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Clifford Chance launches Oxford Uni tech bursaries

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Aims to encourage greater diversity on computer science course

Clifford Chance today announced the launch of a new bursary scheme to encourage greater diversity among those studying computer science at Oxford University.

The magic circle firm has teamed up with Hertford College, Oxford, to support students from underrepresented backgrounds to pursue careers within the technology sector, and in doing so, help “reduce the tech bias and prejudice” that led to this summer’s A-Level algorithm debacle.

The firm — which in 2018 launched a training contract specifically geared towards tech-savvy students — says it will provide three means-tested bursaries for undergraduate students to study computer science at the prestigious Oxford college. The inaugural trio of students commence their studies this year.

“Leaders in computer science have not traditionally reflected the societies they work within”, according to the firm, and the “social inequalities that technology can create or perpetuate without meaningful intervention is becoming clearer every day”.

Clifford Chance also confirmed it is part funding the research of author and data ethicist, Dr Carissa Véliz, who this month joined the academic team of Oxford’s newly formed Ethics in AI Institute. Véliz’s research explores the positive and negative implications of artificial intelligence (AI) for society as well as issues such as digital ethics.

Jonathan Kewley, partner and co-head of the tech group at Clifford Chance, commented:

“Ethics in tech can’t just be an aim, it requires positive action from each of us. This has to start with education. It is vital that those studying and teaching computer science represent the views and experiences of the society we live in. Through providing bursaries for underrepresented and less privileged students to study computer science, we aim to help ensure that the best candidates are placed at the core of tech development and research.”

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He continued: “This is about democratising tech education and ensuring it works for all our communities. Not just a privileged sub-section. This is a bold step which we hope will set a standard for our industry.”

Clifford Chance has a well-established relationship with all things tech. In 2018 it launched a tech-focused internship for some of its future trainees, teaming up with London start-up Lexoo. Around the same time, it created a ‘Tech Academy’ to help its lawyers gain a better understanding of topics including coding, AI and blockchain. Last year, Legal Cheek reported it had been teaching all its trainees how to produce mobile and web apps.

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9 Comments

Truth

Hahah, they don’t even want law students anymore. Don’t study a useless humanities degree folks. I wish I hadn’t.

(15)(8)

Anonymous

“Underrepresented backgrounds”. Pathetic. Since when did we stop wanting to help the best and instead focused on the best excuse?

(11)(15)

Anon

Since … a long time ago. It’s a bursary (definition: a grant, especially one awarded to someone to enable them to study at university or college), which is not a new concept.

(13)(1)

Anonymous

We don’t need any more pathetic virtue signalling. Oxford has already sold out quality for tick box headlines and targets.

(4)(28)

Anon

I sense there are a lot of bitter rich whites on this site who couldn’t get into Oxbridge, now blaming it on diversity.

Sometimes, you are just not good enough. The idea that people discriminate against white men is hilarious to anyone actually teaching or in any profession.

(27)(6)

Anonymous

Anon, watch those assumptions. I’ve an Oxbridge first, and I agree with the posts. The data are consistently now showing the group most discriminated against in education is working class white men, but they are hung out to dry by the likes of you.

Anon

@Anonymous

The reference to “rich” was there for a reason. I am well aware of the social mobility problems affecting people of all races, having worked in numerous charities across the country and actually done a lot more to help working class whites than many of their purported champions. So I suggest checking your own assumptions before saying “the likes of you”.

And judging by the private school versus state school debate a few articles ago, I don’t think the commentators on this site are generally champions of working class white people, whatever your personal views.

The well-documented social mobility issues affecting working class white people does not mean it is okay to refer to BAME students as a “sell-off” in quality as some posts do. It is actually quite racist and disturbing.

AnonQ

Anon, don’t use crass statements like “a lot of bitter rich whites” and then try to claim the moral high ground. You sound quite racist and disturbing.

The Maverick

Is this virtue signalling? These guys want Oxford grads in computer science, could accelerate their own demise.

(7)(3)

Comments are closed.

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