NERC has released a summary of discussions between its leadership team and environmental researchers at the Collaborative Inclusivity roundtable series in June.
As the nation’s leading environmental science research funder, we know at NERC that we have a role in working to change equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the environmental sciences.
The aim of the Collaborative Inclusivity roundtable series was to create a shared space to value lived experience. It aims to share best practice, and identify actions to overcome barriers.
In the summary report, we have identified and detailed areas for action, and reconfirmed NERC’s commitment to playing its part.
The report highlights the importance of working in partnership with other organisations to create a more equitable and diverse environmental science and research sector.
About the Collaborative Inclusivity roundtables
NERC convened a series of thematic roundtables. Over 60 participants attended, from a range of organisations and a range of career stages, including early and late career researchers.
They discussed the barriers and subsequent actions that can be taken to embed equity, diversity and inclusion within the environmental sciences.
There were five roundtables, each convened by a member of the NERC executive leadership team. Each roundtable discussion focused on a different theme:
- making systemic advances in equity, diversity, and inclusion of environmental science through decision making
- collecting, measuring and analysing equity, diversity, and inclusion data in environmental science, and to understand whether what we are doing is making any difference
- building confidence in recognising, listening to and addressing equity, diversity and inclusion in environmental science
- making fieldwork in environmental science more equitable, diverse, and inclusive in practice
- advocating and promoting environmental science to create an inclusive talent and skills pipeline.
A concluding plenary session was hosted by NERC Executive Chair, Professor Sir Duncan Wingham. The plenary began the process of translating ideas into action, and re-affirmed NERCs commitment to strengthen our approach to EDI.
Ambitions for a more diverse sector
Alison Robinson, NERC Deputy Executive Chair, said:
Our engagement with the community and partners has, and will continue to be, important in challenging and shaping our thinking and identifying actions to improve equity, diversity and inclusion.
We will work in partnership with organisations including HEIs, taking collective responsibility for shared actions and delivering on our ambitions for a more diverse sector.
Community action plan and research activities
NERC is committed to implementing actions that have come out of the roundtable discussions, with partners from across the environmental science sector. There will be further engagement with the community in early autumn to inform drafting of the community action plan, which we plan to publish by the end of October.
Currently, NERC also has active research opportunities and activities to support enabling a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environmental science community. Details of the activities can be found below:
- seed-funding for EDI enrichment projects to improve diversity in environmental sciences
- a NERC-led digital online ‘hackathon’ to develop digital technologies that improve equity, diversity, and inclusion in the environmental sciences
- a joint NERC-AHRC call for research to uncover how UK environmental science can learn from the past, considering colonial history and different cultural perceptions.