10 top quotes on equality in research and innovation
Promoting equality, diversity and inclusion is at the heart of UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI's) vision.
Professor Sir Mark Walport
We believe that equality, diversity and inclusion – of people and ideas – is integral to excellence in research and innovation, letting us access the best talent and nurture great ideas. We therefore embed equality, diversity and inclusion at all levels and in all that we do, both as an organisation and as a funder.
“It is only when we can access the full talent pool that we can deliver the best research and innovation. For me, fostering equality and ensuring women are fully supported is critical to this endeavour,” says Professor Sir Mark Walport, Chief Executive, UKRI.
To mark International Women’s Day, we gathered insights from people working in research and innovation on why it’s so important to encourage equality in this exciting and innovative field.
Dr Karen Salt, Acting Deputy Director for Culture and Environment, UKRI
Dr Karen Salt
“On International Women’s Day I want to stop and celebrate the inspiring work being done by the many women who work across teams, in research organisations and within industry. UK research and innovation is richer because of their contributions, discoveries and innovations.”
Donna Strickland, Physics Nobel Prize Winner
“Science education helps develop skills in problem solving and critical thinking necessary to address some of the world’s biggest challenges. When we encourage girls and women to engage with science, they bring more diversity to science and fresh perspectives that can only help in finding innovative solutions.”
Professor Jennifer Rubin
Professor Jennifer Rubin, Executive Champion for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, UKRI
“Women make an outstanding contribution around the world and across fields, sectors and disciplines. This is to be celebrated while also working to accelerate building the cultures, environments, and approaches that will remove barriers and enable more women to develop and progress”
Andrea Jagodic, Co-Chief Operating Officer, Beta Bugs, an insect genetics company focusing on insects as a source of sustainable protein.
“Research and innovation, science and technology in general is about understanding and expanding all aspects of our lives, and creating a better, more sustainable future - and we need as diverse an approach as possible. This doesn’t refer to only gender, but race and ethnicity, class, disability, sexual orientation and all other aspects of the ever-evolving term that is diversity.”
Katrina Hayter, Challenge Director- Transforming Food Production, UKRI
“What could be more important than supporting girls and women in research and innovation? As a planet and people we are facing one of the greatest challenges of all time – the climate emergency. We need the ingenuity of everyone, that ingenuity being very much based on science, technology, engineering, arts and math, we need the talents of women and girls here in shaping the future our world.”
Professor Fiona Watt
Professor Fiona Watt, Executive Chair, Medical Research Council
"Being a scientist has brought so much joy to my life - I encourage other women to explore this exciting and ever-changing career."
Cynthia Bullock, Deputy Challenge Director, Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund - Healthy Ageing, UKRI
“It is vital that girls and women are inspired and get the opportunity to excel in research and innovation as it is an exciting and hugely worthwhile career. Also, their viewpoint invariably broadens the focus of any research and innovation to make the topics relevant to the whole population. For me I find it really rewarding to be working in Healthy Ageing where there is a real need for a diverse perspective. We know ageing impacts women disproportionately – they often live longer, take on more caring responsibilities, and generally arrive in later life with fewer financial resources than men.”
Dr Simon Mckeown, Reader, MIMA School of Art & Design; UKRI External Advisory Group member for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
“Exclusion makes no sense. Diversity in the research landscape is critical. Solving complex issues such as social cohesion, challenges raised by artificial intelligence, or global warming will come from girls and women as the researchers of the future supported by the likes of the British Antarctic Survey and active academies Teesside University.”
Isobel Sheldon, Business Development Director, director at the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, funded by the Faraday Battery Challenge
“Talent is talent regardless of gender or gender identity. Encouraging women and girls to take up both leadership and technical positions within research and innovation is vital if we are to provide genuinely useful and fair solutions to global problems that truly reflect the needs of the whole of our society.”
Phil Carvil, HealthTec Cluster Manager, Science and Technology Facilities Council, UKRI
“Innovation thrives on diversity and the ideas it inspires. As we celebrate this diversity and the power it brings I am reminded of who instilled my passion for health and life sciences, my mother. An intensive care nurse for over 40 years, she inspired and made a difference to people’s lives. Today, the opportunity to work alongside inspiring thought leaders and innovators in the sector is humbling, to name just a few at Sci-Tech Daresbury; Liz Ashall-Payne, CEO of ORCHA, Dr Samantha Westgate, CEO of Perfectus Biomed and Dr Liz Mear CEO of The Innovation Agency.”