The more we look at statistics involving diversity in STEM, the more it shows that increasing women and minority representation is a global issue. Lauren Couch, the head of diversity & inclusion at Wellcome Trust, along with University of Sheffield professors Sarah Salway and James Wilsdon connected to discuss this issue plaguing the United Kingdom and suggested new ways to improve the current status.
To begin, according to the trio, “across UK research, 44% of senior lecturers in bioscience are female, yet just 16% reach professor level. By and large, the profile of post-16 students taking STEM subjects maps onto the same ethnic and social groups as twenty years ago.” Obviously this lack of improvement is bad when considering the 28% drop off over the past 2 decades with little change.
To combat this, a new network has been introduced called EDIS (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Science and Health Research). The new program was developed by the Francis Crick Institute, Wellcome and GlaxoSmithKline and “aims to inspire and encourage the UK scientific community to make equality and diversity a top priority.”
According to The Guardian, the inaugural EDIS meeting brought together 250 leaders from across UK research with theoretical neuroscientist and entrepreneur Vivienne Ming outlining the latest innovations in diversity data, analytics, and interactive sessions on reverse-diverse mentoring and unconscious bias. In addition, “Wellcome is also publishing a review by a team from the University of Sheffield of the evidence for the benefits of a more diverse and inclusive biomedical and health research community.”
Improving diversity in science has been a trying experience globally for the past few years, but hopefully this renewed interest in the subject from both corporate and educational institutions alike will prove fruitful.