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Race equality and research funding — An Open Letter to UKRI

A number of colleagues have pointed out the recent publication of an Open Letter to UKRI on the subject of race equality and research funding, and asked for the University’s position on this.

The letter makes direct reference to a recent funding call which, as the letter says, “awarded £0 of £4.3 million to Black academic leads (in a UKRI and NIHR funded study) to explore Covid-19 and its disproportionate impact on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic ‘BAME’ communities”, adding “that UKRI confirmed that no equality data was collected on this call”. At Loughborough, we recognise that this is a serious issue and one that extends well beyond this single, albeit extreme, example. While acknowledging that UKRI themselves have talked openly about the need for action, we share the letter’s central theme that “it is time to review systems that perpetuate research inequity”. We implore UKRI to accelerate its plans for action and offer our support to achieve this.

As a University, we now examine a variety of research indicators, including our grant applications and awards data, by race, gender and disability, in order to help identify inequities at University or School level and devise supportive interventions. Your School’s Associate Dean (Research) can provide more information on this.

Colleagues can read the open letter on the Research Professional site or at the following site where those who wish to do so can also comment.

Professor Steve Rothberg, PVC (Research)

Richard Taylor, Chief Operating Officer