In 2018, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded 11 Inclusion Matters projects. The projects focused on new approaches to accelerating culture change to enhance equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the engineering, physical and mathematical sciences.
Since 2018, the projects have developed many valuable insights.
As a portfolio they have produced a range of publication materials, created toolkits and trialled alternative methods and approaches all of which have focused on addressing barriers that people encounter in our research and innovation community.
They have developed resources for fair recruitment, reverse or reciprocal mentoring, and how to better support researchers with disabilities.
They have also developed approaches to addressing challenges encountered by reactions to gender initiatives and to the barriers women encounter when founding spinout companies.
Initiatives have also been developed to improve equality and diversity for women, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) staff and initiatives to support progression of women and ethnic minority academics.
Outputs and outcomes of the EPSRC Inclusion Matters portfolio
In 2022, EPSRC commissioned Advance HE to gather and demonstrate the contribution that our investment in the Inclusion Matters portfolio has made to the development of new knowledge and the implementation of new approaches, aimed at increasing diversity and tackling inclusion challenges in the engineering, physical and mathematical sciences research and innovation environment.
The study established the breadth of impact the portfolio has made to date.
The report contains the outputs, outcomes and other intelligence from the projects to date.
We are sharing this report as a useful resource that can be used alongside our EDI expectations to help support and empower our engineering, physical and mathematical sciences community to identify, address and embed EDI good practice in their own workplace environments.
The findings of the report demonstrate the power of researchers working together to share EDI learning and good practice that can be embedded across our portfolio, with our investments being beacons of good inclusion practice.
Through embedding good EDI practice in our portfolio and the wider research community, we will enable wider access and participation in engineering, physical and mathematical sciences research careers and even stronger research and innovation outcomes for the UK.
The approaches taken by each project varied but, broadly, the projects focused on three aims:
- to undertake new research to understand more about specific challenges and issues and what actions might be taken. Learning from others, engaging nationally and internationally and engaging a broad spectrum of relevant stakeholders
- to try new or different approaches, based on available evidence
- to broaden activities already in progress, across either the institution or the sector
To ensure impact beyond the immediate institutions involved, the portfolio of grants:
- collaborated beyond their local department and institution, and reached out to work together and share information with other organisations
- communicated, captured, exchanged, disseminated and embedded good practice across individual institutions, between institutions and more broadly across the sector, sharing best practice, advocacy, consultation and celebration
- took the lead in promoting new approaches and, in doing so, raised awareness of EDI issues across the sector, acting as ambassadors
- evaluated, building on the existing evidence base, drawing relevant learning from other sectors, and ensuring that the impact of funded activities on EDI was appropriately assessed and benchmarked
These shared commitments focused on the best way to achieve culture change and dissemination of the projects.
These highly collaborative projects include universities working across the UK and a range of project partners including business and learned societies.