Community and culture
The Grantham Institute EDI committee established itself following conversations in 2019. The committee meets on a monthly basis.
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Equality, diversity and inclusion at the Grantham Institute
Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time and its effects are felt globally. The causes of climate change are disproportionately controlled by a minority of people privileged by wealth and power, and its impacts are most deeply affecting those without the resources to avoid it. The solutions to climate change involve wide-ranging changes across all of society, fully encompassing differing outlooks, approaches and motivations in order to be just and fair.
For these reasons, the Grantham Institute sets out to be a welcoming, diverse, and equitable place for all staff, students, affiliates, and stakeholders alike, and collaborate equitably with those who share our goals to affect positive environmental change.
We aim for equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) to be core values of all our community, and for EDI to be considered in every decision made whilst we work to achieve our Institute’s ultimate vision: inspiring and enabling people to create a zero carbon, climate-resilient world.
We seek to share and learn from others at Imperial College London and other research or higher education institutions. We aim for the Institute to be accessible and inclusive for all, and ensure that the Institute is mindful of the diverse perspectives and lived experiences relating to climate change, including vulnerable population in underprivileged positions. We see this as a continuous journey that is supported by an Institute-wide commitment to EDI. Important first steps have been made; many still have to follow.
Snapshot of things we have done so far to improve EDI at the Institute
To date the following steps have been taken within the Grantham Institute and our PhD programme, the Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet Doctoral Training Partnership (SSCP DTP) – updated May 2021.
List of actions… Things we have done so far
Decision making and awareness of EDI
We are working to ensure our decision making processes are more transparent and inclusive, and making EDI a key factor in decisions taken. We are annually reviewing the membership of Grantham Institute Advisory Board and EDI has been added as a standing agenda item at both the weekly Institute Management meetings, and the monthly Institute all staff meeting.
- EDI activities are now included in our biannual reporting to our funders and are now reported in internal and external newsletters for the DTP and Grantham Affiliates.
- Members of the EDI committee have met with the Diverse Sustainability Initiative to discuss benchmarking and reporting on EDI objectives.
EDI considerations are embedded in recruitment activities across the Institute in the following ways:
- Careful consideration is given to where we place our adverts. We follow College guidance to use the BBSTEM Jobs and Opportunities Board to raise the profile of our opportunities in order to reach a diverse pool of talent.
- We use Textio to ensure that adverts and job descriptions use gender and age neutral language.
- Where possible, we have started to anonymise applications.
- Recruitment panels are carefully selected to ensure diversity, and that they represent our diversity goals.
- In some instances, we hold pre-application sessions to meet potential applicants and offer advice or assistance with the application process.
Benchmarking and collaborating
- The committee are working with other departments, Institutes, and groups across College to investigate and benchmark what others are doing in this area.
- We are sharing information and ideas with others across College also working on EDI through the College’s EDI Teams site.
- Members of the committee recently provided information and ideas to NERC about how to remove barriers to participation in environmental science.
Training and education
- We will shortly launch our Women in STEM Seminar Series. The seminar series aims to give women in STEM a platform, to celebrate their research and professional work and discuss some of the challenges they may have faced in their career. The events will engage a wider PhD audience of not just women, but men as well, and encourage them to reflect on the speakers’ experiences as well as their own. We believe that hearing from a diverse range of speakers sharing their professional or personal (or both) experiences will inspire and empower our audiences to challenge stereotypes and celebrate their uniqueness. The seminar series will be bi-monthly, open to everyone, with a focus on Imperial PhD students.
- We are looking to organise a training session on the social and cultural history of climate change, open to all at the College.
- We are planning to run a vlog ‘a day in the life of…’ which will show those interested in doing a PhD what it is like and hopefully break down some barriers in perception.
- Student organisers of the Changing Planet seminar series are monitoring and aim to improve the diversity of speakers.
- The PhD programme is engaging in the various conversations regarding how to ensure the application process may be improved, including benchmarking our current students and other feedback.
- PhD programme managers are in conversations with the Graduate School to run Unconscious Bias training as part of induction week for new cohorts.
- We encourage PhD supervisors at our partner institutes to undertake the College’s EDI and Unconscious Bias training.
- The Grantham Institute is sponsoring undergraduate research experience placements for students from disadvantaged economic backgrounds. This is aligned to the NERC Research Experience Placement (REP) scheme, which addresses the shortage of individuals with quantitative skills coming into environmental science and the demographic and diversity-related challenges in the environmental sciences. The REPs focus on these quantitative skills gaps and underrepresentation by allowing undergraduate students to carry out research projects within the scope of the environmental sciences with a paid summer placement.
- Institute managers are reviewing the mandatory EDI training requirements for staff.
Celebrating London’s cleantech women innovators
8 March 2021
Grantham Institute is celebrating International Women’s Day 2021 and Women at Imperial Week by showcasing successful innovators and their work as part of London’s cleantech community. Communications co-ordinator Rosa Salazar Benazar interviewed four female founders who have been part of the Grantham Institute’s accelerator programme to share their views on this year’s International Women’s Day theme ‘Choose to Challenge’.
LGBT+ History Month blogs 2021
24 February 2021
In a special series to celebrate LGBT+ History Month, the Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment asked LGBT+ people to introduce themselves and talk about their experiences studying and working in higher education, and specifically climate change and environmental science.
My journey navigating STEM as a black queer male
3 August 2020
Atmospheric Physicist Dr Craig Poku from the University of Leeds blogs about his experiences as a black queer person in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths/medicine) and why he welcomes universities’ moves to protect minority groups in their communities from persecution in the course of their work.
Why Black Lives Matter for the Grantham Institute
5 June 2020
Professor Martin Siegert, Co-Director of the Grantham Institute, pledges support for the Black Lives Matter anti-racism movement and we suggest some practical actions, graciously borrowed from others, that we recommend for everyone in the climate and environment community to be anti-racist.
Judy Ling Wong CBE, delivers the Grantham Annual Lecture 2019
30 June 2019
Judy Ling Wong CBE, Honorary President of the Black Environment Network, Founding Trustee of the National Park City Foundation, painter, poet and environmentalist, delivered one of the highlights of our 2018-19 events calendar, and part of a programme of events celebrating the Mayor of London’s first ever London Climate Action Week.
Current and future activities
Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion seed fund
The Grantham Institute’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion committee recently won an Imperial Seed Fund Award. The project ‘Understanding routes to improving engagement with climate change and environmental issues by diverse groups of people’ aims to help us to get a better understanding of how diverse groups of people, both in the general public and amongst our key stakeholder audiences, engage with climate change and environmental issues. The project will be undertaken by student workers, under the management of Alyssa Gilbert, Simon Levey and Dr Morena Mills (Centre for Environmental Policy) by July 2021.