EPSRC publishes EDI action plan

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EPSRC’s equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) action plan outlines the steps we will take to create a thriving, globally attractive research and innovation system.

It has been informed by engagement with groups and individuals from across the research and innovation sector, including inputs to our gender and race ‘have your say’ surveys.

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Executive Chair Professor Dame Lynn Gladden said:

Creating an inclusive and diverse environment ensures that we attract and support the widest possible group of people and achieve the best research outcomes for the UK.

Our action plan is the result of extensive engagement with our communities, whose ideas, approaches and experiences have shaped the way we will approach these challenges.

Working in partnership is key to achieving improved outcomes throughout the engineering and physical sciences system and we will continue to empower people in our communities to take action.

Addressing challenges

In prioritising actions based on where we can provide the greatest value, EPSRC commits to:

  • address challenges specific to our engineering and physical sciences research community and work with UK Research and Innovation colleagues where these are sector wide challenges
  • ensure fairness, accessibility and inclusivity in our activities and investments
  • develop new interventions, policies and practices to bring about change, evaluating their effectiveness along the way, taking into account the need to ensure efficiency and reduce bureaucracy
  • enable good diversity and inclusion practices in the activities we support, groups we convene and the research and doctoral education we fund
  • share our knowledge, learning and experiences while listening to and learning from others
  • work in partnership with others to advance good practices. Partnering in equitable ways by being open, transparent, accountable and participatory in our approaches

Actions include steps in the gender diversity in our portfolio and ethnicity and race inequity in our portfolio reports published earlier this year.

Short and medium-term priorities

The 3-year action plan outlines both short-term priorities for the next 1 to 2 years, and medium to longer-term priorities.

Short-term priorities include:

  • investigating barriers and challenges for researchers with disabilities to access and participate in an engineering and physical sciences research career
  • embedding inclusive practice in peer review, including working with panel members to strengthen fair and objective decision-making, creating the role of observers at panels and taking action to increase diversity of panel membership and our peer review college
  • establishing new partnerships for coordinated action, and new communities of practice
  • creating a funding opportunity for an EDI sharing hub to harness existing resources and EPSRC investments including our Inclusion Matters portfolio and our EDI expectations

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