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Building the evidence base

UKRI is committed to transforming research and innovation environments in order to ensure that they are safe, open and inclusive.

Two evidence reviews on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), carried out by Advance HE on our behalf, provide a picture of the key challenges and the effectiveness of different interventions and practices.

Key findings include:

  • most interventions focus on gender (or sex) equality or ‘general’ EDI, such as diversity training ​
  • most UK interventions focus on higher education and career progression, and changing working culture​
  • there is a lack of interventions in other areas, especially in innovation​ and non-STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) related areas
  • data collection practices for EDI vary, hampering robust analysis
  • there is wide variation in the way EDI activities are evaluated, meaning it is difficult to measure effectiveness
  • ​more consideration is needed to the design of funding calls, such as the timing of calls and interdisciplinarity.

The reviews find that successful interventions tend to:

  • involve collaboration across the organisation
  • have commitment from senior management
  • embed EDI awareness and initiatives within organisational culture.

View the UK review (PDF, 2MB) and the international review (PDF, 4MB).

Bullying and harassment

Another evidence review has informed our position statement on bullying and harassment (PDF, 981KB).

Bullying and harassment is detrimental to individual careers and experience. It also leads to loss of talent and expertise from the sector and is damaging to the wider culture and environment in research and innovation.

We now require organisations receiving grants from us to have measures in place to prevent and address bullying and harassment. As an employer we are following guidelines from Acas (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) and will expect organisations funded by us to follow suit or to mirror those standards.

Evidence review on bullying and harassment

The review by the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London, Bullying and harassment in research and innovation environments (PDF, 3.3MB), examines the wider evidence base.

Drawing on reports and workplace surveys, it reveals differing methodologies, unclear definitions and low reporting levels of bullying and harassment. However, even if we cannot accurately measure the scale of the problem, that does not deter us from working to eradicate bullying and harassment.

We will work collaboratively with our partners and other stakeholders to create interventions that are informed by evidence and can be effective.  The review recommends that we:

  • take a ‘whole institution’ approach by embedding activities across the organisation
  • secure visible commitment from senior leadership to tackle the issue
  • remove barriers to reporting by setting out clear processes and speedy disciplinary systems
  • implement a prevention strategy with codes of conduct and training programmes.

These recommendations have informed the framing of our position statement and forward plan.

Impact of COVID-19

We have responded to the Women and Equalities Committee parliamentary inquiry, ‘Unequal impact: COVID-19 and the impact on people with protected characteristics’.

View our response to the Women and Equalities Committee parliamentary inquiry (PDF, 168KB).

Last updated: 28 October 2020

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