Equality and diversity

“Everyone has a right to be treated with dignity and respect, and to be provided with opportunities to flourish and succeed in a supportive environment.” (UKRI Strategic Prospectus 2018)

UKRI have a clear ambition for the UK to be the most diverse, inclusive and fair research environment in the world. Over the five years from 2018-2023, this vision will be delivered as a key priority across all its component parts.

​Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) is an important part of NERC's responsible business commitments. This means that we have a responsibility to ensure that our employees feel welcomed, included and valued, that we are challenging discriminatory or biased behaviour, and that we are funding the best of the best, regardless of their background.

Read UKRI's equality, diversity and inclusion policy.

Find out more about UKRI’s approach on the UKRI EDI webpage or below.

UKRI External Advisory Group for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

UK Research and Innovation are working with an External Advisory Group to identify priority areas and improve outcomes in the area of equality, diversity and inclusion. Chaired by ESRC’s Executive Chair, Professor Jennifer Rubin, with Dr Karen Salt as the Advisory Group Deputy Chair, the group brings together national and international experts from the public, private and charitable sectors.

UKRI Evidence Reviews

As the largest public funder of research and innovation, UKRI are committed to transforming research and innovation environments in order to ensure that they are safe, open and inclusive.  In December 2019, UKRI published two evidence reviews on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Conducted by Advance HE, these will inform the evidence-based approach we take to this area.

Read the UKRI UK EDI Evidence Review

Read the UKRI International EDI Evidence Review

Diversity data for all seven research councils

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has published its first set of harmonised diversity data for all seven research councils for the past five academic years. This data will continue to be published annually, replacing the previously published individual datasets (PDF, 885KB).

The dataset contains data on four protected characteristics (sex, age, ethnicity, disability) for:

  • Principal Investigator (PI) and Co-Investigator grant applicants and awardees
  • Fellowship applicants and awardees
  • PhD studentship starts

Find out more and access the data.

Understanding our past

We acknowledge and recognise that the NERC and the environmental sciences as a whole have historical links to colonialism and imperialism. Research undertaken and funded by NERC historically has been shaped by the views and culture of those involved. 

AHRC and NERC are co-funding a new research call, Hidden Histories of Environmental Science, to explore how the future of modern environmental science can be informed by the past, in particular the relationship between the sector and its underpinning colonial history, and how different cultural perceptions of environmental science can be incorporated today. 

Collaborative Inclusivity

As the nation’s leading environmental science research funder, we know at NERC that we have a role in working to change equity, 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.

Read the full report: Advancing equity, diversity and inclusivity in the environmental sciences