Evaluating the impact of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) research

13 June, 2023

Anuja Saunders

Reading time: 3 minutes

We’ve examined CREDS EDI data to build a body of information against which future benchmarking comparisons can be drawn.

One of the shortcomings of EDI work carried out in workplaces can be that policies and statements are drawn up and initiatives and interventions take place, but very little evaluation is undertaken. Sometimes it seems the mere performance of the thing is the goal itself, or the general warm feeling of ‘doing something’ is seen as sufficient.

As part of our commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at CREDS we decided to examine some of the data which exists within the organisation. In particular, we were keen to collect and report on available data metrics in order to start to build a body of information against which future benchmarking comparisons can be drawn.

We looked at the male/female split of speakers at CREDS events. Being platformed and visible is an essential aspect of building an academic career. If opportunities always go to the usual individuals, or favouring one group over another, this can help to perpetuate the lack of diversity in the research community as a whole. We examined all CREDS-hosted events at which there were speaking or presenting opportunities between the beginning of the project in 2018 until the end of 2022.  Our review revealed that there was no discernible bias at work within the CREDS culture and the number of female speakers was largely in line with the proportion of women in CREDS itself.

Understanding EDI and creating a positive working culture

The second piece of analysis we conducted was on a consortium-wide survey into attitudes about EDI. This follows on from a similar survey conducted at a Whole Centre Meeting in 2020. We were interested to see whether experiences and perceptions about EDI at CREDS had changed and in particular to see whether EDI initiatives had been useful or well-received.

In summary, we found that there was broad support for the EDI work undertaken at CREDS with most respondents stating that it had contributed to their understanding. People reported that CREDS had a positive working culture with few reports of bullying or harassment.

Collecting and comparing EDI data

The work also highlighted the importance of collecting the right EDI data at the inception and throughout the life of a large research centre such as CREDS. Being able to report across a range of protected characteristics such as race and sex would be useful, and it would be even better to be able to go further with an examination of things like socio-economic background. This data can help to inform whether the perceived homogeneity within the energy research sector is in fact true, and to identify where specific improvements can be made.

In addition, it would have been interesting to compare our results to other similar projects such as UKERC, but a lack of data and/or different reporting measures made this difficult to do. We hope therefore that the data upon which we have reported will form a useful resource for future comparisons in our sector.

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