Skip to main content

Diversity in Research call in Parliament

Friday 1 March 2019

A SALFORD University-backed proposal calling for a Parliamentary inquiry into diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects has been successful.

The Science and Technology Select Committee announced the new inquiry into the impact of science funding policy on equality, diversity, inclusion and accessibility will be launched in the next twelve months.

It was selected as one of four ‘My Science Inquiry’ pitches to take forward from a short list of ten.

The diversity in STEM proposal was supported by Dr Erinma Ochu, lecturer in science communication and future media and led by Professor Rachel Oliver at the University of Cambridge.

Growing evidence

Signatories from across UK HE argue that an ever-increasing body of evidence shows that research STEM has greatest impact when carried out by a diverse community, providing fresh thinking and creativity.

And there are suggestions that science can better progress with more diverse thinking.

They called upon the Committee to open an inquiry into the extent to which funding policies, procedures and cultures are excluding individuals from a wide range of backgrounds.

Dr Ochu said: “We all came together on social media and have crowdsourced a lot of the evidence to push this forward.

“As a researcher who involves the public in science, it was great to work with a diverse group of academics (who I have never met) who care about making science more diverse.”

Level playing field

The next stage will gather data to identify the impact of science funding on equality of opportunity for different scientists and to propose ways to level the playing field by changing funding policy.

So excited to learn that @commonsSTC will be launching an inquiry
into the impact of science funding policy on equality, diversity, inclusion &
accessibility in the next 12 months! This is the result of me and 200+ other scientists submitting a proposal under #MyScienceInquiry.

— Prof Rachel Oliver (@ProfRachelGaN) February 27, 2019

In November 2018 the Committee launched the ‘My Science Inquiry’ initiative, which invited the public to suggest potential inquiries for the Committee’s future work programme. It received 86 submissions, of which ten were shortlisted to deliver a five-minute public ‘pitch’ to the Committee earlier this year.  #MyScienceInquiry.

Find out more

Gareth Hollyman, Senior Press & PR Officer (Science)

0161 295 6895