The government’s research and development people and culture strategy 2021 (PDF, 446KB) sets out the importance of growing and diversifying the research and development (R&D) workforce to achieve the UK’s target of spending 2.4% of GDP on R&D by 2027.
This involves recruiting and retaining talent of all backgrounds, ages, and career stages.
Offering an inclusive and welcoming research culture is essential, ensuring that a diversity of people and ideas can thrive in a dynamic, productive and sustainable research and innovation system.
As major public funders of research and innovation (R&I), UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) research councils, Innovate UK, and the British Academy have a responsibility to ensure a thriving and diverse R&I system, now and in the future.
This includes funding and mobilising high quality research evidence on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) that informs policy and practice.
The idea for the EDI caucus is inspired by ESRC’s what works portfolio. This is aimed at synthesising and translating research evidence into relevant and actionable guidance for decision makers as well as generating applied research that addresses evidence gaps.
The proposed model is based on the Innovation Caucus, funded by ESRC and Innovate UK, which supports innovation-led growth by providing research evidence on the theory, policy and practice of innovation and innovation support.
Applicants may wish to consult existing statements on funders’ approach to EDI in the UKRI draft EDI strategy, the Innovate UK plan for action for UK business innovation (PDF, 7.3MB) and the British Academy’s EDI homepage.
Existing UKRI work and data in relation to EDI can be accessed via the UKRI EDI web portal and individual research council pages:
The leadership team will be expected to engage with the funding partners via an oversight group, that will include representatives from UKRI and the British Academy.
Through this platform, funders will be involved in the management and co-design of activities and engage as users of outputs and beneficiaries of outcomes.
The caucus leadership team will also be supported by an advisory group made up of academics, practitioners, and representatives from the R&I sector.
Appropriate and transparent decision-making processes should be put in place for the award of devolved funding to caucus members (through the commissioning fund).
Support from the host research organisation will be essential in ensuring the devolved budget is appropriately administered, as such UKRI will require a named senior contact supporting the application.
Key performance indicators
Funders will work with the EDI caucus to put in place key performance indicators and a methodology for evaluation and tracking impact over time.
Initial suggestions for both key performance indicators and metrics should be included in the proposal.
The EDI caucus will be a key part of UKRI’s and the British Academy’s portfolio of managed research investments.
In addition to regular contact with the funders, the leadership team will be expected to participate in meetings that allow us to monitor the progress of the project.
We anticipate that opportunities to secure funding for additional projects may arise on an ad hoc basis over the duration of the programme in response to needs and priorities identified by the funders or other UKRI research councils and the UKRI corporate hub.
These will be funded separately through the grant should they arise and should the leadership team wish to pursue these opportunities.
Intellectual property, publication and non-disclosure
All new research supported by this investment will be subject to the usual UKRI terms and conditions for research grants with respect to intellectual property and publication.
However, to enable close working relationships between the leadership team, UKRI and the British Academy, it may be necessary to put a non-disclosure agreement in place between the funders and the leadership team to enable access to data and internal meetings that would support the aims of the caucus.
Such an arrangement is modelled on the Innovation Caucus funded by ESRC and Innovate UK.
The network is expected to comply with the ESRC framework for research ethics and to ensure that awards of devolved funding made to network members also comply.
UKRI and the British Academy will not support funding for a project if it believes that there are ethical concerns that have been overlooked or not appropriately accounted for.
All relevant parts of the ethical information section of the Je-S form must be completed.
Je-S guidance (PDF, 345KB)
Equality impact assessment (PDF, 236KB)