A new award designed to help talented Black, Bangladeshi, Pakistani and mixed heritage students enhance their Oxford experience has been announced. The award, which will be open to UK undergraduates from low-income households, has been made possible by a gift from the Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation.

Launching in Trinity term, the Dr Miranda Brawn Award will enable recipients to undertake career development projects during the summer vacation. Students who receive the award will have the chance to enjoy activities or experiences that are not covered through other college or University financial support programmes. This could include, for example, making a short film or starting a social enterprise.

The Oxford skyline. Photo by Greg Smolonski / Oxford University Images

Recipients of the award will also have access to the resources of the Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation, including one-to-one mentoring sessions with founder, award-winning businesswoman and diversity advocate Dr Miranda Brawn.

Dr Brawn said: ‘I have been a diversity, equity and inclusion leader for over two decades, working across many different sectors. This has ranged from the student and graduate levels all the way up to the c-suite and boardroom, and includes launching the UK's first Black Women on Boards initiative through the Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation.

‘The Dr Miranda Brawn Award aims to inspire, educate and empower our next generation of diverse leaders from the Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Black African, Caribbean and mixed heritage communities by supporting them to study at the number one university in the world. The end goal is to support their educational and career dreams in order to have more c-suite leaders, CEOs, board directors and business owners from these specific communities. This is one of the most important investments that can be made right now to help our next generation, our economy and our future.’

Oxford is committed to widening participation in higher education and to building an inclusive and diverse university environment. However, despite significant progress in recent years, Black, Bangladeshi, Pakistani and mixed heritage undergraduate students from the UK are underrepresented at Oxford. The Dr Miranda Brawn Award will further advance the University’s work in this important area by empowering these gifted students to thrive during their studies, as well as build networks and self-confidence that will enhance their future careers.

The award will be managed and administered annually over a period of five years by the Oxford University Careers Service. In order to prioritise funds for those from low-income households, it will be open to students who are Crankstart Scholars or Oxford Bursary recipients.

Dr Fiona Whitehouse, Head of the Internship Office at the Careers Service, said: ‘Taking part in extra-curricular activities can be so valuable to students during their time at university, helping them to grow in confidence and develop new skills alongside their studies. I’m therefore delighted that Dr Miranda Brawn has chosen to establish this award at Oxford, and give talented students here access to opportunities they might not otherwise have had. I can’t wait to see what those selected for the award decide to use it for and the positive impact it will no doubt have on their Oxford experience.’

Dr Miranda Brawn

Dr Miranda Brawn has had a successful career as a lawyer, investment banker and hedge fund sales trader, and was one of the first women of colour on London’s trading floor. She founded the Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation in 2016 to help empower, educate and support the next generation of diverse student leaders.

‘The Dr Miranda Brawn Award is in loving memory of the great women in my family: my late great-granny Philomena and late granny Victoria, both born in Dominica, and my late grandmother Maryam, born in India, who all stressed the importance of a great education, which was re-emphasised by my parents while growing up,’ added Dr Brawn. ‘The award is very personal to me as it represents part of my own mixed heritage. I am looking forward to having the winners be part of the Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation family. Education is key to creating positive change in the world and the Dr Miranda Brawn Award at the University of Oxford will play its role with this important goal.’