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The 2023 Social Inclusion Staff Award winner is... Rebecca Vipond!

June 2023


At our annual Inclusion Conference we presented the Social Inclusion Staff Award to recognise staff contributions to celebrating diversity, supporting an inclusive culture, and demonstrating leadership in social inclusion.

Thank you to everyone who nominated a colleague, team, or project for the award, we had some really great submissions, and it is clear a lot of good work is being done on social inclusion across the University.

At the opening of the conference Beccy Freeman (Dean of Students) announced our shortlisted nominations and shared the great work they've been doing on social inclusion at Warwick. Throughout the day, conference attendees had the chance to vote for who they wanted to win. At the close of the conference, Kulbir Shergill (Director of Social Inclusion) announced the winner of the Social Inclusion Staff Award 2022 - Rebecca Vipond.

Rebecca was recognised for going above and beyond to ensure students from all backgrounds can study at Warwick. Specifically, a young person was accepted on to a PhD and won a Warwick scholarship, but due to their lower economic status and unforeseen economic disruption in their home country, they could no longer afford relocation costs. Rebecca advocated for the student to receive financial support from the University to cover this. The process was beset by challenges but Rebecca did not give up, even when advised that it couldn't be done. Because of her determination to find a solution the student is now at Warwick, having started their PhD last month.

Photo: Our 2023 award winner, Rebecca Vipond (CDT and PG Scholarships Coordination Manager).

Commenting on receiving the award, Rebecca said:

“Thank you so much, what an honour to be recognised! All I did was try to do what I can, and this was very much a team effort. With thanks to my colleagues in the Doctoral College, Financial Control, and the School of Engineering for working tirelessly together to get this resolved. Beyond helping this very deserving postgraduate researcher, we have now launched a small pilot to support other PGR scholarship holders who otherwise could not come to Warwick due to the cost of immigration to the UK."

Congratulations and well done, Rebecca!

Runners up

As our Dean of Students, Beccy Freeman, said at the conference, we had so many great nominations all of whom deserve recognition. Our fantastic runners up are:

Craig Carnegie

Craig was nominated for his work to support and create employability programmes for young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds in WMG. Craig hosted five young people for EY Foundation and Nuffield Research Work Placements for work experience programmes. These experiences led him to create a team in WMG to expand the support for employability programmes and run a series of related workshops for WMG colleagues (supported by a successful Enhancing Research Culture funding bid). The team have now been able to host a further 10 young people, and Craig plans to apply for further funding to continue this work.

Opening Up the Black Box of Pre-Application Doctoral Communications

Colleagues in Education Studies (James Burford, Emily Henderson, Sophia Kier-Byfield, Dangeni, and Ahmad Akkad) were nominated for their project to centre inclusion in the informal communications that take place between potential doctoral applicants and university staff. Differences in these communications can lead to unequal access to doctoral study. The project team produced open access briefings for best practice, shared recommendations which have been adopted as institutional guidelines, and shared this learning beyond Warwick at sector workshops (supported by a successful Enhancing Research Culture funding bid).


Paul Strøm and Heather Cegla were nominated for the Warwick Astronomy and Astrophysics Knowledge Exchange, designed to diversify the recruitment of under-represented groups in astronomy. Eight participants from countries across the world were invited to attend and present at the biggest UK astronomy conference and attend a 2 week fully financially supported knowledge programme developed by staff and students at Warwick. Supporting the programme galvanised Warwick students to take leadership and gave them confidence and experience in giving workshops and teaching. In addition, Warwick students and staff from under-represented groups were also given opportunities for knowledge exchange (e.g., attending conferences or visiting collaborating institutes).

David Woodbourne

David was nominated for the support he provided to a member of his team and encouraging the wider team to expand their knowledge of inclusion. David is a role model for how good line management should look. He provided thoughtful and responsive support to a staff member with Asperger's, easing and welcoming the colleague into the team. In addition, when a staff member came out as non-binary, David supported them to share this with the wider team and encouraged colleagues to complete relevant training and update their email signatures to include pronouns. Colleagues nominating David felt that this demonstrates his commitment to incorporating diversity into the team and fostering a culture of inclusion.