Equality and diversity and the research base

Equality, diversity and inclusion

Research England will work with key partners across UKRI, OfS, policy and the sector to collate and analyse data and evidence to inform understanding and activity to further equality, diversity and inclusion in the higher education research sector.

The former HEFCE actively engaged partners within the sector with a specific interests in equality, diversity and inclusion. Research England will continue to engage organisations and the sector in shaping its approach to equality, diversity and inclusion.

Research England will work across UKRI to support the delivery of the organisation’s Public Sector Equality duty demonstrating due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between different people in the design and delivery of our activities.

Equality and Diversity and REF

Research England, alongside the other UK higher education funding bodies, is committed to supporting and promoting equality and diversity in research careers. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel (EDAP) has been established to advise the UK higher education funding bodies, the REF team and the REF panels on the implementation of equality measures in the REF. Further information can be found here

Researcher Careers

Research England will continue to work with the other UKRI councils, OFS, policy organisations and the sector to understand the researcher careers ecosystem. Building on a diversity of evidence including work to understand widening participation in higher education, data analysis of sector profile, and a range of existing evaluative work Research England will continue to support sector understanding and policy development in this area.

The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers

The former HEFCE was a founding signatory of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers. The Concordat was launched in 2008 and is overseen by the Concordat Strategy Group whose members represent the major research funders and the university sector. Vitae leads on the management of the Concordat.

The Concordat is currently under review by an independent expert panel Chaired by Professor David Bogel (University College London). The 10 year anniversary of the Concordat presented a timely opportunity to consider how it may fulfil its intended purpose in the future.

Implementation of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers

Together with other UK higher education funding bodies and former Research Councils UK, the former HEFCE provided financial support to Vitae, the UK organisation which champions the personal, professional and career development of doctoral researchers and research staff. 

During 2011, the former HEFCE funded Vitae to carry out a project, entitled 'Every Researcher Counts', to help universities understand, prioritise and make visible equality and diversity among their researchers. This project formed part of the former HEFCE’s implementation strategy for the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers.

The aims of the project were to:

  • increase support for Principal Investigators in integrating equality and diversity into the management of research staff
  • raise awareness of equality and diversity and good practice in researcher development
  • promote culture change that is needed to improve equality in research careers.

The output was a suite of online resources within a Researcher Development Framework 

Data and analysis

Research England will continue to work with analysis of the Higher Education Statistics Agency student and staff record to inform policy development and practice.