UKRI equality diversity and inclusion strategy: draft for consultation

Last updated:
13 January 2022

CEO foreword

A major motivation for me in joining UKRI as its Chief Executive is the unprecedented opportunity its creation provides to address the pervasive challenges with equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in research and innovation.

The central goals of research and innovation are to deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us, and to use that knowledge to build a better future.

To succeed, we must combine disruption and collaborative progress. Excellence is critically dependent on valuing, welcoming and engaging constructively with difference and disagreement.

The inequalities and under-representation of the current system prevent both people and the research and innovation endeavour from achieving their full potential.

Since joining UKRI, I have met a wide range of people and organisations that we fund and with which we partner, as well as many staff who work alongside me at UKRI.

I have been regularly reminded of the challenges all those working in research and innovation can face in feeling valued, respected and supported to develop their talents to the full.

I am grateful to all those who have taken the time to share their experiences of the often challenging circumstances they have faced. I am also grateful for the many and diverse ideas for improvement that have been put forward.

I am encouraged that pervading all these discussions is a strong desire for change and an expectation that UKRI and other organisations need to translate commitments into tangible action.

This is reflected in the government’s Research and Development (R&D) People and Culture Strategy, published in July 2021, which called for the sector to take action to create a more inclusive and diverse research and innovation system.

As the UK’s largest public sector funder of research and innovation, UKRI has a responsibility for the health of the research and innovation system, now and in the future. We have been working hard to deliver our vision for a research and innovation system that is ‘by everyone, for everyone’.

The publication of our EDI strategy is the start of a new phase of work, building upon the lessons we have learned, and continue to learn, about what UKRI can do itself and in partnership with others to transform the system for the better.

With this strategy, we are strengthening our commitment to do this work through our roles as a leader, investor, partner, and employer. We need to challenge and change ourselves. To do this, I and all the senior leaders in UKRI are committed to delivering this work.

We recognise both our opportunities and our limitations in delivering on our ambitions. We are one of many organisations working to improve EDI outcomes in research and innovation and in wider society.

We do not hold all the levers for change. We value the many people, communities and organisations that are committed to creating and driving change and the important roles that we all have in this shared endeavour.

We can and should learn from one another and work in partnership to deliver impact and walk an evidenced path to lasting change.

With this in mind, I invite you to join us as we strive to reach our ambition to foster a research and innovation system that is by everyone, for everyone.

Introduction: our ambition

UKRI’s first EDI strategy sets out our ambition for an inclusive research and innovation system, and our long-term commitment to achieving this.

Our ambition is for a research and innovation system where:

  • everyone feels included, is heard, respected and able to be their real self
  • different people, ideas, ways of thinking, skills and perspectives are valued
  • people and ideas thrive, are supported and encouraged
  • everyone can participate in, contribute to, and benefit from, our investments in research and innovation.

In short, a research and innovation system by everyone, for everyone.

Reshaping research and innovation so that it values and supports different people, places and projects is a significant challenge and requires coordinated and long-term focus across the sector.

With this strategy, we are strengthening our commitment to do this work through our roles as a leader, an investor and partner, and an employer.

Achieving our ambition means challenging ourselves and taking action to become a more inclusive, equitable and accessible organisation.

We have developed four ‘cornerstones for change’ that describe how we will create the conditions for sustainable change and continue our EDI journey.

Our strategic objectives are underpinned by these cornerstones. They provide a framework to anchor and enable the development of EDI action plans by councils, functions and teams across UKRI.

These action plans will be living documents that detail the activities that will underpin and drive change across our organisation as we grow and develop our implementation of the strategy.

To make our ambition a sustained reality, transformation is needed across every part of the research and innovation system. We will use all the levers we have to catalyse, influence and make change.

However, we cannot transform the system on our own and we do not hold all of the levers for change within the research and innovation system or within society.

We recognise and value the many people, communities and organisations that are also committed to creating and driving change and the important roles that we all have in this shared endeavour. This includes:

  • those in higher education institutions and institutes
  • innovative businesses
  • investors
  • not-for-profit organisations and policy makers
  • those in the education system
  • civil society.

We will continue to work with our stakeholders, colleagues and partners to build on this collective appetite for change and together create sustainable transformation.

We acknowledge that people and organisations, including teams within UKRI, are at different stages of their EDI journeys.

We will share our experiences, successes, and challenges, learning from ourselves and others, so that together we can boldly engage in the experimentation, innovation and creativity needed to foster an inclusive and accessible research and innovation system.

An inclusive research and innovation system where people and ideas flourish is a priority for UKRI. We are committed to taking action, making progress and working with the sector to create a research and innovation system by everyone, for everyone.

Note on language

We have chosen to use the term ‘equality, diversity and inclusion’ in this strategy. We recognise that language and the choice of words matters.

Our approaches and language continue to develop and we have co-developed a glossary that we will continue to test and refine.

As we have developed our approaches to EDI, we recognise that inclusion and diversity alone are not enough.

As a result, we are focussing our work on creating inclusive conditions in which people can flourish. This includes treating people equitably to achieve equality in outcomes.


Our cornerstones for change

UKRI invests in and supports people, ideas, projects, partnerships, institutions and infrastructures across all disciplines and sectors.

We are a major employer, with our people offering leadership to the research and innovation sector and conducting high-quality research and innovation.

We convene and catalyse by listening to and connecting with people and organisations nationally and internationally.

We incentivise the highest standards in culture and practice through our actions, policies, and behaviours.

UKRI is the UK’s largest public funder of research and innovation, reaching across disciplines and across sectors.

We recognise the unique role we can and should play in leading and driving systemic and structural change, and the importance of collaborating with others in doing so.

Through our investments, systems and incentives we have a responsibility to catalyse and influence change, using our leadership role in the UK and globally through our international partnerships.

To be world-class, the research and innovation system needs people with different expertise, experiences, approaches and ways of thinking to work together.

This diversity of skills and perspectives fosters novel ideas, innovations and solutions to problems that address societal and global challenges. But diversity alone is not enough.

Our focus is on creating the conditions for supportive environments where:

  • difference is celebrated
  • everyone can flourish, is valued and respected
  • people are recognised and rewarded for their contributions.

This means reshaping the system, not only to include particular groups or to provide opportunities to a select few, but to create welcoming and equitable structures.

This would allow all to participate, challenge and transform how the system works and who works within and alongside it.

Our ambition is underpinned by four ‘cornerstones for change’.

Cornerstone 1

We will foster an inclusive, equitable, just and diverse research and innovation system by championing and focusing on systemic and structural change.

Cornerstone 2

We will be open, transparent, and inclusive in our approaches by listening, influencing and working in partnership.

Cornerstone 3

We are committed to leading, taking action and being innovative. We will use evidence, data and learning from ourselves and others to inform our actions and how we work.

Cornerstone 4

We expect every individual in UKRI to be inclusive in all that they do, and we will hold ourselves to account for our actions as individuals, as leaders, partners and as an organisation.

The cornerstones shape and inform our decisions, actions and behaviours, and describe how we will work to achieve our ambitions.

Our EDI journey

Our journey to becoming an inclusive organisation, investor and partner is underway.

Equality diversity and inclusion has been an organisational priority since the formation of UKRI (UKRI annual report 2018 to 2019) and builds upon the work of the research councils that preceded this.

With this strategy we have brought together our approaches and learning to date, reflected on these and challenged ourselves to raise our ambitions.

This work builds on knowledge, research, data, and expertise from across the research and innovation sector. It also benefits from long-term and extensive cross-sector engagement with people and organisations.

We acknowledge and appreciate those who have advised us, contributed to, supported and challenged us to work in different ways, and who have guided us to this point. We have been informed by conversations with:

  • individuals
  • grassroots movements
  • advocacy groups
  • national and international organisations.

We have:

We will continue to engage, listen and work in partnership to share and develop good practice, co-creating a healthier research and innovation system.

Drawing on this insight and evidence, we have developed, tested and piloted ideas and interventions focused on transformative change.

We are learning, including from things that we have not done well, have not worked as hoped or been successful.

Through this strategy, we are strengthening our commitment to change and to reviewing, evaluating and improving ourselves as an organisation as part of our long-term strategic goals.

Examples of our activities

We include, here, a few of the interactions and advice that have guided our EDI journey. These examples, including our case studies, showcase the types of activities that we have engaged in along the way.

External advisory group for EDI

Our early work was shaped by an external advisory group (EAG) for EDI.

This initial group of national and international experts from across the public, private and charitable sectors provided advice and challenge on the development of our EDI approaches and on key policies including the UKRI preventing harm in research and innovation policy.

The EAG played a key role in the scoping and commissioning of our evidence reviews. These reviews helped us understand and identify:

  • ‘what works’ regarding EDI in a UK and international context
  • where gaps about the efficacy and effectiveness of interventions exist.

Work within our councils, by our communities, stakeholders and partners across the sector has improved collection and analysis of EDI data. The EAG challenged and advised us to:

  • deepen our approach to EDI data
  • be open and transparent
  • publish detailed analysis, for example, disaggregated ethnicity data, to inform our policy development and implementation.

We now publish these data routinely (UKRI diversity data), making them accessible for the sector to interact with and explore. We are challenging ourselves and learning from others to enlarge our analytical understanding of our portfolio from an EDI perspective.


Working in partnership has continued to inform our journey.

Through our councils and their advisory groups, we have shared discipline-level concerns and brought these together, where appropriate, to develop sector-focused approaches and interventions.

We have also worked with external partners to inform our policy making and activities, for example working with:

Our ongoing engagement with institutions, including with groups such as The Network of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Academic Leads (NEDIAL), and partnerships with organisations across the sector, informs the work that we are doing, and creates opportunities to work collaboratively.


Our investments in research and innovation are an essential part of our EDI journey. We have increasingly recognised the importance of using our investments to help support inclusion and generate widespread benefit for all.

For example, we have invested in actions to:

Read our case studies.

The people we invest in are also playing a part in transforming the system. Together with the Future Leaders Fellows Development Network, we are endeavouring to reimagine research and innovation by:

  • creating foundations for inclusive research and innovation communities
  • embedding inclusive practices in the design of research and innovation.

Involvement, feedback and engagement from users of our systems and processes, including through user research, is also helping us to improve inclusion and accessibility.

We acknowledge those who share their insight, experiences and perspectives to help us make change.


We have actively worked with partners, nationally and internationally, to demonstrate our leadership and use our influence to drive change across the research and innovation sector.

We are developing an ambitious programme of work to support the delivery of the government’s R&D People and Culture strategy, working collaboratively with partners to drive forward lasting change.

Together with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and other government departments, we are contributing to and shaping future policy.

This includes embedding gender equality and diversity into international development funding, supporting work to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

As part of our ambition for more inclusive research and innovation cultures and behaviours, UKRI convenes and chairs the cross-sector Forum for Tackling Bullying and Harassment.

This forum brings together funding, policy and regulatory organisations, both in the UK and internationally.

Together we aim to raise awareness, bring about culture change and prevent bullying and harassment by working collaboratively to develop and test sustainable cross-sector activities.

Our people

As an employer, we recognise and value the diversity of experiences, skills, knowledge and perspectives of our people.

We recognise that we must do more to attract, support and develop the diversity of people we need to be an excellent organisation. Our senior leadership is fully committed to this vital work.

The professional and personal experiences of our staff, their interactions with our community, their ideas, energy, allyship, and commitment, all contribute to our drive for change within our own organisation.

This includes our staff networks and the many people who are working to improve and advocate for diversity and inclusion across the organisation.

Continuing our journey

Our EDI journey is not complete. This EDI strategy builds on the solid foundations described above and sets out our direction of travel.

We will continue to review and develop our ambitions, learning and improving as we transform ourselves. We want to invite everyone to join us as we work toward sustainable change for the research and innovation system.

Strategic objectives

We are committed to inclusion, equity, diversity and accessibility in all that we do and how we work.

Our four strategic objectives and priorities for action are underpinned by the ‘cornerstones for change’. The objectives provide a framework for the actions we will take to implement this strategy and continue our EDI journey.

Across UKRI, we are developing EDI action plans. These will be living documents that will provide detail on implementation of this strategy, and which will evolve over time.

Here, we set out some examples of our priorities for action in the near (year 1), and medium (years 2 to 3) term. The examples here are not exhaustive and our actions will continue to develop in support of our long-term commitment to transformation.

By listening to and working with our communities and partners and building the evidence base, we will:

  • develop and expand our action plans
  • identify priorities
  • determine how we use our levers and mechanisms to drive and influence change.

We will experiment and develop new approaches, piloting and implementing interventions that we will monitor, evaluate and learn from.

This approach will enable us to respond to changing needs and support a cycle of learning and improving as we transform ourselves and contribute to transforming the research and innovation system.

Objective 1: fostering an inclusive and diverse research and innovation system, ‘by everyone, for everyone’

As the largest public funder of research and innovation in the UK, we have a responsibility to take a leading role in creating the conditions and incentives for change, in our roles as an investor, partner and employer.

We will use the mechanisms and levers that we have in an integrated and coordinated way to catalyse and foster an inclusive and diverse research and innovation system.

We will lead by example, with our senior leaders being committed to and accountable for our progress.

We commit to:

  • proactively championing and supporting inclusion for all
  • embedding EDI in how we catalyse, convene, incentivise and invest in research and innovation, to drive and create conditions for change across the system
  • recognising, valuing and rewarding everyone in the research and innovation (R&I) system and their diverse roles and contributions
  • developing principles and incentives to support research and innovation that is designed and delivered in inclusive ways to create more equitable outcomes and benefits
  • working in partnership to achieve and influence sustainable system-level change.

Priority 1A: leading by example to advance inclusion

We will be transparent and open about the changes we need to make to advance inclusion and the actions we are taking.

We will work to re-shape the research and innovation system and improve inclusion in our own organisation by:

  • understanding and addressing systemic issues
  • developing bold and innovative approaches.

In the near term our actions include:

  • continuing to build and contribute to the evidence base about diversity and inclusion, for example through:
  • continuing to publish our EDI data in accessible formats and being open and transparent about how we will use these data to inform our actions (UKRI diversity data, UKRI gender pay gap report)
  • recognising, championing and celebrating the diversity of people, talent and roles within the research and innovation system, for example through 101 jobs, and in our organisation through our participation in schemes including the #10000BlackInterns programme.

In the medium term our actions include:

  • designing and delivering evidence-led policies and interventions to make change at scale across the sector, enabled by our priority actions set out in objective 4
  • evaluating and learning from interventions designed to drive systemic change, for example investments to widen participation in postgraduate research.

Priority 1B: creating the conditions and incentives for a more inclusive research and innovation system

We will catalyse and create the conditions for sustainable change:

  • through our investments and incentives
  • by convening, engaging with and influencing a wide range of national and international partners.

In the near term our actions include:

  • catalysing sector-wide change by delivering on our commitments in the government’s research and development (R&D) people and culture strategy, including
    • creating the Good Practice Exchange and using this to develop, test and evaluate new ideas to improve inclusion and diversity, and identify “what works” for EDI interventions
    • developing a new deal for post-graduate research students, seeking input on funding, access, models and career routes
    • co-designing with partners and implementing a joined-up talent offer, open to a diversity of people across all career stages, connecting sectors, disciplines and working cultures
    • piloting experimental approaches to public dialogue and community-led research and innovation and using the pilots to inform new approaches
  • reviewing how we use expert peer review to improve UKRI’s approach to selectively allocating funding based on the assessment of proposals:
    • this includes defining and implementing changes so that UKRI continues to make the best choices of what and who to fund, and positively impact research and innovation culture
    • we will develop approaches to measure and evaluate the impact of the changes, as set out in objective 4
  • developing and sharing resources to advance and embed EDI in discipline-led activities, for example through our partnership with The Academy of Social Sciences
  • co-developing concepts to reimagine the research and innovation system, building on work with the Future Leaders Fellows Development Network. We will expand on this work using collaborative and equitable engagement to co-create foundations for more inclusive research and innovation communities in early 2022.

In the medium term our actions include:

  • working with the higher education funding bodies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, we will review the way that we assess research at a national level to understand how a future assessment system might best support a healthy, inclusive research and innovation system
  • developing and implementing the structures and incentives to recognise, value and reward everyone in the R&I system and their diverse roles and contributions.

Objective outcomes

Our expected outcomes are:

  • UKRI will be a more inclusive organisation in how it operates, invests, and partners, using its levers, mechanisms and incentives to advance inclusion and diversity
  • a more inclusive and diverse R&I system, with robust measures that can be reliably tracked to drive change.

Objective 2: advancing equality and inclusion through our investments and how we work

We will focus on advancing equality and inclusion through the choices and decisions that we make.

We will do this through:

  • our investments
  • how we conduct research and innovation
  • whom we partner with and include in our networks and as our advisors
  • how we work.

We commit to:

  • inclusion being woven into all that we do (our actions, behaviours, and decision-making) enabling our investments, strategies, plans, policies, and processes to be fair, inclusive and accessible, and to advance equality
  • investing in a diversity of ideas, people, activities, skills and infrastructures
  • including and valuing a diversity of people, experiences and perspectives in our governance and accountability structures
  • innovating and investing in advancing inclusion, by piloting interventions and through the research and innovation that we fund and conduct
  • partnering in equitable ways, by:
    • being open, transparent, accountable and participatory in our approaches
    • creating supporting mechanisms for our partners and stakeholders to engage in these practices with us
  • examining and evaluating the interventions that we make, sharing our learning, and embedding effective interventions into how we operate.

Priority 2A: embedding inclusion into all that we do

We will make inclusion a sustainable and business as usual practice within UKRI.

We will encourage everyone who works for and with UKRI, including those we invest in and partner with, to champion diversity and inclusion in their work.

In the near term our actions include:

  • developing and implementing training, processes, governance, and risk and assurance mechanisms to make inclusion part of how we operate and conduct ourselves
  • maturing our use of equality impact assessments to:
    • better integrate and embed EDI into our activities
    • identify opportunities for development and improvement
    • increase accountability for the management of any risks identified and their mitigations
  • identifying where we need to challenge ourselves and then taking action to change our decision-making processes to promote inclusion, including:
    • increasing the diversity of people who form our governance and accountability structures
    • piloting changes to our application and award mechanisms, for example, using the Résumé for Researchers and Innovators and expanding anonymised peer review processes.
  • piloting and embedding approaches to inclusive dialogue and engagement that value and celebrate different voices, expertise, experience and perspectives.

In the medium term our actions include:

  • developing and investing in new initiatives and incentives to increase the diversity of people who will be able to apply for, participate in and benefit from our investments in research and innovation, for example funding to explore and improve EDI within environmental science.
  • implementing systems, policies and incentives that advance greater inclusion and diversity, for example through:
    • the development of the Funding Service
    • implementing change informed by the review of peer review
  • establishing processes and robust methods to monitor, measure, evaluate and inform the actions that we take.

Priority 2B: using our investments to advance inclusion and diversity

We will seek to advance inclusion through the investments we make in people, projects, ideas and infrastructure.

We will:

  • examine and evaluate the interventions that we make
  • share our learning
  • embed effective interventions into how we operate.

In the near term our actions include:

  • driving change and addressing systemic issues by investigating known gaps, seeking greater understanding about root causes, piloting and investing in interventions and initiatives and embedding proven interventions across our work, recent examples include:
  • challenging and changing the ways we operate, conduct, and invest in research and innovation in our centres, units and institutes to advance inclusion and achieve greater diversity. For example, the BBSRC Institute Strategy (PDF, 16MB) sets the expectations for strategically-funded institutes to be exemplars for best research practice by promoting a positive research culture, and providing an inclusive environment which promotes equality and diversity
  • using, sharing and promoting the outputs of the EDI research and innovation we invest in and actively contributing to the knowledge base for equality and inclusion, for example through the development of toolkits and resources from the projects in our Inclusion Matters funding programme
  • developing and sharing good practice in doctoral student training and recruitment to minimise process bias and increase participation and representation. For example, in addition to ESRC working with Leading Routes to support training partners to develop their EDI strategies, BBSRC has commissioned a consortium of its training partners, collaborating with social science researchers, to understand the end-to-end process of recruitment, progression and retention and to develop a user-led toolkit to share good practice. The sharing of good practice and evidence from these approaches will be used to identify how UKRI can further support and develop cross-council processes (addressing under-representation and active participation: update October 2021).

In the medium term our actions include:

  • developing principles and incentives to support research and innovation that is designed and delivered in inclusive ways to create more equitable outcomes and benefits
  • piloting and evaluating approaches and incentives to make the research and innovation we invest in more inclusive.

Objective outcomes

Our expected outcome is an R&I system:

  • that encourages and values a diversity of people, ideas, and projects
  • in which everyone can participate
  • from which everyone can benefit.

Objective 3: everyone who works for UKRI will feel included, valued and able to contribute and participate

We will foster a more inclusive and fair organisational culture, where everyone can contribute and participate, and feels valued and respected.

We commit to:

  • our senior leaders being accountable for championing inclusion, and modelling inclusive actions and behaviours
  • creating inclusive environments where everyone feels that they belong and are supported to achieve their full potential
  • enabling a culture where different perspectives, skills, and experiences are valued
  • creating empowering working environments where people feel safe and heard, and in which everyone can participate
  • building a culture in which ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes can be actively raised without fear of repercussion, supported by systems and processes which offer a rapid, proportionate and effective response when issues arise
  • improving diversity within our own recruitment, development and succession planning.

Priority 3A: becoming a more diverse and inclusive organisation

We will become a more inclusive organisation that recruits, supports and retains a more diverse workforce, where people can flourish.

We will foster and sustain an inclusive organisational culture, by experimenting, learning, and continuously improving our systems, policies and practices.

In the near term our actions include:

  • investigating our processes, understanding issues, and improving our data and insight to inform how we recruit, develop and retain a more diverse workforce
  • listening to our employees, including through a full staff engagement survey, our Employee Engagement Centre of Expertise and staff networks
  • co-creating inclusive working environments.

In the medium term our actions include:

  • reviewing our systems, processes and ways of working and making changes to support and promote inclusion for all
  • implementing an operating model and workforce plan that enables our staff to flourish by recognising their different talents and experiences
  • evidencing our progress by working with external assessors to evaluate, benchmark and understand our performance, for example our recent Inclusive Employers Bronze Standard award.

Priority 3B: inclusive leadership and management

Everyone who works for UKRI has a role to play in making UKRI a more inclusive organisation by actively considering EDI in their work, actions and behaviours.

Our senior leadership teams will be accountable for our progress towards becoming a more inclusive organisation.

Our leaders and managers will be responsible for creating and fostering empowering working environments where different perspectives, skills, and experiences are valued.

In the near term our actions include:

  • setting out our expectations for inclusive leadership and management in our individual objectives and behavioural competencies
  • investing in and developing our expertise, capability, and capacity in EDI
  • developing and investing in inclusive leadership learning and development, to support and enable everyone to advance inclusion.

In the medium term our actions include:

  • developing mechanisms to value and recognise inclusive behaviours in our employee performance frameworks and leadership reviews
  • including our expectations for inclusive leadership and management in our job descriptions.

Objective outcomes

Our expected outcomes are:

  • a more representative and diverse workforce, in comparison to the UK labour workforce
  • an organisational culture where diverse skills, experiences and perspectives are recognised and valued, as evidenced through staff surveys and external benchmarking
  • a culture where inclusion is practised, championed, and in which everyone can flourish, as evidenced through talent and performance management frameworks.

Objective 4: to develop approaches to monitor, measure and evaluate change

We will advance and grow our knowledge and capability in EDI by being a creative, evidence-based and evidence-informed organisation that has a culture of learning and experimentation.

We will contribute to sector knowledge and understanding about ‘what works’ in measuring, evaluating and using EDI data.

We will use these approaches to monitor and measure the impact of the choices that we make and inform our future choices.

We commit to:

  • being an evidence-based and evidence-informed organisation
  • building our EDI data collection and analytical capabilities and using our data to support inclusive decision making about:
    • the people and projects that we support
    • the infrastructures that we invest in
    • the stakeholders and partners with whom we engage, and in our role as an employer
  • driving and leading sustainable and efficient approaches to collecting, analysing and acting upon diversity data, by working with the sector to create effective processes that:
    • reduce burden
    • enhance the sector’s ability to target interventions
  • developing evidenced feasibility models to support sustainable change
  • using our levers and convening power to stimulate cross-sector scalable approaches to measure and evaluate the impact of EDI actions and interventions, including our own initiatives.

Priority 4A: advancing how EDI data are collected, used and analysed

We will grow our EDI data collection and analytical capabilities to be more open and transparent about how we use evidence and data to inform our strategic decision making.

This includes decisions about the people and projects that we support, the infrastructures that we invest in, and the stakeholders and partners with whom we engage.

In the near term our actions include:

  • continuing to routinely publish, on an annual basis, our EDI data and information in accessible ways to facilitate analysis and insight for ourselves and the sector
  • enhancing and broadening our data collection capabilities in our digital platforms and services, including through the development of the Funding Service. Read about our privacy notice
  • developing the supportive conditions and trusted environments that enable people to choose to share personal information, and give confidence that information will be used to effect change, by:
    • understanding and learning from good practice
    • testing our approaches with users
  • expanding our data publications to include intersectional analysis and peer review data
  • continuing to strengthen our assessment of our EDI performance through our corporate reporting mechanisms, including our annual report and performance management frameworks.

In the medium term our actions include:

  • developing our systems, processes and ways of working to support and promote effective and efficient collection and use of data and evidence to drive change and support decision making, this includes:
    • establishing baseline data
    • understanding the root causes of issues
    • using our learning and insight to inform our actions
  • as part of the Forum for Tackling Bullying and Harassment:
    • developing approaches to collecting and analysing representative data on the prevalence of bullying and harassment across the sector
    • using this data to produce insight on implementing preventative strategies.

Priority 4B: advancing how change is measured and evaluated

We will drive and lead sustainable and efficient approaches to collecting, analysing and acting upon diversity data.

We will work to co-create cross-sector scalable and effective processes that:

  • reduce burden on the sector
  • enhance the sector’s knowledge and ability to measure and evaluate change, and develop targeted interventions.

Within UKRI, we will rigorously measure and share our performance and our progress towards our ambitions.

Our actions include:

  • in the near term, using our investments and incentives to work with national and international partners to develop and share approaches to measuring, monitoring and evaluating the impact of actions and interventions
  • in the medium term, using research, analysis and evidence-gathering on “what works” to develop and share approaches to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of EDI interventions, for example by:
    • sharing data and insights
    • experimenting and piloting through the Good Practice Exchange.

Objective outcomes

Our expected outcomes are robust evaluation approaches for EDI interventions that consider the longer-term impact on inclusion, culture, and behaviours.

Governance and accountability

The EDI strategy is part of UKRI’s People, Culture and Talent portfolio.

The People, Culture and Talent Change Board will oversee the collective progress towards our ambition for a more diverse, sustainable and productive R&I system underpinned by an effective and inclusive culture. This board reports to the UKRI Executive Committee.

This strategy is a framework that anchors and supports action plans for councils, functions and teams across UKRI. Each of our action plans has an owner, who is accountable for monitoring and assessing progress.

Monitoring of these action plans will enable us to manage and evaluate the performance and impact of our strategy and inform our future activities and plans.

In implementing this strategy, we are accountable for the choices that we make and the actions that we take. We are committed to using the levers and powers that we have to achieve change and deliver our ambition.

However, creating a research and innovation system by everyone, for everyone, needs collective action and we invite everyone to contribute and play their part to make an inclusive research and innovation system a reality.

Our EDI strategy will be reviewed and refreshed in 2024. We will regularly report and share our progress.


Developing our first EDI strategy has involved drawing on expertise across UKRI and from interactions with many people, organisations and partners across the research and innovation sector.

We appreciate and value the insight, expertise and commitment from many people, which has supported our EDI journey and shaped the development of our strategy.

Further reading

Our strategy provides an overarching framework for EDI in UKRI and is complemented by other publications that describe our organisation, ambitions and plans in specific areas of our activity in more detail.


We are now consulting widely on our draft strategy. We will use this public consultation to help us produce a first edition strategy that will also shape our action plans.

The open consultation runs from 13 January with a closing date of midday on 28 March 2022.

The consultation is open to anyone, we want everybody’s voice to be heard. We welcome responses from anyone interested or involved in research and innovation, either as an individual, organisation or group.

Page viewed: 10:43 pm on 21 April 2024

This is the website for UKRI: our seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Let us know if you have feedback or would like to help improve our online products and services.