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December EDI update

December EDI update

By Karen Salt, Acting Deputy Director for Research Culture and Environment, UKRI

As the largest public funder of research and innovation, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) must use its leverage and its reach to ensure that our environments where we produce this work is inclusive, open and diverse. We realise that to achieve this, we have to examine our own processes and procedures and hold ourselves to account. We must also listen to advocates, thought leaders, institutions, specialists and Government and find ways to work collaboratively and effectively to enact change.  

To ensure we develop actions that deliver real impact, we commissioned two evidence reviews on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. These reviews, conducted for us by Advance HE, provide a rapid snapshot of the key challenges regarding EDI in the UK and internationally and an assessment of the interventions in this space and their effectiveness.

What emerges from both reviews is that there are clear limitations of existing research and evidence, and a strong need for more rigorous evaluation of interventions. We have a much clearer picture of the evidence base that supports certain interventions and areas where we will need to develop research – including experimenting, trialling or piloting new initiatives or activities.

These findings have informed the development of our vision and framework for embedding equality, diversity and inclusion in all that we do and will continue to shape our approach as we launch our five-year plan in early 2020.

Alongside our vision document, we will in early 2020 publish the first set of consolidated application success rate diversity data by council, our staff diversity data, and later in spring 2020 our latest Gender Pay Gap Report.

We see the publication of this material as more than just our public sector duty. Sharing our information and making it accessible allows us to continue to engage our stakeholders, employees and partners in a fully transparent manner. It also means that we can continue to share progress – where possible – and assess where we may need to adjust our strategies going forward.

As we start implementing our plans, we will continue to work closely with our External Advisory Group which has been integral to helping us develop our approach and focus on early priority areas.  With the help of their invaluable counsel we have been able to focus on early priorities, such as publishing our Bullying and Harassment Position Statement; developing an approach to UKRI EDI data collection and analysis; and advising on compliance and implementation of the International Gender Equality Act.

We recognise that as a relatively new organisation we are on a journey and that we do not work in isolation. Throughout 2020, we will travel across and outside the UK to listen, work with, learn from and exchange with you – our research and innovation community. We look forward to updating you on our conversations and our progress over the coming months.