities and positive outcomes.

Depending on the findings, further recommendations could be produced on how to foster a more inclusive and supportive environment in the department.

Co-creating Diversity Impact Activities

This project aims to work with students from underrepresented groups to co-create a programme of activities to increase diversity within the Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering and the Faculty of Engineering Sciences.

Monitoring data collected by UCL shows that female students, BAME students and students from minoritised groups are underrepresented in UCL MPHY and FES and more widely in engineering careers.

It is essential that we develop a programme which has real input from the groups who may benefit from this change: we would like to develop this programme from the ground up, with underrepresented students as co-creators.

This project aims to align with the principles and recommendations of the UCL Race Equality Implementation Group:

"Recommendations or actions that have clear community support from Black or racially­ minoritised students and staff should be given precedence"

To carry out this co-creation we propose to run two funded workshops, led by the MedPhys EDI and Athena SWAN leads.

We aim to invite up to 20 undergraduate and postgraduate students from across FES who identify as from an underrepresented group.

Inclusive Induction Support for Postgraduate Students

The Department of Space and Climate Physics runs four MSc programmes, 2 Master's Degree Apprenticeships (MDA) and a PhD programme.

Three of the MSc programmes and both MDA programmes are project /technology management and systems engineering focussed, the final MSc programme is in space science and engineering.

Our student body is culturally quite diverse and our PGT programmes are increasingly dominated by international students. Many of the PGT students struggle with language and the structure and expectations of the UK system and a dominant focus on group work across all our programmes can lead to misunderstanding and clashes between students from different geographic and cultural backgrounds, this could disproportionately affect our students from minority ethnic backgrounds.

Our international PGR student numbers are smaller and some are self-funded which places an additional pressure on them to succeed and to do so in as short a timescale as possible.

Over the last few years, we have recognised the additional challenges faced by international and minority ethnic students on our PGT programmes and some of our minority ethnic teaching staff, supported by our learning administrators, we ran an induction session at the start of Term 1 which was well received.

We would like to build on this for 2022-23, incorporating feedback from current students and employing them to help develop resources for incoming students - workshops, group activities and web-based guides. We also wish to broaden this to include PGR students. We would like to run catered PGT and PGR focus groups over the coming months to gather student input and then work with interested students and staff to develop the programme.

Researching, Understanding, Indexing and Redressing the Hidden Labour of BAME staff and students at UCL

The project, based within UCL Writing Lab, aims to research and recognise the various forms of hidden labour (emotional, practical, pedagogical, administrative, etc.) that are required of BAME staff and students in academia. Focus group and interview work will be undertaken with staff and students of colour on campus, supported by desk-based research in the field.

The central output will be an index of this labour, which will help make visible and explicit what is hidden, and to provide UCL with data and insights on this form of racialised inequity in our community. This index will then be used to make a set of recommendations for redress, based on the impacts of this labour on these people of colour, and the needs they express. Thus, the project gives precedence to, and is led by, the lived experience and intellectual work of Black or racially­ minoritised students and staff.

In addition, this UCL-based research will be written up in a chapter for a book to be published by Sage, and further, more accessible, communications of the research (e.g., podcast episode), and through these outputs, aims to communicate our findings from this project more broadly.

This project aims to help address the injustice of the labour inequity on campus, but also push towards models for a more just future, by imagining something better for people of colour, and everyone, at UCL and beyond. The concreate outcomes of this project will support UCL to make its commitments actionable.

Making Space

"Making Space" proposes a new series of promotional videos that seeks to address the historic inequity in architectural practice and education through a series of videos that spotlight BAME individuals thereby recognising the real, and/or perceived, challenges of race equity in the built environment primarily through "strategy and culture".

Sitting within The Bartlett, faculty of the built environment, is one of the world's landmark architecture schools, The Bartlett School of Architecture (BSA). The BSA has a unique role in setting the agenda for what architecture is, and could be, for an increasing diverse and interconnected global population.

"Making Space" aims to not only promote pathways for BAME staff and students in the built environment, but the same time acknowledges the race equity work undertaken by simply existing in an institution when #BlacklnAcademia.

Exploring experiences and outcomes for students from minority ethnic groups on the Division of Psychiatry MSc courses

The Division of Psychiatry offers three MSc courses: Clinical Mental Health Sciences, Mental Health Sciences Research, and Dementia: Causes, Treatments and Research. The current cohort of 113 students is diverse with 25.66% international students. Last year 43.33% of UK domiciled students were from BAME backgrounds.

Internal system for recording ethnicity: The UCL Race Equity Action Plan highlights the need to understand and address the awarding gap present for students from minority ethnic groups. We plan to establish a system for recording MSc student ethnicity data within the division from September 2022, so comparisons of marking per module and assessment format can be made.

Data collection survey: To understand what factors may contribute to or inhibit students from minority ethnic groups pursuing a research career, we will conduct a student survey. Collaborating with the division's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) group we will develop a questionnaire which explores student experience and intersectional factors.

The survey will be shared with all current students and findings will inform improvements for the next academic year.

In2Research - Introducing Research to UG students From Low-income Backgrounds

ln2 Research is a new programme emerging from ln2Science, which aims to give young people from low income and disadvantaged background direct experiences of research in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, with a view to future careers in research, and further education including MA, MRes, and doctoral pathways.

This coming academic year, 2022-2023, ln2R will focus on supporting 10 undergraduate students drawn from across the UK to work with researchers at UCL, City University and Cambridge University. Students are recruited through the Student Union, Widening Participation programmes and other such networks. The ln2R programme will offer a series of online workshops and an individual mentoring scheme from September-June plus an 8-week summer residential placement on an A&H research project. The aim is to develop a sense of community for the 10 participants.

Selected students will attend workshops that introduce the principles and forms of research, and they will be advised on writing applications, c.v.'s and personal statements, and also given interview experience. The plan is to run some of these workshops online, such as reading and discursive groups, involving academics and participants across the three universities.

The personal mentoring scheme addresses the particular needs of the student with a view to building confidence and developing the individual's own interests and questions, identifying how these could form the basis of future research projects.

In 2023 we funded 10 projects led by staff and students across UCL:

Celebrating Diversity at UCL

This project seeks to identify and celebrate diverse staff and student stories from UCL’s history in order to deepen a sense of belonging for under-represented students at UCL. By seeing people like themselves better represented and celebrated at UCL, the project aims to support academic success, promote both staff and student recruitment and retention, and enhance well-being, through increasing belonging. The project is conceived as a spin-off from Generation UCL: Two Hundred Years of Student Life in London, a research and engagement project in the run up to UCL’s bicentennial. Generation UCL invites us to consider the first students who arrived in October 1828 to a new, and much derided university on the edge of London, as the ‘real founders’ of UCL.

The aim is to create an Inclusive sense of belonging (that may also impact the Awarding Gap). It draws on the expertise of a wider set of stakeholders including but not limited to colleagues at Central EDI, UCL Culture and UCL Special Collections, Students’ Union UCL, and ultimately will fall under the robust governance structure and ethical approval process of the Generation UCL project.

Digital Access and Participation for International Students

Digital education is at the heart of all of our students’ academic experiences, from pre-entry to graduation and beyond. All SHS students will encounter and need to be able to work effectively online to take advantage of the opportunities, resources and tools that we provide to ensure that they fulfil their potential and ensure their success.

International Students, especially those without English as their first language and from racially marginalised groups have different digital challenges than other non-traditional students due to cultural issues, confidence and micro-aggressions that could impact on the outcomes of their programmes.

This project is an attempt to begin the first stage of information gathering to identify their realities through the everyday lived experiences of a distinct group of non-traditional students in SHS. The aim is to host a range of methods to capture their stories which we will be determined in consultation with the students to ensure that we work in partnership with them and are sensitive to their needs.

We anticipate that we will create case studies as an evidence base which we can use to create a SHS Digital Student Manifesto. A declaration by us to show all non-traditional students that we are taking their perspectives and values into consideration when we introduce and support their digital education.

Chinese Name Pronunciation Mini-Course

For a number of years now UCL has been welcoming increasing numbers of students from mainland China, with this cohort now comprising the single largest group of international students in the institution. However, students from China have been unevenly distributed throughout the university, and until recently they have been underrepresented in the smaller programmes within the Faculty of Arts & Humanities. Over the past two years the situation has changed dramatically, with Chinese students becoming the majority in many of these departments.

The project will consist of a 3-hour lunchtime mini-course to be delivered over 6 weeks in biweekly intervals. Each mini-course will be offered in 4 different iterations on different days and times to allow staff to attend at a time which works for them. Similarly, the mini-course will be offered in Term 1 and then again in Terms 2 and 3 so that staff can fit it in alongside sabbaticals and teaching duties.

The mini-course will be interactive and practical, covering the basics of Chinese phonology, pronunciation techniques, Chinese naming conventions, commonly mispronounced Chinese names, and basic Chinese geography with place names. Participants will have the opportunity to practice and embed their knowledge through speaking exercises, listening exercises, and group discussions.

Towards diversifying and decolonising the curriculum in the Department of Psychology and Human Development (PhD)

The importance of diversity and inclusion in education cannot be overemphasized. In recent years, there has been an increasing recognition of the need to include diverse perspectives and voices in academic curricula (Mbebe, 2016; Mendes & Lau, 2022). Furthermore, a research project conducted across the University of Brighton identified the ethnocentric curriculum as a key issue impacting on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students’ sense of belonging and contributing to the ethnicity degree awarding gap (MacDonnell & Bisel, 2021). Despite this recognition, the representation of underrepresented populations in academic curricula, such as authors with diverse ethnic origins, women, and marginalised groups, remains limited.

In this project (Phase 1) we will: [1] conduct focus groups with students (UG, PGT, PGR) and staff to identify needs in the department in terms of diversification and decolonisation of teaching practices and reading lists as well as what staff and students would like to see come from the more long-term project [2] conduct an extensive literature review of best practices for diversifying academic curricula. [3] Based on the focus groups and literature review we will produce a spreadsheet which will be used by staff to audit a sample of modules in the department to gather data across programmes in terms of current status but also good practices. The spreadsheet will be available for all staff to audit their own reading lists, with the option to contribute their data to our sample.

Staff-student collaboration in assessing the inclusivity of GBSH modules

In 2022, the Global Business School for Health (GBSH hereafter) launched a suite of MSc programmes aimed at educating a global community of students about the future changes in the healthcare systems and equipping them with knowledge and skills to lead these changes. Because of the continuing significance of race, racism and the inequalities they generate in relation to health and medicine and the global salience of designing better healthcare systems – as per the UN SDGs –, incorporating the Black, Asian and minority ethnic perspectives into the programmes is paramount. Furthermore, because the majority of GBSH students come from a Black, Asian and minority ethnic background it is crucial to ensure they are represented, given opportunity to provide feedback and involved in the curriculum design. Against this backdrop, the purpose of this project is to analyse GBSH programmes and assess their level of inclusivity with the final aim of improving it through a staff-student led process. The project will be piloted on the taught modules of the MSc Global Healthcare Management, which is GBSH flagship MSc programme (around 250students in the 2023-24 cohort).

The project will consist in two steps:1) Subjective assessment: An anonymous survey (incorporated into the module evaluation survey) will be design and administered to the students who are enrolled in the MSC Global Healthcare Management to collect their feedback on the perceived inclusivity and representation of Black, Asian and minority ethnic instances in each module.

2) Objective assessment: Analysis of the reading lists used for the modules to assess the inclusion of a) scholars from BAME background and b) BAME-related issues at -depending on the module subject - micro (i.e., BAME workforce and patients), meso (i.e., healthcare system) and macro (i.e., country) level in the reading lists of GBSH programmes. A set of relevant indices will be computed to synthesize the level of inclusion of BAME-related material within each module.

Modelling the SRC approach to developing cultural competence with Secondary Art & Design trainee teachers and their school-based mentors

The PGCE Art & Design at UCL is the principal trainer of Secondary Art & Design Teachers in London, training 35-50art and design teachers every year. Despite the potential of art and design as a curriculum subject to explore the racism pupils face in their everyday lives, research suggests that art and design teachers are ill-equipped to facilitate such a process, either pedagogically or in terms of their own cultural competence (Kusi 2020; Johnson, M. &Mouthaan 2021; Shin et al. 2023).

We are seeking EDI funding to help us launch a ‘Negotiating the Politics of Representation’ strand within the taught element of our PGCE course in October 2023 to develop the cultural competence of our student teachers and their mentors. We want to use as our focus the (re)locate sound installation, created by artist and academic Tahera Aziz from Southbank London University. The installation uses sound to provide an immersive experience of the last hours of Stephen Lawrence’s life.

We will pay for artist facilitators to work with us, our student teachers, and a small group of mentors modelling a narrative storytelling response to the work, through the SRC approach to anti-racist art and design education (fostering a Sense of Belonging (S), Profiling Resistance (P) and Building Coalitions (C)) developed by Shin, Lim and Hsieh in their work with student teachers in the US (Shin et. al. 2023). Mentors and Student teachers would then work together to bring school groups to experience the installation to practice teaching using the narrative storytelling / SRC model themselves.

We would use this as a case study, from which the mentors involved would join us in evaluating the SRC model using criteria agreed together at the first session and training our wider group of mentors in narrative storytelling /SRC pedagogy at our mentor conference in July 2024. We hope that this will begin to address the lack of confident practitioners in this area by training both the student teachers and their mentors in school together, as well as ourselves.

Decolonising Gender Studies Through Reverse Mentoring in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities

My research and research interests specialise in Gender Studies, specifically in using intersectional feminism to revisit and improve academic knowledge and perceptions. I am also a BAME-BIPOC PG student and so, I understand and can communicate the importance of intersectional approaches to module creation with others in the academic community through my educational background and personal experiences within the academy.

I will be supported by an academic sponsor to deliver one lunchtime workshop per term to a group of 6 A&H Lecturers and 6 BAME-BIPOC PGTAs. The main aim of these sessions is to highlight how gender issues are defined, and how gender politics are shaped in intersection with other social and political identities such as race, sexuality, motherhood, nationhood, ethnicity, neurodiversity and religion.

This will be a reverse mentoring programme that will encourage Lecturers and BAME-BIPOC PGTA students from different A&H departments to review their Gender Studies curricula and fine-tune their modules and research in order to make them more inclusive and diverse. Their contents should also explore intersectionality, so that there are greater opportunities to engage with subjects from different perspectives and showcase a wider range of authors and materials.

Uncovering intersectional patterns in admission and awards for UCL Division of Psychiatry Masters students

The Division of Psychiatry hosts two MSc programmes collectively enrolling around 100 students per year. Over 50%of our student cohort is from ethnic minority backgrounds, with greater proportions among international compared to UK students. As part of our successful Athena Swan Silver application, we pledged to investigate differences in admission patterns and awarding gap data across a number of characteristics, including ethnicity, domicile, gender, and mode of study.

Our preliminary analyses supported by last year’s EDI Contribution and Engagement Fund award confirmed an awarding gap for ethnic minority UK students on our MSc course, most clearly apparent for Black UK students. The comprehensive dataset we received – which includes data on student grades from 2016/17 to 2021/22 broken down by MSc module and mode of assessment (e.g. unseen examination, oral presentation, MCQ etc), as well as information on student ethnicity, domicile, gender and mode of study (i.e. full-time, part-time, flexible study) – will allow us to conduct more detailed analyses and explore specific hypotheses.

In this project we will build on our work so far to explore patterns of admissions and awarding gap across a number of assessment types from an intersectional perspective including ethnicity, gender, domicile, and mode of study. We will identify where inequalities exist in order to design and implement evidence-based strategies to reduce them.

Fighting the BAME-BIPOC Awarding Gap in SELCS Through Reverse Mentoring

The “Tackling the BAME-BIPOC Awarding Gap Project” was launched in October 2022. The aim of this three-year, student-staff collaborative project is to address the “cold climate” in our classrooms that according to Tate (2019) is the leading cause of the BAME awarding gap at UK universities. This "cold climate" is the result of different factors such as micro racisms, lack of support for BAME students, “invisible” racism and stereotyping, which alienate students, thus negatively affecting their sense of belonging and making them more likely to drop out, and less likely to achieve 2:1 or 1.1 (First class) marks and to pursue postgraduate studies. From October 2022 until summer 2025, our student-staff collaborative project will explore a series of avenues in order to tackle the "cold climate" in the classroom from four angles:

- Student involvement: BAME-BIPOC student reps organise regular social meetings with BAME students, convey proposals and suggestions to lecturers, etc.

-Redevelopment of Translation modules in SPLAS to make them more diverse and conducive to eliminating the BAME awarding gap.

- Teacher training: offering expert-led workshops for SELCS lecturers.

- Support from peers and lecturers: establishing a student-staff support network, setting offices as safe spaces.

Ten student mentors from the Faculty of Arts & Humanities will be recruited, trained and matched with ten SELCS Lecturer mentees. 1-hour mentoring sessions will be organised every term. At the end of the academic year both mentors and mentees will fill in a questionnaire to determine the ways in which the programme has achieved its intended aims. The answers will be collated by one of the student mentors, who will act as rep, designing the questionnaire and producing a final report. To begin, this pilot will be carried out in SELCS, but it should be scalable and, in the future, extend to other UCL departments and Faculties.

Widening Access to Medical Sciences

The Widening Access to Medical Sciences is a UCL Faculty of Medical Sciences EDI Programme with formal endorsement from the Faculty Dean, Professor Mark Emberton OBE. The aim of the programme is to increase the representation of students from underprivileged and underrepresented backgrounds applying to the Faculty of Medical Sciences at UCL, and therefore, our target group are secondary school students from underprivileged schools. We believe that the programme meets the UCL Equity and Inclusion Plan 2020-21, which outlines that there is a faculty level responsibility to embed EDI into strategic planning and resourcing:

• We should “deliver an equitable and inclusive educational environment”.

• We should “empower everyone to advance equity and inclusion”.

• We should “take bold action to level-up opportunities”.

We recognise that successful individual programmes already exist within the faculty (e.g. Target Medicine for MBBS Medicine). The Widening Access to Medical Sciences Programme seeks to increase the number of applications to the other Undergraduate Faculty of Medical Sciences programmes (i.e. not medical school), as there is a large number of medically and science related programmes outside of medicine. We seek to increase the number of successful applications to university, and in particular, to the Faculty of Medical Sciences at UCL. Interventions in the first year will target those 6th formers studying at under privileged schools in London who meet a set eligibility criterion (many of whom will either live or study at a school in East London). We then hope to expand some aspects of the programme beyond London, but always targeting the most underprivileged schools with the greatest need. Students will be able to learn and explore more about other medically and science related BSc programmes outside of medicine. Often, these programmes are overlooked and often not considered, and these are all routes into offering a future medically or science related vocation.