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.

In October 2018 we announced the appointment of a new Director of Equality and Diversity, Janet Pierrehumbert.

"Our ethos is to value colleagues and students solely on the basis of their merits and provide opportunity and support for all"

Equality and Diversity in the University

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.

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 women chatting in front of a poster.

Women in Engineering network

The Women in Engineering (WiE) 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.


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. Recently Mechanical Technician Apprentice Lewis Burke was awarded Best Apprentice 16-18 at the High Sheriff of Oxfordshire Young Engineer Awards 2018.

As a long-serving member of this department, I am proud of the inclusive, collegial and welcoming environment that we foster, and that I am now privileged to champion - as Head of Department.

Professor Lionel Tarassenko, CBE FREng FMedSci FIET CEng, Head of Department