CREDS EDI Survey 2023

A survey of attitudes and experiences of EDI within CREDS to date has informed our procedures and operations, including events and criteria for calls.

In June 2020 we conducted a survey at a Whole Centre Meeting to investigate attitudes and experiences of EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) at CREDS to date. The results of this were published internally within the programme and used to inform the work of the EDI Working Group as well as the procedures and operations of how the centre is run (Core team) including events and criteria for calls.

As we move into the final stage of CREDS we thought it would be valuable to survey our consortium population once again to see if attitudes and experiences have changed, and, in particular, to gather feedback about the effectiveness of some of the EDI focused initiatives that have taken place at CREDS in the intervening period. These initiatives are documented in section 4 of our Annual Reports.

The questions we asked were a mixture of some of those previously posed, in order to make useful comparisons, and new questions to gain additional insights. We included multiple choice questions as well as the opportunity for free text to encourage participants to elaborate on their answers.

Response rates

The survey conducted in 2020 received 52 responses, the survey in 2023 received 45 participants.


Overall there was a positive response to the way that Equality, Diversity & Inclusion is approached at CREDS. The prevailing view is that it is a topic taken seriously from senior management onwards, and there was a good response to specific EDI initiatives which have been undertaken. Other views expressed that the balance within the Centre is right, with EDI playing a constructive, advisory role.

The culture described by most respondents was one of openness and participation. CREDS’ goal to highlight the importance of EDI within research was met, but our survey identified scope for this to be developed further in future projects.


We asked:

  • Thinking about CREDS overall, in your opinion, how dedicated is CREDS to EDI issues?

The original survey showed that 78.8% felt that CREDS was dedicated or very dedicated to EDI.

The 2023 survey found that this figure was now 88.8 %

Figure 1: Very dedicated 11 (24.4%); Dedicated 29 (64.4%); Neither dedicated nor not dedicated 3 (6.7%); Not dedicated 0; Not dedicated at all 0; Don’t know 2 (4.4%).

The responses to the free text questions revealed that there was a very positive attitude to EDI within CREDS in general. There was a view that EDI was visible and included at events, in communications and at meetings. There was a recognition that ‘money and brain power’ was invested in EDI and that it was part of the culture from the ‘director down’. Particular aspects were mentioned such as the ECR flexible funding, the Amplify website, and dedicated EDI resources. A a few participants also mentioned that the balance of input was about right in that EDI was addressed ‘well but doesn’t overdo it.’  There were comments which drew a distinction between EDI at the centre of CREDS and the extent to which these principles filter down into the individual themes and institutions, with concern that underlying structures which perpetuate inequity still persist.


Academic institutions and research projects are often hierarchical environments which can limit the ability of people at all levels to contribute effectively.

We were interested to understand whether CREDS members felt that their voice could be heard within the programme, both at an individual team level and as part of the wider CREDS community.

We asked:

  • Thinking about CREDS overall, do you feel that you can make your voice heard?

In 2023, 2.2% (1 participant)  chose the answer ‘little’.  46.7%  chose the option ‘somewhat’.  ‘A great deal’ or ‘much’  accounted for 51.1 % . In 2020 7.7% said they could make their voice heard ‘little’, although 59.6% chose ‘a great deal’ or ‘much’ at that time.

Figure 2: A great deal 10 (22.2%); Much 13 (28.9%); Somewhat 21 (46.7%); Little 1 (2.2%); Never 0; Prefer not to say: 0.

We asked:

  • Thinking about those with whom you work most closely on a day-to- day basis within CREDS, do you feel you can make your voice heard?

This question showed some improvement on 2020 with no one choosing the option of ‘little’ or ‘never’. In 2020 ‘little’ was selected by 1 participant. However, there was a slight drop in those choosing the top 2 responses with 80 % in 2023 and 86.5% in 2020.

Figure 3: A great deal 20 (44.4%); Much 16 (35.6%); Somewhat 8 (17.8%); Little 0; Never 0; Prefer not to say 1 (2.2%).

Many comments spoke of having good working relationships and great colleagues. For example, ‘I have always felt free to say what I think might be relevant’, or that their team ‘works openly and well together.’  There were comments about the operation of flat structures or ‘non-existent hierarchies‘ which were seen to encourage wide participation. One comment also mentioned ‘the phenomenal blogging culture’ which gave the opportunity to communicate widely. There were several mentions about ‘well run’ Whole Centre meetings which allowed for extensive participation. There were some comments about the size of the centre making it challenging – the sense that a big consortium means that there are many people competing to be heard. One comment mentioned that in a large group ‘cliques’ can form and this can present difficulties in getting one’s voice heard.

Evaluating our activities and initiatives

We were interested in gaining feedback on whether our EDI led activities had made an impact with our consortium members, and whether they have been helpful either within the context of their research or their own career journey or understanding.

We asked:

  • Has CREDS contributed to your understanding of EDI in relation to how you conduct your research?
Figure 4: Yes 14 (31.8%); Somewhat 22 (50%); No 6 (13.6%); Don’t know 2 (4.5%).
  • Has CREDS contributed to your understanding of EDI in relation to how you communicate your research?
Figure 5: Yes 14 (31.8%); Somewhat 20 (45.5%); No 9 (20.5%); Don’t know 1 (2.3%).
  • Has CREDS contributed to your understanding of EDI as it relates to your own workplace?
Figure 6: Yes 17 (37.8%); Somewhat 16 (35.6%); No 11 (24.4%); Don’t know 1 (2.2%).

Across the 3 questions, more people tended to understand and view EDI as it relates to them in their workplace. EDI is traditionally viewed and often practised as an extension of HR, touching as it often does on issues around workplace conduct and career development. At CREDS we recognised that opportunities exist to expand this understanding and encourage researchers to recognise the importance of EDI considerations in the selection, scoping, conduct, and communication of their research. We were keen to shift the dial in this area.

The answers show that between 76-80% of respondents felt that the CREDS EDI work had contributed in some way to their understanding of how EDI relates to their research, either in the conduct of it, or the communication of it.  However, almost a quarter of respondents did not feel this. This is a key area of future effort for those working in EDI in energy research, and an important place for continued focus if EDI is to be taken out of the HR silo and integrated into the performance, practice, and impact of the research itself.

Bullying and harassment

Consistent with the previous data gathered in 2020, bullying and harassment is reported as being very low in CREDS, with 42 out of the 45 respondents saying that they have never experienced it.


We were interested to find out whether our consortium population did in fact engage with the EDI initiatives offered and, if not, what were the barriers or reasons for not doing so.

78% of respondents did not engage with the initiatives which addressed bullying and harassment.

The reasons given for not engaging were;

  • That people did not feel it to be necessary because they were not experiencing or concerned about bullying and harassment
  • Time constraints
  • Being new or relatively new to CREDS
  • Already participated in similar work place sessions run by their institutions.

We asked whether people had taken up the opportunity to shadow a CREDS executive meeting. This was an initiative put in place to encourage openness and participation, and to allow junior members of the consortium to see and be visible at a senior management meetings.

Results showed that 24.4 % of people did attend a meeting, however, 69% either did not take up the opportunity or were not aware of it. Those who chose not to do so cited reasons such as lack of time, or that they could not see the relevance or benefit of them doing so. One described that as an ECR, this seemed very ‘remote’.


EDI is a core value in CREDS, and has been so since the beginning of the project. Our efforts to embed EDI throughout the centre’s work, to see it included in Whole Centre Meetings, supported by senior management and dedicated significant resources has been recognised and valued by our research population. We have also taken a specific approach to be consultative and advisory in the way we talk about and integrate EDI, emphasising the importance of academic integrity and freedom.


Huebner, G., Higginson, S., Crawley, J., Fell, M., Ruyssevelt, P. (2021), Internal report on CREDS Consortium EDI and recruitment survey, CREDS.

Banner photo credit: Lisheng Chang on Unsplash