Imperial College London

International group of researchers call for action on diversity in science

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People wearing labcoats and walking single file on a rainbow backdrop

Image credit Andy Brunning/Compound Interest

A group of 30 academics have published an article outlining the necessary steps to improve diversity, equity and inclusivity in science.

The paper was published by a diverse group of researchers from different backgrounds and at different stages of their career, ranging from PhD candidates to a Nobel Prize winner.  

In ‘Catalyzing change – a diverse view of science’ they call on scientific leaders to drive the change needed to create inclusive cultures within research institutions, saying that they must ‘value diversity not only in words, but also in actions’.

The authors say that the starting point should be removing confusion around definitions relating to diversity, equity and inclusivity (DEI), which can prevent a clear pathway to progression being implemented. To aid this, they provide several definitions for key terms, such as ‘implicit bias’, ‘microaggressions’ and ‘marginalised scientists’. 

They go on to outline four areas where action is vital to creating significant and long-term change: identifying and quantifying inequity, supporting marginalised scientists, expanding and redefining excellence, and inclusion in the publishing space. Where efforts have previously tended to focus on consequences, they say that change in these areas is vital to eliminating systemic discriminations and implicit bias in academia.

Professor Magda Titirici, Chair in Sustainable Energy Materials in the Department of Chemical Engineering, is one of the co-authors. She said:

“It is such a joy to see our collective efforts to send a strong message on the importance of creating more inclusive cultures in research institutions across the globe come to fruition. I am grateful to my colleagues for their extensive input into shaping this commentary paper and I am very proud to have been a part of this incredibly fulfilling project.

“It is so rewarding to be a scientist and we must do our best to make it an inclusive space where people from all backgrounds can explore the full range of exciting career prospects open to them.”

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'Catalyzing change – a diverse view of science' is available in Chemical Science, Journal of American Chemical Society, Angewarntde Chemie and Nature Chemistry. A Q&A with each of the authors will also be published on the Nature Chemistry Community website

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Sara West

Sara West
Department of Chemical Engineering

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Email: sara.west@imperial.ac.uk

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