Daphne Jackson Trust response to Governments Report into Diversity & Inclusion in STEM

Dr Katie Perry, Chief Executive at the Daphne Jackson Trust, was asked to give oral evidence to the Science and Technology Committee on “Diversity and inclusion in STEM”.

The Science and Technology Committee has since released a NEW report : Diversity and inclusion in STEM.

The Trust is pleased to note the publication of the STC report into D&I in STEM welcomes the wide range of recommendations within. In particular, we are pleased that the report highlights the following:

  • STEM-related roles are an important part of the UK labour market – the benefits of improved D&I are clear;
  • one key driver for improving D&I in academia is to address the precarious nature of many contracts in STEM academia as a matter of urgency. In particular, we are pleased that the comments made by Dr Katie Perry, Chief Executive of the Trust, relating to the specific challenges for researchers returning from career breaks due to parental leave or caring reason are highlighted within the report:

    “Highly qualified and skilled individuals that temporarily step back from the research area can find themselves lagging behind their peers due to a lack of recent research outputs, being perceived as behind the curve in knowledge and technical skill and a lack of self-confidence. When seeking to return to work, they often struggle to find research-based employment that fully utilises their knowledge and experience. Many leave their preferred profession entirely or are forced to take jobs outside of their areas of expertise and below their skill level”

    (contractual conditions 130);

  • improving D&I in STEM should be part of the mission of the new Dept for Science, Innovation &Technology and, in its response to the Report, the Government should detail how the newly created DSIT intends to drive greater levels of D&I across the UK’s STEM sectors;
  • Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser’s statement that “high quality research and innovation needs diversity”;
  • the limitations imposed on D&I progress in STEM arising from limitations in comprehensive data collection – improved data collection and the application of lessons from it are key to addressing under-representation;
  • the discriminatory working environment which some STEM researchers face;
  • the attrition of certain groups in STEM academia at each stage of the journey from HE into doctoral, postdoctoral and senior research roles;
  • UKRI must use the publication of its EDI strategy, and the multi-year funding settlement from the Spring 2022 Budget, as a launchpad to promote D&I across the research sector

The Trust notes and endorses the Committee’s observations relating to the Women in Scientific Careers inquiry held by the STC’s predecessor Committee in 2013-14. The Trust was a written and verbal contributor to the report and was highlighted in the final recommendations (No 28) as an organisation which should receive increased support.

We share the Science and Technology Committee’s frustration that so little has changed despite a plethora of initiatives.

We are pleased to note that the Trust’s comments – that much remains to be done – is referenced in the report. We hope to see more investment in charities and initiatives such as the Daphne Jackson Trust.

Help us to continue to support and champion a better work/life balance to a modern-day research workforce by doing these four things:

1. Tell three people about Daphne Jackson Fellowships.
2. Ask research funders how they are supporting returners…and if they aren’t then we are here to help them!
3. Ask us to put you on our list for event invitations, come to an event to meet a Fellow and you will see first hand why this matters so much.
4. Read our Impact Report, and please follow us on social media!

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