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Oxford University Sessions for Mathematicians Seeking Sanctuary

This World Maths Day, The University of Oxford share a new initiative for mathematicians with sanctuary seeking background.

A group of mathematicians at Oxford University are helping students with a background in maths, and academics seeking refuge overcome isolation and feel part of a community.

Communities seeking sanctuary face barriers and lack of guidance in wanting to stay connected with their field of study or expertise, often made more difficult by not having access to student finance or employment. Learning about the research and job market in a completely new system without support often leads to feeling stuck in personal and intellectual limbo. Recognising these barriers, professors in Maths at Oxford started informal online sessions lead by Dr David Levy in partnership with Asylum Welcome, UoS and CARA  for mathematically qualified or maths-literate refugees and asylum seekers in the Oxford area.

What was covered

Professors Pete GrindrodIan Griffiths and Sam Cohen covered a range of mathematical research fields, and some specifics of how people seeking refuge might pursue maths-based careers in the UK, including in data science and statistics, different industry sectors, education, and teaching. The first national session was held on 28th February with two more to follow in the Summer. In February they covered topics such as “Opportunities for maths based scientists with UK Corporates”, “Resources to learn about Data Science” and “Industrial applications of Maths Skills”. Based on the feedback from participants, there is real interest and demand. Although the first online sessions were for people in Oxford, they are now calling on people to spread the word, and connect suitable mathematicians to these sessions, wherever they may be in the UK.   

How to sign up?

If you are a refugee, asylum seeker or academic seeking refuge with a good proficiency (upper intermediate) in conversational English and a maths, or maths-related degree including subjects such as physics, engineering, statistics or computer science, and would like to attend these sessions, please e-mail [email protected]  They will then ask you to fill in a short form with a view to registering you for future sessions. This initiative built on work elsewhere in Oxford to support asylum seekers and refugees, and in particular Mansfield and Somerville Colleges becoming University Colleges of Sanctuary. Read the Mathematical Institutue article here. You can watch those involved in the scheme talk about its start, progress and possibilities in this video. If you want to know more or get involved, please email:  [email protected]