Introducing our new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Champion

25 May 2023

I’m very excited to be recently appointed as UKERC’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Champion.

UKERC aims to foster an inclusive culture that promotes equality, values diversity and maintains an inclusive working and social environment in which the rights and dignity of our staff, researchers, students, partners and stakeholders are respected. An EDI Plan has been put in place by the HQ team to match agreed policy with concrete action, enabling them to uphold their EDI commitments. My role as the EDI champion is to promote diversity throughout UKERC’s research programme and generate ideas for improving the EDI across the programmes.  I will hold UKERC to account on its EDI pledges and suggest changes to promote diversity within the consortium.

I have a strong belief in, and passion for, EDI and I have been the Athena Swan vice-lead for my college and member of the EDI working group of EPSRC Supergen Energy Storage Plus. I have also been a mentor for Aurora, which is Advance HE’s leadership development initiative for women. As a commitment, I always include EDI strategies in all projects and proposals I lead, which cover the recruitment of team members, the recruitment of participants for data collection, knowledge exchange, training and dissemination activities, as well as support for ECRs and underrepresented groups.

Identifying barriers

I will be working with the UKERC Theme Leads to identify barriers to EDI policy implementation, advising on the establishment of a support network for UKERC researchers from under-represented groups, and working with the HQ team to identify and pursue capacity building activities.

UKERC has a list of programmes and activities in place to support EDI in the energy space, with one example being the Whole Systems Networking Fund (WSNF). The WSNF is a unique research fund that seeks to improve EDI in energy research. It also seeks to widen participation across academic disciplines and sectors and offers ECRs a chance to gain experience of proposing and managing research projects.

Career development

Various career development activities have also been organised by UKERC HQ for early career researchers (ECRs), including a writing retreat, proposal writing and impact workshops, as well as training on engagement with policy makers and fellowship applications (sign up for this here).

With women making up less than 14% of senior management within energy and energy utilities globally, UKERC will continue to work with academic, government and industrial partners and to play a leadership role in improving the EDI in the energy space. It is my great pleasure to contribute to the EDI in energy research through the champion role at UKERC.

If you have any ideas regarding how we can improve EDI in energy research, or have any questions, please contact me directly.