Leading the way: Increasing diversity in the scientific workforce

Leading the way: Increasing diversity in the scientific workforce

This project is investigating ways to remove barriers to entry, retention and progression within the scientific workforce. It focuses on gender, ethnicity, disability and socio-economic status.

Infectious disease

The project aims to discover, understand and reduce barriers of all kinds within education, training and employment related to science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine. It aims to cultivate leadership in the scientific community towards removing barriers to increased diversity.

We are particularly focused on individuals making key career transitions for example from further education to university or to the workforce or from one level within the workforce to another.

For the purposes of the project, the ‘scientific workforce’ is taken to comprise all those for whom their scientific knowledge, training, and skills are necessary for the work that they do. This includes full-time scientists, technologists, engineers and medical practitioners as well as those in careers requiring scientific knowledge, training and skills to some significant degree – such as school teachers, nurses, surveyors, actuaries, economists, programmers, statisticians, technical sales staff, pilots, divers, scientific administrators, journalists and others.

Background

“We must have an environment in which all scientists, including those from previously underrepresented groups, have an equal chance to excel. There is a way to go but I feel that this new programme is an important step in creating a richer and more diverse scientific workforce.”
Paul Nurse, President, Royal Society

A lack of diversity across the scientific community represents a large loss of potential talent to the UK. Restricted opportunity and diversity limits not only UK competitiveness and prosperity, but also vitality in the wider scientific workforce and creativity in society. Individuals from lower socio-economic backgrounds, certain ethnic minorities, women, and disabled people are all currently under-represented in education, training and employment related to science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine.

Steering Group

This project is led by a Steering Group of scientific and policy experts. Professor Dame Julia Higgins DBE FREng FRS is chair of the Steering Group.

Diversity at the Royal Society

We actively promote and increase diversity through our work.

Diversity Matters blog

We link to interesting posts about diversity in science on our blog.

Disability History Month

The diversity team brought together a series of online research profiles to raise awareness about scientific research in disability.