Research England appoints expert advisory group in EDI

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Research England has appointed its first equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) expert advisory group.

The expert advisory group will provide insight and perspective to support Research England in creating and sustaining the conditions for a healthy, dynamic, diverse and inclusive research and knowledge exchange system in English universities.

The initial focus of the group will be to support Research England with the development and implementation of an EDI action plan.

Providing strategic advice

The formation of the EDI Expert Advisory Group aligns with Research England’s broader commitment to EDI, as set out in the recently published strategic delivery plan, and the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) EDI strategy.

The group will provide constructive challenge for Research England and advice drawn from members extensive experience of initiatives in support of a more diverse and inclusive higher education sector.

They will provide strategic advice on the prioritisation of key EDI issues in building research capacity and opportunity as well as delivering research that is more inclusive and representative of the population, and provide external guidance on the evidence base.

They will also provide key insights with regard to evaluating the EDI impact of existing funding mechanisms and policies.

The group has been appointed for an initial term of July 2023 to December 2025.

High standard of applications

There was a high volume of interest in the open call for members; a total of 135 applications were received by the deadline.

All applications were of a high standard, from a range of committed and driven individuals with a breadth of expertise.

All applications were considered anonymously, and decision making was undertaken by a selection panel which was chaired by Dr Steven Hill, Director for Research at Research England.

The panel comprised Research England Council members, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon and Professor Graeme Reid.

On the appointments, Dr Hill said:

The strength and volume of applications for this call demonstrates the real drive towards a more diverse and inclusive higher education sector.

I am delighted with the outcomes of this recruitment call, and believe that we have appointed a membership with the knowledge and experience needed to support and guide Research England in its journey to become a more inclusive funder, employer and leader.

EDI expert advisory group members

The members of the EDI Expert Advisory Group are:

  • Dr Kamna Patel, University College London (Chair)
  • Dr Arun Verma, University of London (Deputy Chair)
  • Professor Dibyesh Anand, University of Westminster
  • Professor Ilaria Boncori, University of Essex
  • Professor Tara Dean, London South Bank University
  • Professor Stacy Johnson, University of Nottingham
  • Professor Kate Sang, Heriot Watt University
  • Jane Smith, Institute of Physics
  • Dr Louise Preston, The University of Sheffield
  • Rachel Van Krimpen, University of Nottingham
  • Dr Lexi Webster, University of Southampton

Newly appointed Chair of the group, Dr Kamna Patel said:

I am honoured to Chair the first EDI Expert Advisory Group and excited to work alongside Research England as they develop and implement their first EDI action plan and set a clear direction of travel.

As a group, we will work to support, challenge and spark new ideas with Research England colleagues to change the research and knowledge exchange landscape in England to better serve people at its margins, as this is key to unlocking new knowledges to tackle pressing and future challenges.

Exciting opportunity

Professor Dame Jessica Corner, Executive Chair of Research England said:

Research England is committed to using its funding to empower universities to create the internal conditions and environments that best develop people and teams, by fostering the development of early-career research talent, promoting equality, diversity, and inclusion, and broadening the skill set of the next generation.

The appointment of the EDI Expert Advisory Group presents an exciting opportunity for us to receive the expertise, insight and challenge required to help define a set of ambitious actions which will enable us to meet those objectives.

Further information

Research England’s strategic delivery plan can be read here: Research England strategic delivery plan

The UKRI EDI strategy can be read here: UKRI’s EDI strategy

For information on EDI action plans developed by other councils, please visit this page: EDI strategy and action plans

Further information on the EDI Expert Advisory Group, and other related EDI activity undertaken at Research England, will be available on the Research England web pages in due course.

For further information please contact us at

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