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Reimagining STEM Research Culture

What are the barriers to an inclusive STEM culture? What prevents under-represented groups from progressing in their STEM research careers?

Led by Dr Jenny Spiga from the Department of Physics, this project was designed to highlight underrepresentation in STEM of women, disabled people and those from ethnic-minorities or socially-disadvantaged groups, and identify STEM-specific barriers and challenges for inclusive representation.

Longer term, the work hopes to contribute to a culture that supports the development of strong identities and academic mindsets to underrepresented groups in STEM research.

The project in numbers

The project comprised:

  • 10 regional webinars

  • 1 global concluding symposium

  • 50 speakers

  • 700 registered attendees

  • 600 YouTube views (as of September 2022)

Project deliverables

The project collated a library of resources.

This consisted of 100 entries referring to international policies, initiatives, events, projects, interventions and practices delivered across the world in the last 20 years (2002-2022) for equitable and inclusive access and participation in STEM, both in academia and industry.

Suggested measures

As a result of the research, Dr Spiga and her team developed a list of suggested measures for improving STEM culture in academia, and overcoming barriers faced by under-represented groups:

  • Develop new policies (i.e. to financially support women after a career break)

  • Create inclusive working environment (i.e. meeting people with disabilities’ needs)

  • Develop a pool of mentors

  • Create underrepresented groups networks

  • Produce and share videos of scientists to serve as role models

  • Improve access to and participation in research, for people from currently underrepresented groups

  • Tackle bullying and harassment

  • Improve research leadership skills across all career stages

  • Create routes for collaboration and exchange with businesses and government

  • Diversify recruitment at all career stages

Next steps

Following on from the above, the team will now develop a research showcase day, developing mentoring and training events and create a Warwick-INWES research culture hub - to include videos and case studies.

Image credit: Hollis Photography