ESRC policies and standards

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Equality, diversity and inclusion

ESRC is committed to the values of equality, diversity and inclusion. As part of UKRI, we will work to promote an inclusive research community where diverse talent is valued and supported by:

  • embedding equality, diversity and inclusion in all we do
  • identifying and tackling bias in our systems, processes, behaviours, and culture
  • working with the social science research community to create inclusive research cultures.

More information on UKRI’s work in relation to equality, diversity and inclusion.

Our work

ESRC is committed to developing a long-term plan of action for EDI. The following tables summarise our current EDI activity, together with our initial 12-month plan which is intended to set a foundation for ESRC’s future EDI work.

Current and ongoing activities

Activity Objective
Equality, Impact assessments (EIAs) carried out for new activity.  EIA training for all staff. Safeguard against discrimination in our activities, events, policies, and processes
Internal EDI working group with responsibility for developing our approach to EDI. Engaging on and leading the development and delivery of our initial and long-term action plan
Working with central UKRI teams and other research councils on specific EDI focussed task and finish group activities Ensure a joined-up approach to EDI across all UKRI councils, sharing learning and building good practice.
Consulting and working with ESRC Doctoral Training investments to embed best EDI practice in the recruitment of doctoral students and the delivery of doctoral training. Diversify recruitment to our doctoral training schemes and ensure they provide an inclusive environment for students.

Actions to be completed by end of March 2022

Activity Objective
Undertake a disciplinary level analysis of the EDI characteristics of applicants and awardees, identifying and describing valid comparator populations of potential applicants and members.

Analyse the EDI characteristics of our decision and advisory bodies.

To be published annually for transparency and as a resource for the wider social science community.

To develop a more detailed understanding of the EDI characteristics of our applicants and awardees, and decision and advisory bodies to inform our work (this will build of the published UKRI EDI data).
Review the recruitment processes for our decision and advisory bodies and develop best practice guidance. To make our governance and advisory structures, standing networks and panels more inclusive and representative.
Launch an undergraduate research placement scheme for under-presented groups with our Doctoral Training Partnerships. To diversify recruitment to our doctoral training schemes.
Identify how we can effectively work with our communities to promote EDI. It is anticipated that this will include work with Learned Societies. To work with our communities to build a community of practice that enables EDI.
Scope a programme of activity to support:

  • employee engagement on EDI
  • access to development of toolkits and learning resources
  • integration of EDI into all management practices and ESRC systems and processes
  • an inclusive organisational culture so that ESRC is a great place to work, for everyone.
Developing staff understanding and capability relating to EDI and foster an inclusive organisational culture where everyone can contribute and participate and feels valued and respected.

Partnership the with Academy for Social Sciences – November 2021

The ESRC is delighted to announce a partnership with the Academy for Social Science on Equality, Diversity Inclusion.

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Academy of Social Sciences (AcSS) have identified Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) as a priority area and this partnership demonstrates the importance of working closely with our social science communities at the disciplinary level. By working together with the AcSS member social science societies, we can share resources, learning and maximise the potential to effect real and positive change.

The AcSS and the member social science societies play an important role in developing the pipeline of researchers, they support and champion EDI within their disciplines and help engage the broader community. A working group of 14 Academy member societies and representatives from the ESRC will work to identify and address gaps in the data; for example, in relation to understanding the pipeline and on socio-economic background, share best practices and implement positive interventions.

Diversity data for all seven research councils

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has published its first set of harmonised diversity data for all seven research councils for the past five academic years. This data will continue to be published annually, replacing the previously published individual datasets.

The dataset contains data on four protected characteristics (sex, age, ethnicity, disability) for:

  • Principal Investigator (PI) and Co-Investigator grant applicants and awardees
  • Fellowship applicants and awardees
  • PhD studentship starts.

Find out more and access the data.


Dr Jo Duffy
Telephone: 07899 960891

Last updated: 20 September 2022

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