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Take PRIDE in research and innovation

Promoting equality, diversity and inclusion is at the heart of our vision at UKRI. Through our ‘Take PRIDE in research and innovation’ campaign we are showing our support of LGBTQ+ Pride, both in our organisation and across the wider UK research and innovation sector.

The value and significance of the LGBTQ+ community to research and innovation cannot be overlooked. We recognise that representation and visibility is an essential part of equality, diversity and inclusion.

Our campaign has been fundamentally about highlighting stories.

We have heard a broad range of perspectives from the UKRI LGBTQ+ community and we have been humbled by the willingness of our colleagues to participate, share and engage in our campaign. Their openness in sharing both their challenges and successes has been an inspiration too.

Through these discussions we have gained valuable insight into the LGBTQ+ community at UKRI.

We take Pride in research and innovation. Below are some initial perspectives.

Our discussion podcast

Dr Phil Carvil hosted a panel discussion with Dr Izzy Jayasinghe, Harsh Pershad and Professor Tom Welton. The panellists shared their own stories and discussed the importance of LGBTQ+ role models and being able to bring your whole self to work, the challenges they witness, and the value of diverse teams in research and innovation.

UKRI: Take Pride in research and innovation – discussion podcast

Take PRIDE in research and innovation

Contributors from across UKRI spoke about the importance of being able to bring your whole self to work. The discussion touched on the progress of LGBTQ+ equality and representation in the research and innovation sector, and the importance of diversity in research and innovation teams.

With thanks to all our contributors: Alan Cross, Josh Newman, Izzy Jayasinghe, Kim Hackett, Tim Willis, Jack Smith and Nick Warr.

UKRI: Take Pride in research and innovation

Alex’s story

Alex Marsh, Director of Strategy at UKRI shared his experiences of the research and innovation sector. He discussed the importance of being able to bring your whole self to work, the work still needed to progress the rights of LGBTQ+ people globally, and the importance of greater diversity in research and development teams.

UKRI: Take Pride in research and innovation – Alex Marsh

Kim’s story

Kim Hackett, Director of the Research Excellence Framework at Research England, discussed the importance of Pride both personally and to wider society. She spoke about the value of diversity in the research and innovation sector and her hopes for the future of LGBTQ+ equality across our community.

UKRI: Take Pride in research and innovation – Kim Hackett

Alan’s story

We heard from Alan Cross, ESA Business Applications Regional Ambassador, Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), Daresbury, about his experiences of getting into the innovation sector and discussed the vital importance of LGBTQ+ role models and the value of diversity in research and innovation teams.

UKRI: Take Pride in research and innovation – Alan Cross

Marco’s story

Marco Reggiani, STEM Equals Project

Marco Reggiani

My name is Marco, my pronouns are he/him, and I am a research associate at the STEM Equals project. One of the EPSRC-funded projects under the Inclusion Matters initiative, STEM Equals is a four-year research and impact project focused on creating more inclusive STEM communities for LGBT+ people and women in both academia and industry.

STEM Equals team also includes Professor Becky Lunn and Dr Jessica Gagnon, and the project is supported with matched funding by the University of Strathclyde. Our industry partner is BAM Nuttall.

Creating more inclusive STEM communities

Unfortunately, existing literature, the STEM Equals research so far, and our personal experiences suggest that LGBT+, transgender, women, or Black, Asian and minority ethnic researchers still face systemic inequalities, biases, and obstacles to a successful career. Creating more inclusive STEM communities is not only right but also necessary to create more thriving, innovative and successful science.

STEM Equals has produced a portfolio of events and initiatives to remove barriers and raise awareness about the experience of LGBT+ academic communities. They include the creation of an LGBT+ staff and PhD student network at the University of Strathclyde and STEM Equals Profiles, where we feature women and LGBT+ researchers to increase visibility and promote diverse role models. Contact us at STEMEquals@strath.ac.uk if you would like to be featured!

We have also organised an event for LGBT STEM Day 2020 to discuss and celebrate the contributions LGBT+ researchers in STEM are making to address climate change.

Advocating for the LGBT+ community

The work we are doing resonates with my journey as a gay person in academia. I have a mixed background in STEM and social sciences and bringing my whole self to work has not always been easy. However, the progress I have done in empowering myself to advocate for the LGBT+ community in higher education and the support I found in like-minded colleagues have been very rewarding.

Much still needs to be done to achieve real equity, diversity and inclusion but I am positive about the future. If you feel comfortable and safe enough to do so, I would encourage you to find ways to actively support LGBT+ and other underrepresented communities. We need to be in this together!

Find out more about the STEM Equals project

In case you would like to know more about the STEM Equals project, you can follow us on Twitter @STEMEquals for news and updates, or read our first year report.

Other resources about LGBT+ and other underrepresented groups in STEM can be accessed through TIGER in STEM and Pride in STEM.

Last updated: 18 November 2020

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