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BSI response to APPG on D&I in STEM report on diversity and inclusion in STEM workforce

20 July 2021

Today, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Diversity & Inclusion in STEM has published its findings on their inquiry on Equity in the STEM workforce. The inquiry aims to raise the profile of the challenges faced by minoritised groups in joining and staying in the UK’s STEM workforce and shine a light on positive initiatives and practices to address these disadvantages. The British Society for Immunology submitted evidence and is proud to support the report’s recommendations. We responded to the call for evidence by setting out three key recommendations around data capture for protected characteristics, the need for longer-term career options in academia and research and the widening inequity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response the British Society for Immunology has issued the following statement.

Professor Arne Akbar, President of the British Society for Immunology, said:

“Today, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Diversity and Inclusion in STEM has published a new report showcasing the findings of their 2020/21 inquiry on equity in the STEM workforce. Earlier this year, we consulted with our membership’s Forum and submitted evidence to this essential inquiry, setting out key recommendations to promote the inclusion and progression of people from diverse backgrounds in our sector.

“At the British Society for Immunology, we are proud to support this report from the APPG on Diversity and Inclusion in STEM and we call for urgent action driven by the UK Government to tackle the current widespread inequity in the STEM workforce. 

“The UK ranks first amongst the G7 nations for our research in immunity and infectious disease, but we can only maintain this strength if we recruit and nurture diverse talent in our workforce. It is by bringing together people from different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives that we can enable this pioneering work to proceed.

“As the report highlights, there are numerous barriers affecting every minoritised group along the career pathway in STEM, and they have been increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The worsening inequity that has resulted poses a pressing challenge to the creation of a diverse and inclusive environment in immunology and STEM as a whole, which will in turn hinder future innovation and excellence in the sector.

“It is imperative that the UK Government sets a multi-pronged approach to drive equity in the STEM workforce, working together with STEM organisations and their members. One of the effective measures that should be prioritised is addressing the lack of consistent data collection and sharing relating to EDI, focussing on a wide range of characteristics that can be analysed holistically. 

“The British Society for Immunology is currently working on a five-year diversity and inclusion strategy which will set out how we plan to support recruitment, retention and professional development of diverse groups in the immunology community at all stages in their career.”

You can find information on the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Diversity and Inclusion in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) ‘Equity in the STEM workforce’ report via the British Science Association website and download the full report here.