Northern Power: Making Engineering and Physical Sciences Research a Domain for All in the North of England

Lead Research Organisation: Durham University
Department Name: Vice Chancellor's Office

Abstract

Our vision, as a consortium of nine Universities and six Industrial Partners, is to shape an actively inclusive culture in the Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPS) community that supports, drives and sustains greater equality for all, including traditionally under-represented groups (e.g., women, disabled people, LGBT+, and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) researchers). Having identified seven critical challenges to this vision (lack of role models; a leaky pipeline; inequity in opportunities; lack of synergy in initiatives; lack of understanding of barriers by some senior leaders; poor data; and poor analysis of progress), we outline six activities designed to address them: shared-characteristic mentoring; reverse mentoring; an on-line networking platform; leadership and networking development; collaboration with industry; better data capture; and better analysis. The critical feature of this bid is that we will pool opportunities and experience across our consortium to better meet the needs of groups underrepresented in EPS. As a result of this inclusive culture, a wider pool of talented individuals will be able to successfully progress within the EPS community and these resulting diverse perspectives will ultimately produce better science to address complex and important global challenges.

HEI partners: Durham University, Lancaster University, Leeds Beckett University, Newcastle University, Northumbria University, Teesside University, University of Huddersfield, University of Hull, and Leeds University.

Industrial Partners: Atom Bank, Stanley Black and Decker, IBM, GTN Ltd., Northumbrian Water Ltd. and SAGE.

Our consortium of nine HEIs, from a wide base but all based in the North of England, and six industrial partners, from a range of EPS-facing domains, are all committed to continuous improvement with regard to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in EPS. Our aim is to take a collaborative approach, drawing together resources, opportunities, experience and best practice to build a consolidated arena within which to influence change. By pooling our resources we will be able to meet the needs of groups under-represented in EPS more effectively.

By the end of the project we will have:
- a better understanding and awareness of the barriers and challenges facing under-represented groups within the EPS community.
- an assessment of interventions which aim to improve the representation of groups, currently under-represented within EPS. Critically this will also include a robust evaluation to understand the conditions under which things work well and don't work well for different communities.
- Our proposal is that these interventions will result in groups under-represented in EPS having: a greater willingness to act as mentors; a greater motivation to apply for promotion and grants; a desire to take on leadership roles; a great awareness of role models; a stronger sense of belonging within the North of England's EPS community, and the EPS community in general; and better links with industry.
- established and shared best practice with regard to developing inclusive EPS communities from HEIs and industry (and beyond) with HEIs, research councils, industry and policy makers through seminars, publications and an online platform.
- This will result in HEIs and industries sharing, changing and introducing policies to adopt this best practice.

Longer term legacy impact will be seen in: changes to practices (such as training) and policies within the consortium and beyond; establishment of best practice which will be disseminated so that other key stakeholders adopt it; a more inclusive environment within the EPS community, demonstrated by a more diverse staff and student base including within senior roles; and adoption of this best practice beyond the EPS community.

Planned Impact

The proposed initiative will have a significant impact across the engineering and physical sciences community and beyond. The proposed impact can be articulated as follows:

- Increased collaboration outside of one's institution: Dissemination and sharing of best practice through joint Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) initiatives. Established network of institutions and industry, as well as a programme of events and networking.

- Increased awareness of the challenges and opportunities faced by groups under-represented in EPS within the region: This will be achieved through cross-institutional networking, mentoring and through the dissemination and sharing of best practice.

- Increased proportion of female, BAME, disabled people and LGBT+ promotions: During this programme we will seek to increase the number of females and people from these wider under-represented groups willing to take on senior academic and leadership positions across the engineering and physical sciences (EPS) community.

- Increased opportunities: The online network will offer an inclusive platform which will provide for, and engage with, people with different learning preferences, highlighting opportunities across institutions, including EPS-focused seminars and support for collaborative funding bids.

- Diverse staff and student community: This initiative will provide a supportive and inclusive environment through mentoring where staff will be empowered, by promoting innovation and leadership.

- Culture change: We will aim to shape an actively inclusive culture in the EPS community (academic and beyond) through a consolidated arena within which to influence change. We will measure this activity and provide a detailed report that will be published, outlining what impact each element of this initiative has had on improving EDI within the EPS. Successful pilots delivered within this could be rolled out to wider EDI work across UKRI.

It is critical that this short-term investment has a legacy which supports long-term cultural change most notably for the HEIs and Industrial Partners involved in this bid, but also beyond. We intend to do this by joining with the other successful bids within the EPSRC's Inclusion Matters Call, along with the EPSRC itself. Having this capacity of work across the 'Inclusion Matters' Call which supports the EDI strategic objectives allows for an effective engagement with significant stakeholders including: learned societies, other research councils and funders, other industrial partners, and policy makers.

Longer term legacy impact will be seen in: changes to practices (such as training) and policies within the consortium and beyond; establishment of best practice which will be disseminated through a variety of methods, so that other key stakeholders will be able to adopt it; a more inclusive environment within the EPS community, demonstrated by a more diverse staff and student base including within senior roles, grant capture across a diverse community, and adoption of this best practice beyond the EPS community.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title WP1 - Mentoring Training Course 
Description Online mentoring course comprising 12 training videos 1 mentoring guide handbook, taxonomy, quizzes, resource links and 12 self assessment activities 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2019 
Impact currently in sue to be reviewed at the end of the project. 
URL https://northernpowerinclusion.com/course/view.php?id=3
 
Title Privacy Notices, Participant Information Sheets and Agreements - all workstream activities 
Description Participant documentation for each workstream activity. Privacy Notices, Participant information Sheets, Participant Agreements. 
Type Of Material Data handling & control 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact This project involves collection of personal and special category data. The documentation ensures GDPR compliance and ensures that participants are fully informed when giving agreement to participate. Documents are accessible online in the project website. 
URL https://northernpowerinclusion.org/shared-characteristics-mentoring/
 
Description Collaboration Meeting 06 February with STEM Equals 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact STEM Equals / Northern Power collaboration and partnership engagement 6th February 2o20 identify collaboration opportunities, to capture, exchange practice between institutions and projects, facilitate partnership working to embed good practice across institutions
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Inclusion Matters workpackage 5 - on-line coaching sessions, Communicating with industry to initiate collaboration 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Series of on-line coaching sessions (2 x 90 mins per participant) for 36 participants from EDI groups exploring and developing participants strategies for initiating engagment with potential industrial collaborators.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Inclusion Matters Workshop 1 - 20 March 2019 Swindon 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Wider dissemination of the project with other EPSRC projects - Poster and engagement sessions with stakeholders (led by Rachel Archbold) to discuss projects aims, identify shared interests and establish networks and collaborations on shared activity (Reciprocal mentoring) to maximise impact.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Inclusion Matters Workshop 2 - 13.2.2020 Edgbaston Birmingham 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Wider dissemination of project with stakeholders, presentation on project progression, engagement with partners through break out sessions to facilitate information sharing across institutions on activities including web platform, industrial collaboration and Reciprocal Mentoring
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Inclusion Matters work package 5; EDI in Engineering & Physical Sciences Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Attendees; 19 study participants plus 9 industrial collaborators
Outline content;
Personal Stories, Imposter Syndrome, EDI Data, Role of Privilege, Active Bystander.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Inclusion Matters work package 5; Understanding Personal Branding for Academics Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Attendees; 16, inc four non-academic speakers
Outline; Understanding Personal Branding for Academics Workshop
Personal Branding, Branding as a Component of Career Adaptability, Presenting a Brand and Branding a Research Profile.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Inclusion Matters workpackage 5 online workshop - Collaborating with Industry, Experience, strategy and guidance 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Facilitated workshop for researchers from underrepresented EDI groups where the lived experiences of an established researcher from an underreprested group were used to illustrate strategy and give guidance.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Inclusion, Diversity and Equality; Advancing a culture of excellence in Higher Education - 08 February 2019 Huddersfield 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation on the Project by Claire Warwick. EDI event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.evensi.uk/inclusion-diversity-equity-advancing-culture-excellence-higher-education-unive...
 
Description Launch Event - 24 September 2019 (HEI and Industy partners) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The event was staged to formally launch participant recruitment to the project and drive engagement across all the University and Industry partners. Around 65 participants attended, including project participants from under-represented groups, and people in leadership roles and Equality and Diversity leads across the piece. Advisory Board members were also in attendance. There were presentations from key speakers around EDI in HEIs and Industry. and an exhibition area where workpackage leads showcased the various activities in the project and encouraged sign up from the various participant groups. The event was hosted at Siemens Gamesa in Newcastle.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.dur.ac.uk/equality.diversity/inclusionmatters/imlaunchevent/
 
Description Monthly Project Newsletters - electronic circulation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Monthly project Newsletters. These are a communication channel to all involved in the project and for wider circulation across partner organisations. Content includes project progress reports from all workstreams, publicising upcoming events, features on Workstream teams, need to know information.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Online Networking Platform 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Development of the Online Platform for the project which acts as a hub and supports the delivery of the 'Online Networking' objective in the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020
URL https://northernpowerinclusion.com/login/index.php
 
Description Project Website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Project website promoting the activities and providing a link to the Online Survey Registration.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://northernpowerinclusion.org/
 
Description STEMM Change - Annual Conference. 14 November 2019, London 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Royal Society of Chemistry London - presentation on Northern Power activity, focus on Reciprocal Mentoring activity and approach. Dissemination of information to partners and wider representatives from across EPSRC community and associated research institutions. Demonstration of the Project Platform.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.stemm-change.co.uk/events/