UKRI has released its annual diversity data for 2020 to 2021 alongside the analysis of responses to our consultation on our equality, diversity and inclusion strategy.
Research and innovation are crucial to fuel economic growth, transform our public services and create high quality jobs across the UK, turning challenges, from net zero to healthy aging, into opportunities for all.
To meet these needs, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) invests in a broad range of people and ideas. It works to attract, retain and develop the best talented people and teams essential for the UK’s success.
Our data informs our drive for research and innovation excellence and workforce development, meeting our strategic objective of world-class people and careers.
It is clear that there are diverse challenges to building the excellence we need that require a combination of general and tailored solutions. Today, alongside our annual data release, we are publishing 3 reports that further explore the challenges of under-representation within specific research communities, career stages and funding routes.
People, ideas and perspectives
Professor Melanie Welham, UKRI Executive Champion for People, Culture and Talent, said:
Excellence in research and innovation requires a culture that values and supports different people, ideas and perspectives.
Embracing the widest possible spectrum of exceptional talent and skills will strengthen our research and its ability to improve lives, helping to create a knowledge economy that benefits everyone and supports growth.
We know, from our engagement work and our data, there are significant challenges in attracting, retaining and developing the full range of people the research and innovation system needs. There is no single solution that will address the inequalities that persist. The data helps us to understand better variations between disciplines and the different solutions that might be needed.
We also acknowledge the pace of change is not as fast as we want, but we are committed to the continued, coordinated and long-term work that is required across the sector.
Data of funding applicants and recipients
The latest UKRI diversity data report details the ethnicity, age, gender and disability of applicants and recipients of UKRI research council grants between 2020 and 2021, and the PhD students supported by UKRI funds
Data transparency is vitally important for discussion, challenge and change. They provide the evidence base to inform the design of interventions and assess their effectiveness. We are committed to deepening our analysis and understanding of the data year on year, and for the first time, the report includes data on the intersection of age, disability, and ethnicity with gender.
The data is presented for 3 applicant roles: principal investigators, co-investigators and fellows. This adds to 2014 to 2020 data already available to access on the UKRI website.
We have published the analysis of responses to our consultation on our draft equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) strategy. It sets out our ambition for an inclusive research and innovation system that can benefit from the full range of talent and ideas needed for success. We received a broad range of feedback and views from the community, which has fed into the documents we are publishing.
We are grateful for this input and will consider the viewpoints in developing the strategy. Our focus remains on fostering a world-class research and innovation system.
Workforce EDI plan
In addition, we are finalising UKRI’s workforce EDI plan, which sets out our actions to tackle under-representation within our organisation, which is an integral part of our commitment and work.
UKRI is a microcosm of the research and innovation community, with a wide range of people and careers, from world leading researchers, engineers and technicians to highly skilled administrative professionals. All are essential for the success of the research and innovation endeavour.
The UKRI strategy sets out our priorities to become the most effective and efficient organisation we can be. Ensuring that we have the full diversity of people we need, supported to build fulfilling careers, is an essential part of this work.
Research council reports
Our data shows that challenges, barriers and solutions to ensure that the UK’s research and innovation system benefits from the full diversity of people and ideas needed will vary in different disciplines and communities.
The expertise in each of our 9 constituent councils on their research and innovation communities is essential in developing the full range of actions needed, aligned with whole system pan-UKRI actions.
The latest reports from NERC, BBSRC and EPSRC aim to improve our understanding of inequalities and challenges specific in research and innovation communities supporting ongoing sector work to strengthen the system.
Read the council reports:
- Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) funding investments 2014 to 2015 and 2019 to 2020
- Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) inequality in early career research in the UK life sciences
- Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) ethnicity and race inequity in our portfolio: findings of our community engagement and actions for change