Concordat: equality and diversity

‘Principle 6: Diversity and equality must be promoted in all aspects of the recruitment and career management of researchers’

Institutional responses

  • Institutions have been active in addressing equality and diversity issues for researchers and research careers, particularly in response to the Equality Act, 2010
  • This is reflected in the interest and active participation in the HEFCE-funded Vitae project Every Researcher Counts
  • there has been a strong increase in take-up of the Athena Swan Charter for women in science

Researchers’ views

  • evidence from the Careers in Research Online Surveys (CROS) surveys consistently show that the vast majority (85% or higher) of research staff respondents believe that their institution is committed, as an employer, to equality and diversity, and in all cases the position has been maintained or improved since 2009
  • Statistical evidence from the Equality Challenge Unit suggests that there is still scope for improvement in terms of equality of opportunity in research careers. Women are under-represented in more senior research positions and minority ethnic groups are generally under-represented amongst researchers
  • There is clear evidence that organisational cultures in major research disciplines can discriminate against women and other under-represented groups. This is borne out by surveys of researchers views, for example around 18% of female research staff (CROS 2013) and 27% of female research leaders (PIRLS 2013) perceive less than fair treatment with respect to gender

Every Researcher Counts

  • the Every Researcher Counts project produced a pack of flexible equality and diversity training resources for use by principal investigators and staff developers
  • targeted briefings show the relevance of equality and diversity across the principles of the Concordat and highlight the benefits and actions for principal investigators, senior managers, and staff developers
  • Join our network of champions (senior managers, equality and diversity specialists, staff development professionals, careers specialists, principal investigators) to share understanding of how equality and diversity relates to building research capacity and enhancing the experience of research staff

Athena SWAN charter

The Athena SWAN Charter is a scheme which recognises excellence in Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) employment in higher education settings. Any university or research institution which is committed to the advancement and promotion of the careers of women in SET can apply for membership.

The beliefs underpinning the Charter are:

  • The advancement of science, engineering and technology (SET) is fundamental to quality of life across the globe
  • It is vitally important that women are adequately represented in what has traditionally been, and is still, a male-dominated area
  • Science cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of the whole population, and until women and men can benefit equally from the opportunities it affords