Bullying and harassment

In a world-class research and innovation sector there is no place for bullying and harassment – of staff or of students – from any source.

Our vision is for an environment in which everyone is encouraged to contribute on the basis of their talent and skills, and where the wellbeing of staff and students is nurtured and promoted as a priority.

The role of UKRI

As the UK’s largest funder of research and innovation, UKRI can – and will – play a significant role in preventing bullying and harassment. We will do this by working closely with our partners and with research organisations and universities.

In 2019, we commissioned an evidence review (PDF, 3MB) to inform our approach to preventing bullying and harassment in the research and innovation sector. The review looked at the challenges and analysed the most effective approaches to address the issue.

We used these findings to inform our bullying and harassment position statement (PDF, 981KB) which set out our expectations of the organisations that we fund and the support we will provide to help drive culture change.

In May 2020, we published our policy on Preventing harm (safeguarding) in research and innovation (PDF, 8MB) which outlines the wider expectations UKRI has for protecting all those involved in research funded by us and also lists the actions we may take when incidents arise.

In November 2020 we clarified our expectations on organisations in terms of mitigating against bullying and harassment in our full economic cost (fEC) grant and training grant terms and conditions.

In November 2020 we also launched the Forum for Tackling Bullying and Harassment in Research and Innovation alongside partners from across funding, policy and regulatory organisations.

Our main activities

We continue to work collaboratively on developing measures that promote and support an inclusive, respectful and safe culture.

Our priority areas include:

  • improving awareness in research and innovation of bullying and harassment, its impacts and how it can be prevented
  • addressing the barriers that prevent reporting and improving data collection to better understand and monitor the problem across the sector
  • working with other funders and regulators to coordinate policies and minimise administrative burdens
  • developing resources and tools to support the evidence-based prevention and response strategies and training offerings such as bystander/upstander interventions.

The report ‘Research integrity: a landscape study’ (PDF, 5MB) highlights the perceived impact of bullying and harassment on the quality and integrity of research. Within UKRI, we will work with the new research integrity committee and across the organisation on developing the tools and processes that address the issues highlighted in the report.

By working with national and international partners through a new forum, we will join up policies and resources so that we can help speed up culture change across the research and innovation sector.

Key resources

Get in touch

For enquiries about our work in preventing bullying and harassment, contact us on: equality@ukri.org

Last updated: 28 January 2021

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