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Diversity Strategy


Diversity is an essential part of the Royal Society’s mission to recognise, promote and support excellence in science, and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity. A diverse and inclusive scientific community that brings together the widest range of talents, backgrounds, perspectives and experiences, maximises scientific innovation and creativity, as well as the competitiveness of the UK scientific industry.

As the UK’s national academy of science, engineering, technology and mathematics (‘STEM’), the Society is committed to increasing diversity in science by embedding diversity and inclusion into its activities and organisational culture, and by encouraging the participation of excellent scientists from under-represented groups.

The strategy for 2019-22 sets out how the Royal Society will use its convening power and leadership, in partnership with others, to increase diversity in STEM and support, create and develop a more inclusive scientific community. It builds on the aims and achievements of the previous diversity strategy 2015-18, as well as the strategic priorities and wider activities of the Royal Society.

Strategic objectives

  1. Maintain a culture within the Society that encourages and promotes diversity and inclusion.
    Continue to ensure that the Society promotes and encourages diversity among its own staff, the Fellowship, its grants schemes and all other aspects of the Society’s work.
  2. Identify and address barriers to participation in STEM.
    The Society recognises that women, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities and people from lower socio-economic backgrounds are currently under-represented in STEM education, training and employment. The Society will aim to continue to identify and combat barriers to participation and success for these groups.
    Whilst there is less data available on the proportion of other groups in STEM, for example, LGBT+ people, different religious groups and neurodiverse people, the Society recognises that these groups are likely to be under-represented in STEM and will therefore also work to identify and combat barriers to participation and success for these groups.
  3. Work in partnership to assess and maximise the effectiveness of diversity initiatives across the scientific community.
    The Society will continue to work closely with other academies, learned societies and organisations across the scientific community on diversity initiatives.
    The Society will, as a member, support the work of:
    - The Athena Forum, an independent Committee that provides an expert voice on issues of women’s career progression and representation in STEM; and
    - The STEMM Disability Advisory Committee, a cross-STEM collaborative group of professional bodies and learned societies that aims to strengthen the inclusion of people with disabilities in STEM education and employment.
    The Society will review its role as secretariat to STEMM DAC in 2020, and its role as secretariat to the Athena Forum in 2021.
  4. Recognise and champion the achievements of a wide range of scientists from underrepresented groups providing inspirational and relatable role models.
  5. The Society will continue to recognise and champion the achievements of a wide range of scientists from under-represented groups to: Inspire young people to consider a career in STEM and to see STEM subjects as a route to a broader range of careers;
    - Inspire scientists from under-represented groups who are currently working in STEM to stay and progress their careers in science;
    - Highlight the variety of working patterns in STEM to inspire people with other responsibilities, - including, but not limited to, family and caring responsibilities - to consider and progress careers in science.


    The Diversity Committee, a standing Committee of Council, will keep under review, and make recommendations to Council on, the diversity strategy. The Committee will also oversee the delivery of a programme of activities by the Society in line with this strategy.
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