To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 23 October 2020 to Question 106337 on Research and Universities: Equality, what positive steps UKRI has taken to increase diversity in the peer review processes and advisory groups.
20 November 2020
As a steward of the research and innovation system, UKRI’s ambition is to nurture and support its communities recognising and valuing everyone in it. Evidence, diversity data and insight underpin UKRI’s approach to enable a dynamic, diverse and inclusive research and innovation system in the UK that is an integral part of society, giving everyone the opportunity to participate and to benefit.
UKRI are continuously working to improve our appointments process for advisory and peer review bodies to encourage a more diverse set of applicants and proactively include statements in adverts to increase representation for those that are under-represented on our councils and advisory boards. Additionally, within peer review UKRI aim to select as broad an expertise as possible, in terms of disciplinary background, career paths, ethnicity, diversity and inclusion, as well as host organisation.
UKRI undertake Equality Impact Assessments for our funding opportunities. UKRI have reviewed and made changes to their peer review processes in recent years to safeguard the process, including principles of fair peer review (https://www.ukri.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/UKRI-07102020-PrinciplesofAssessmentandDecisionMaking.pdf), and providing training to reduce the likelihood of bias in decision making.
UKRI continue to explore the use of new tools to broaden the pool of potential people to act as reviewers. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Inclusion Matters portfolio of 11 EDI projects includes work looking at the peer review process.