INCLUSIVITY: (Photo credit: Getty Images)
ELEVEN PROJECTS have been launched at universities across the UK to improve equality, diversity and inclusion within engineering and the physical sciences.
The projects have been funded with £5.5 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) via the Inclusion Matters call, the first initiative of its kind which has been launched as part of the collective approach by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to promote equality, diversity and inclusion.
Dr Alison Wall, EPSRC’s Associate Director, Building Leadership, said: “The Inclusion Matters call projects display ambition, creativity and a commitment to addressing the pressing equality and diversity issues facing engineering and the physical sciences.
“Through new research, innovative approaches and a broadening of activities, they will inform and shape significant cultural change across institutions and share their learning with the whole sector. By furthering equality, diversity and inclusion we want to ensure that researchers from all groups are able to fulfil their talent and ambitions.”
Professor Jennifer Rubin, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Executive Champion for equality, diversity and inclusion, commented: “UK Research and Innovation is committed to furthering equality, diversity and inclusion for both our staff and for the research and innovation sector more widely.
“The Inclusion Matters initiative illustrates the ambitious, evidence-based approach that we will take across UKRI to strengthen equality, diversity and inclusion across the sector.”
Professor Patricia Thornley, of The University of Manchester, and one of the two Chairs of the panel which assessed the applications, added: “Anyone who has recently walked into a university engineering department or STEM employer knows that the workforce does not reflect the UK’s wider population.
“This programme goes beyond previous initiatives to improve understanding of what actually works in improving diversity and delivers an evidence base. It focuses on delivering cultural change and such radical transformation requires deep institutional commitment.
“I was really impressed by organisations that didn’t shy away from uncomfortable observations and showed commitment to addressing underlying issues. At a time when scientists and engineers are radically redesigning our energy and transport systems and reimagining the digital economy, inclusion really does matter and this programme can help turn that commitment to real change.”
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