Return of Breaking Barriers Scholarship

Scholars Programme

Diversity of thought, experience, ideas and people will result in an agricultural industry that is rich and dynamic – but we must ensure that there are spaces and environments created for people to be themselves and feel heard.

That’s why the Oxford Farming Conference (OFC) is delighted to announce the return of the Breaking Barriers Scholarship in partnership with McDonald’s UK, offering two individuals the opportunity to attend the Oxford Farming Conference Scholars’ Programme 2022.

The scholarship, which launched last year, looks to support diversity and inclusion within the agricultural industry by offering two candidates who reflect a broad diversity of backgrounds, geographies and academic experiences, or who come from outside of the agri-food sector but are keen to enter it, the opportunity to participate in this prestigious programme. Candidates are not required to have any previous qualifications or to be working in the industry, aged between 22 and 30 years of age and not previously attended the conference.

The Oxford Farming Conference Scholars’ Programme will adapt a hybrid model for 2022 with an opportunity to attend the live conference in January 2022, as well as access a series of online bespoke upskilling webinars that will be made exclusively available to the Scholars.

The Breaking Barriers Scholars will have access to:

  • Introductory informal webinar to meet and greet 2022 Scholar cohort in September 2021.
  • Half-day in-person (COVID-19 dependent) event in October 2021 in collaboration with McDonald’s. The agenda will include: a McDonald’s presentation with one of their partners with a focus on biodiversity; a McDonald's franchise tour; an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion workshop; and networking session.
  • An online interactive webinar in November 2021 covering multimedia training
  • Online webinar in December 2021 covering innovation landscape.
  • In-person training on 5th January 2022 covering leadership, group work, motivation and thinking on your feet.
  • A conference group task focused on the ‘The Future of Farming’
  • ‘Leadership Pathway’ mixer event on Thursday 6th January.
  • Presentation of conference group task ‘The Future of Farming’ results on Friday 7th to a panel of industry experts.
  • OFC Bitesize.
  • Full attendance at the Oxford Farming Conference in January 2022.

OFC Director and International Business Development Manager for UK AgriTech centre, Crop Health and Protection (CHAP), Dr Jenna Ross, is chairing this year’s OFC Scholars’ Programme:

“I am absolutely thrilled that the Breaking Barriers Scholarship will be returning to the Oxford Farming Conference 2022. This scholarship provides an amazing opportunity for enthusiastic and passionate young individuals, from a wide range of diverse backgrounds, geographies and academic experiences, to attend the conference as part of the OFC Scholar programme. This year is particularly exciting as we are launching a new upskilling element to the programme, which complements the peer-to-peer networking.  I firmly believe that the new and exciting changes to the January 2022 scholars programme provide an excellent opportunity for Scholars to experience the UK’s leading agricultural conference while gaining valuable skills”.

Over the last nine years, the OFC Scholar programme, sponsored by McDonald’s, has supported over 400 scholars, through networking, workshops, and events.

Harriet Wilson, Agriculture Manager at McDonald’s UK & Ireland, said:

“At McDonald’s, we firmly believe that diversity and inclusion is absolutely paramount, which is why we launched the Breaking Barriers Scholarship last year.

“Following the positive response, we’re delighted to announce the return of it in 2022, and provide further opportunities for candidates from non-agri and diverse backgrounds to attend the Oxford Farming Conference. We hope the Scholarship continues to inspire candidates from any background to consider a future career in the industry.”

Applicants are asked to submit a 30 second video of why they should be chosen for this prestigious scholarship. Application deadline for the Breaking Barriers Scholarship is the 17th September 2021 and submissions should be sent to: