A consortium of nine universities, including the University of Hull, and six companies has received £591,463 aimed at boosting the representation of women, disabled people, LGBT+, and people from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds in Engineering and Physical Sciences in the North of England.
Engineering and the Physical Sciences contribute hundreds of billions of pounds to the UK economy each year, but people from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, women, LGBT+ and disabled people remain poorly represented across these sectors.
Research reveals women engineers and physical scientists are underrepresented in all grades, especially in senior academic posts. Unequal opportunities, paucity of role models from under-represented groups, and a lack of understanding among senior leaders as to the barriers these groups face all serve to compound and sustain a lack of diversity.
The partnership, led by Durham University, is embarking on an exciting new research project to tackle this issue in the North of England. Researchers hope that creating a more inclusive culture in the sector will lead to a more diverse talent pool and, ultimately, better science and engineering with which to address pressing global challenges.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council has generously provided funding for the two-year project, which is part of a wider £5.5m national initiative.
Professor Emma Flynn, Programme Director and Associate Provost at Durham University, said: “Engineering and physical sciences are vital industries. Yet, for too long there have been sections of our society that aren’t represented sufficiently within these sectors.
“This scarcity has serious consequences: not only is it bad for equality; it limits our collective ability to tackle some of the most pressing and complicated issues facing our world today.
“We hope this project, and the activities within it, will make a bold step towards a more inclusive culture in these regional sectors, a more diverse pool of talent and creative minds, and, ultimately, better science and engineering that will benefit us all.”