The RSS along with the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA), the London Mathematics Society (LMS) and the Edinburgh Mathematical Society (EMS) has written to the chief executive of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), to urge that the organisation does more to meet its equality, diversity and inclusion objectives.
In the letter to Dame Ottoline Leyser, RSS Honorary officer for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), Dr Eugenie Hunsicker, along with her co-signatories, point out that the draft UKRI EDI strategy is currently lacking in detail on how it will reach its EDI objectives. It gives ten recommended actions.
As the RSS has previously argued, grant submissions are often assessed by focusing on the status of the principal investigator (PI) rather than the quality of the research itself. This has been found to put women and minorities at a disadvantage.
The letter recommends that UKRI place greater emphasis in its instructions to reviewers on assessing the quality of the research itself. UKRI should also ensure that it does not use gendered language in its instructions to reviewers. As a further step, PI-blind initial screening should also be considered.
The letter stresses that more could be done by UKRI to understand the experiences of UK researchers and the Societies would be more than happy to assist with this. UKRI should consider sharing their data in a way that would allow the research community to examine the current funding system and interrogate any observed inequalities.
Read the letter in full