How Research England supports research excellence


Equality and diversity in the research base

Research England works with partners across UKRI, Office for Students (OfS) and policy organisations, to collate and analyse data and evidence.  This informs understanding and activity to further equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the higher education research sector.

Research England works across UKRI to support the delivery of the organisation’s public sector equality duty demonstrating the need to:

  • eliminate discrimination
  • advance equality of opportunity
  • foster good relations between different people in the design and delivery of our activities.

Research England actively engages partners within the sector in shaping its approach to EDI.

Equality and diversity and research excellence framework (REF)

Research England, alongside the other UK higher education funding bodies, is committed to supporting and promoting equality and diversity in research assessment. The REF Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel (EDAP) has been established to advise on the implementation of equality measures in the REF.

Equality and diversity in researcher careers

Research England will continue to work with the other UKRI councils, OfS, policy organisations and the sector to understand the researcher careers ecosystem. Building on a body of evidence including work to understand widening participation in higher education, data analysis of sector profile, and a range of existing evaluative work, Research England will continue to support sector understanding and policy development in this area.

The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers

The former Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) was a founding signatory of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers. The Concordat was launched in 2008 and is overseen by the Concordat Strategy Group, whose members represent the major research funders and the university sector. Vitae leads on the management of the Concordat.

UKRI has committed to supporting improvements in the research environment by becoming a launch signatory of the refreshed 2019 Researcher Development Concordat.

Data and analysis

Research England works with analysis of the Higher Education Statistics Agency student and staff record to inform policy development and practice in this area.

UKRI external advisory group for equality, diversity and inclusion

UK Research and Innovation is working with an external advisory group to identify priority areas and improve outcomes in the area of equality, diversity and inclusion. Chaired by Dr Karen Salt, the group brings together national and international experts from the public, private and charitable sectors.

UKRI Evidence Reviews

As the largest public funder of research and innovation, UKRI is committed to transforming research and innovation environments to ensure that they are safe, open and inclusive. In December 2019, UKRI published two evidence reviews on equality, diversity and inclusion. Conducted by Advance HE, these will inform the evidence-based approach we take to this area.

Read the UKRI UK and international EDI evidence reviews.

Last updated: 8 March 2024

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