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Equality and Diversity at The Department of Engineering Science

Equality and Diversity in Engineering

We aim to provide a supportive and inspiring environment for people to work and study at the Department, by valuing our diverse workforce and promoting equality throughout the department.

Professor Ronald A. Roy, Head of Department

We believe that a diverse community in which all feel comfortable and empowered to engage, results in better dialogue, better scholarship, and better outcomes for all.

Statement from Head of Department, Professor Ronald A. Roy, on anti-racism


The Department of Engineering Science is fully supportive of the University's position on anti-racism and is committed to advancing these objectives.

As a community of scholars, we stand in support of those BAME communities who confront the day-to-day realities of inequality, discrimination and racism. We believe that a diverse community in which all feel comfortable and empowered to engage, results in better dialogue, better scholarship, and better outcomes for all. We stand for equity and inclusion across the spectrum.

I acknowledge there are certainly areas in which we as a department should improve, most notably the balance among the ranks of academics and improved access for prospective students with BAME backgrounds.


We also need to assess and improve how we support BAME staff and students once they are in post.

To help guide us, the Department has established an Equality & Diversity Committee to take stock of our position and help formulate actions to take us forward.  

It is my hope as Head of Department that we can catalyze a process leading to a more balanced and equable space in which we can all work and learn. This is clearly an aspiration whose fulfillment is long overdue.

June 2020

ED&I Fellow: Sierra Sparks

Divisional Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) Fellows work with the Maths, Physics & Life Sciences Division to champion ED&I for the Division.

Sierra is a DPhil student in biomedical engineering. She has been involved in several ED&I advocacy and outreach initiatives that aim to promote the recruitment and retention of equity-deserving groups in STEM. She is passionate about increasing the number of gender minorities and other underrepresented demographics in STEM, which she believes is something that inherently strengthens these professions and research – diversity allows for new perspectives and ideas to fuel innovative research. Sierra is excited for the opportunity to work as an ED&I Fellow to create more inclusive and accessible spaces.

Two engineers chatting in front of a poster.

Women in Engineering network

The Women in Engineering network was established in the Department of Engineering Science in 2012 for postdoctoral research assistants, postgraduate students, undergraduate students and other academic staff. Over the past 6 years, it has evolved into a dynamic, supportive community of female engineers across many disciplines and career stages. Each year with the support of the Department’s Events Team the network puts on a series of events, talks and lectures, and organises a celebration of International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) in June.


Athena SWAN logo

Athena SWAN and WISE

The Department of Engineering Science has been awarded a bronze award from Athena SWAN each year since 2012. This award recognises the Department's commitment to the Athena SWAN goal of advancing women’s careers in STEMM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine).

The Department is also a corporate member of WISE – an organisation helping to promote female talent in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Two girls building a small tower shape project.

Outreach activities

The Department is committed to supporting access to education and careers in Engineering at Oxford for a diverse student and staff body. We take part in initiatives such as Headstart, a residential course for sixth formers with practical challenges, demonstrations, tours of laboratories and team projects, and UNIQ, a summer school for state school and college students who attend lectures and labs, are taught by Oxford academics and use departmental facilities. We also run regular non-residential events for secondary school students to meet engineers and learn about studying at Oxford. Around International Women in Engineering Day in June, for example, we invite young women to visit the department to participate in workshops and meet students and academics in the engineering community.

Two men posing at an awards ceremony.


The University is committed to providing exciting and life-changing apprenticeships, where apprentices of all ages train alongside experienced staff, developing their professional skills whilst growing the university’s workforce talent. The Department has supported apprentices through Business Administration, IT, Mechanical Engineering and Maintenance qualifications. 

University networks and groups

There are many Oxford networks relating to Equality and Diversity, including the BME Staff Network and an active LGBT+ network, both of which hold meetings throughout the year, social and work related, for staff and post-graduates.

The University's Equality and Diversity Unit supports the University’s commitment 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

Oxford University has also recently been named as one of the UK's most inclusive employers for LGBT staff by the charity Stonewall.