Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) is the practice of ensuring fair treatment for all. At UKERC, we aim to foster an inclusive culture that values diversity and maintains a working and social environment in which the rights and dignity of our staff, researchers, students, partners and stakeholders are respected. As an interdisciplinary research consortium, we are committed to involving diverse groups in the conversation around our future energy system.

The sections below outline our EDI policies and key contacts. It is important to note that as we are a consortium, we cannot enforce policies regarding training or recruitment at our participating institutions. However, we fully expect our partners to have undertaken diversity training, particularly in unconscious bias (and allyship if available), and to ensure that recruitment panels are diverse.

We are also committed to providing opportunities that advance diversity in energy. In November 2022, we will be running an inclusive writing retreat to help diversify the authorship of energy research publications. Applications are now open and will close on 30 September 2022; find out more here

EDI Plan

This document lays out our approach to EDI within the consortium. It has been approved by UKERC’s Co-Directors and UKRI. It will be reviewed annually by our EDI Champion and relevant HQ staff.

However, we recognise that UKERC is not as diverse as it should be. The Plan is therefore a ‘living document’ and we invite the wider community, particularly underrepresented groups, to provide feedback. We will consider all comments received. Please contact Amber Sawyer with any suggestions.

You can read UKERC’s EDI Plan here.

Key Contacts

HQ

UKERC’s EDI activities are managed by our Engagement Officer Amber Sawyer and Operations Manager Kajsa-Stina Longuere. Amber also manages the Whole Systems Networking Fund. Jessica Bays, our Head of Communications and Policy, is responsible for inclusivity in our communications. In early 2022, the HQ team will be joined by an Impact & EDI Officer who will also support our EDI work.

Research Programme

Four of UKERC’s Co-Directors sit on our sub-committee for EDI. Their role is to advise HQ on EDI activities. They are Jason Chilvers, Jianzhong Wu, Jillian Anable and Ronan Bolton.

Heather Baxter is UKERC’s first EDI Champion, a representative from our research programme who advocates for EDI across the consortium. Her primary role is to hold UKERC accountable to the pledges made in the EDI Plan. She is also a member of the Whole Systems Networking Fund Steering Group and works closely with HQ on EDI issues. If you have any concerns related to EDI in UKERC’s research programme, please contact Heather.

We also intend to set up an EDI Working Group in 2022 and will make their contact details available.

Complaints

Our complaints process is outlined in the EDI Plan under ‘Bullying and Harassment’. Complaints must be made via host institutional processes, but where the complaint arises from UKERC activities, please contact the Co-Director at the relevant institution for support. In their absence, or if they are involved, UKERC’s Director Rob Gross and Operations Manager Kajsa-Stina Longuere will ensure appropriate support.

Flexible and Remote Working

Our commitment to EDI extends to flexible working. We aim to enable all our staff and participants with caring commitments to join our events and fully engage with our activities.

If staff or participants require additional care arrangements to attend UKERC meetings or events, we will (within what is permissible under the constraints of our grant) seek to reimburse any expenses that go beyond ordinary care. This will be done in line with EPSRC’s guidelines for supporting carers. Please contact Kajsa for more details.

Many of us have been working remotely since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. While remote working has its benefits, we recognise it also brings many challenges (outlined in more detail in the EDI Plan). We therefore aim to model best practice in remote working by encouraging our staff to:

  • Only log on during their contracted hours.
  • Schedule meetings/events at inclusive times, i.e. during UKERC’s core hours of 10:00-15:00, being mindful of external circumstances like school holidays and religious festivals.
  • Be mindful of meeting/event length and include regular breaks to combat Zoom Fatigue.
  • Turn their cameras on while speaking/presenting so attendees can see their face and learn how to turn on captions, as this is inclusive of participants with disabilities or who are neurodivergent.
  • Blur their backgrounds or use virtual ones (provided images are appropriate for a work context) if it makes them more comfortable.