Archives for posts with tag: diversity

olympics imageI thought it was particularly apt with the current fantastic success for team GB at the Rio Olympics that I talk about ‘Going for gold’. Only I’m not talking really about how we can win Olympic gold medals, but actually awards for improving the research environment for our early career researchers at the University.

All this talk of ‘winning gold’ at the moment had me wondering how many of our researchers actually realise the huge amount of time and effort some of their colleagues are giving to improve the research and career environment for them both at department and university level.

When I say the words ‘research environment’ many people often think about the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2014 which contained an assessment of the research environment via a narrative containing information on a unit’s research strategy, people (staff and students), income, infrastructure, facilities and collaboration. But this isn’t the only process a University is involved in to recognise and encourage development of the research environment… Read the rest of this entry »

Unconscious bias is a type of unintentional bias that all of us ‘suffer’ from (even the most scientifically-minded and critical thinking academics!). It refers to a psychological phenomena, that we are unaware of, where our brain’s perception of other individuals plays tricks on us. Our brain as an effective processing machine, fires rapid decisions, makes short cuts on how we perceive and assess others. Howard Ross calls it the “human danger detector”. It’s not that we are either good or bad people in the way we judge others, it’s just that our brain has to process so much information that it has evolved mechanisms to make things easy in processing information. But the bug is, that it may not always help us make the right decisions.


Unconscious bias makes us look at others through our own specific lenses

Psychologists have extensively researched unconscious bias. Tests have even been developed to unearth and measure such biases. The term implicit bias is also used to describe such biases, once individuals become aware of them. The most commonly known test regarding unconscious bias is the Harward test, which measures different types of associations we make- you can test yourself with Project Implicit: Read the rest of this entry »

This is a guest post from Suzy Firkin, an Associate Consultant for WISE on such topics as gender diversity, coaching and mentoring. WISE helps organisations to inspire women and girls to pursue STEM subjects as pathways to exciting and fulfilling careers. Their aim is to get 1 million more women into the STEM sector by 2020, boosting the talent pool to drive economic growth. 

Wise Logo Just recently research Fellowships have been tapping at my consciousness and I felt compelled to write a line or two about two excellent schemes that really aim to make a difference to the diversity of the STEM academic community.

At the recent WISE Awards Ceremony I was privileged to meet Dr Katie Perry of the Daphne Jackson Trust. (Daphne Jackson was the first female physics professor in the UK). Katie was being recognised at the ceremony for her inspirational leadership of the trust who offer unique fellowships designed to return scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians, who have had a career break of more than two years for family, caring or health reasons, back to research. During the last 10 years the Daphne Jackson trust has helped 250 STEM researchers return to their careers; 9 out of 10 have been women.

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