UKRI glossary of EDI terms

Last updated:
13 January 2022

Definitions of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) terms used by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).



Ways individuals and communities hold themselves to their goals and actions, while acknowledging the values and groups to which they are responsible.


Recognising oppressions that exist in society and ways to mitigate their effects to equalise the power imbalance in communities.


To actively oppose racism by advocating for political, economic, and social change.


The prevention of sectarianism, which is created over time through consistent social, cultural and political habits, leading to the formation of group solidarity that is dependent on inclusion and exclusion.


A prejudice against groups or individuals that are not similar to yourself or showing preference for people that are similar to yourself.


Behaviour that is intended to hurt someone either emotionally or physically and is often aimed at certain people or groups.

Bystander intervention

The ability to recognise a potentially harmful situation or interaction and choosing to respond in a way that could positively influence the outcome.


The process of undoing colonising practices, confronting and challenging practices in the past, which are still present today.


A physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. A wide range of physical, mental and sensory impairments are covered under this definition.


Individual differences between groups based on:

  • abilities
  • age
  • disability
  • learning styles
  • life experiences
  • neurodiversity
  • race or ethnicity
  • class
  • gender
  • sexual orientation
  • country of origin
  • cultural
  • political or religious affiliation
  • any other difference that exists.


Treating everyone the same and giving everyone access to the same opportunities.


Creating fair access, opportunity and advancement for people from under-represented groups.


Unwanted behaviour that is offensive, intimidating or humiliating. It can happen on its own or alongside other forms of discrimination.


The process of bringing people that are traditionally excluded into decision-making processes, activities or positions of power. It enables individuals or groups to feel safe, respected, motivated and engaged.


The intertwining of social identities like gender, race, ethnicity, social class, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity that causes unique opportunities, barriers, experiences or social inequality.


Stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (or sometimes questioning) and others. The ‘plus’ represents other gender identities and sexual orientations that are not specifically covered by the five initials.

Lived experience

The representation of the experiences and choices of a given person, and the knowledge that they gain from these experiences and choices.


Daily behaviour (verbal or nonverbal) that communicates hostile or negative insults towards a group, either intentionally or unintentionally.


Where neurological differences are recognised and respected as any other human variation. These differences can include, among others:

  • dyspraxia
  • dyslexia
  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • dyscalculia
  • autistic spectrum
  • Tourette’s syndrome.


Systemic and institutional abuse of power by a dominant or privileged group at the expense of targeted, less privileged, groups.

Positive action

The practice of increasing opportunities to under-represented parts of society. Positive action involves taking targeted steps to address underrepresentation or disadvantage experienced by people with characteristics protected by the Equality Act 2010.


Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group.

Reasonable adjustments

The legal need to take positive steps to remove barriers faced due to disability.

Safe space

A place where people can feel confident and be comfortable expressing themselves without fear or exposure to discrimination, criticism, harassment or any other physical or emotional harm.


Something that affects the whole and not just parts of a system.

Under-represented group

A person or group of people who are insufficiently or inadequately represented (holding a smaller percentage within a significant subgroup than the subset holds in the general population).

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