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Oxford University is to collaborate with Formula 1 on a new scholarship to support talented undergraduate engineers from under-represented backgrounds into careers in the motorsports industry.
The initiative was announced by Formula 1 as part of #WeRaceAsOne, their pledge to increase diversity and inclusion in the motorsports industry. First revealed last year in response to evidence of significant under-representation of certain groups in the field, Formula 1 committed to focusing specifically on creating employment and education opportunities for under-represented groups with a personal contribution of $1 million from Non-Executive Chairman Chase Carey to finance primarily, but not exclusively, engineering-focused scholarships for under-represented students.
Oxford is one of six universities, alongside Cambridge University, Coventry University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Strathclyde University and MUNER Motor Vehicle University in Italy, which will benefit from the Formula 1 Engineering Scholarship. The participating universities represent different regions within the UK and Italy, and each will run an independent selection process to determine the scholarship recipients.
The programme will support ten undergraduate students from under-represented groups each year (two of whom will be at Oxford University) including those of ethnic minority, all genders and from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Each scholarship will provide the full cost of a student’s tuition, together with a living stipend and work experience opportunities with any of the ten Formula 1 teams, with a focus on mechanical engineering.
The first scholars to participate in the programme will be part of the forthcoming 2021–22 academic year of undergraduate student intake in the UK and at master’s (postgraduate) level in Italy.
Professor Martin Williams, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education at Oxford University, said: ‘The University is thrilled to be working with Formula 1 on such an important initiative. Inclusion and diversity are part of the life-blood of any thriving society, industry or university. This collaboration will enable significant strides in opportunity and representation in both STEM subjects and the motorsports industry and will hopefully contribute to lasting positive change.’
Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO of Formula 1, said: ‘Formula 1 is a global sport with fans across the world. We want to be as diverse as our fan base and that is why we are taking action to ensure talented people from underrepresented groups have the best opportunities to get into, and build, a fantastic career in this amazing sport. I am delighted to announce that scholars, apprentices and interns will get the chance to fulfil their dreams in Formula 1 and I know they have amazing futures ahead of them. I want to pay particular thanks to Chase whose generous donation is funding the ten scholarships.
‘Our #WeRaceAsOne platform is our commitment to make real change and shows our recognition that we know we must make a positive contribution to the world we live in. All of the teams are committed to this and the work of the Hamilton Commission shows the dedication to addressing these issues across Formula 1. Our focus is on Diversity & Inclusion, Sustainability and Community and we will continue to drive forward with our plans to be more diverse, more sustainable and leave a lasting positive impact on the countries and communities we visit. We know we must continue to move forward on these issues and the whole sport is united in doing this in the months and years ahead.’