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Research culture won’t change through policy alone

Not even 1 per cent of professors in the UK are Black, only 20.5 per cent are women and over half of researchers say they have witnessed bullying and harassment in the workplace. Academia’s problem with diversity and inclusion is well documented, but bears continual repetition, especially now. The pandemic has hit Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities harder than white and, in professional terms, women harder than men, exacerbating existing inequalities.

The need for the sector to do much better is increasingly acknowledged, but well-meant words are yet to translate into meaningful reform. Science minister Amanda Solloway has frequently spoken of her desire to see research become a more inclusive environment. This week, in a powerful interview with our reporter Sophie Inge, she revealed that her drive to bring about this change comes, in part, from her own experience of bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace. 

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