Equality, Diversity, Inclusion & Accessibility

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Accessibility  

The Envision Doctoral Training Partnership is committed to enhancing Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (EDIA) in the Environmental Sciences by promoting EDIA within the research community. We look to recruit exceptional researchers from all backgrounds, regardless of age, (dis)ability or neurodiversity, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, faith or religious belief, pregnancy or maternity, parental or caring responsibilities or career pathway. We have implemented the following aspects to achieve these goals. 

Advocating Equity  

We understand that students come from a diverse range of backgrounds, experiences, and opportunities. Envision aims to ensure that everyone is treated equitably and that all are provided with the opportunity to succeed no matter their differences. Our research supervisors and students are trained in EDIA, and we implement and review our policies continuously.  

  • Our document “Recruitment advice for Envision supervisors” sets out best practice for recruiting PhD students to Envision projects.  
  • All Envision interviews include an independent panel member to ensure that interviews are conducted in an inclusive and accessible format. Interview panellists are provided with instruction to ensure fairness within the shortlisting process.  
  • During shortlisting, we aim to have a diverse panel of staff in charge of reviewing applications. These panels include academics of a range of ethnicities, experiences, (dis)abilities and genders.  

Diversifying the Field 

Envision students come from a wide range of backgrounds and our goal is to continue increasing diversity in the Environmental Sciences to not only reduce underrepresentation in research, but to also allow individuals to share different perspectives and experiences. This enables students to develop a range of ideas and skills broader than those they learn as part of their day-to-day training.  

  •  The Envision team, research supervisors, and students, bring a range of diverse perspectives and receive ongoing training and support to ensure that the Envision experience is fair, inclusive, and accessible.  
  • We recently launched Envision Outreach for Underrepresented Talent (Envision OUT), which aims to ignite school children’s excitement and understanding of the natural world through laboratory and field-based environmental science activities with Envision-created resources, students, and staff. This programme led by our EDIA Innovator, involves field days, school visits, creation of environmental science resources for schools, career days, and visits to research institutions.  

Inclusion in Research 

One of the hurdles to accessing a career in Environmental Sciences is unequal access to information about the who, what, why, when, and how to apply for PhD funding. We provide comprehensive resources to support applicants during this process. 

  • We offer guaranteed interviews to any students that have previously taken part in UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funded Research Experience Placements (REPs). This aims to diversify the talent pipeline from undergraduate level.  
  • We strive to assess our applicants according to their individual achievements rather than experiences. This ensures that individuals are valued irrespective of barriers that they may have previously faced accessing opportunities.  
  • To address historical imbalance, we aim to offer a future ‘preferred interview scheme’ for certain underrepresented groups of applicants that qualify for ‘home’ student status.  

Promoting Accessibility

We understand that Envision students are at different life stages, with varying levels of responsibilities, and have a range of abilities and neurodiversities. Therefore, we offer flexibility within our programme to help accommodate individual needs. 

  •  To aid understanding of the application process, we have created a short, captioned, applicant support webinar to provide a quick and accessible route to essential information. 
  • During the application period we host support webinars directed towards applicants from underrepresented backgrounds advertised on our webpage, twitter, and LinkedIn.  
  • Home applicants who fulfill widening participation criteria can apply to be mentored through the application process by current Envision students, who are paid for their time, and provided with training in EDIA.  
  • The UKRI web page details funding rules for instances such as part-time study, medical leave, and maternity/paternity entitlement, etc.  
  • Envision students can request workplace adaptations to accommodate additional needs. 
  • Attending in-person training can be logistically challenging, so we provide financial support to help with travel, accommodation and other expenses. We aim to ensure that everyone benefits from training and work closely with students to ensure that no one is excluded based on disability, neurodivergence, parental/caring responsibilities, or other reasons.  

Monitoring & Reporting 

Applicant data from all stages of shortlisting are collected and reported annually to our funding body, UKRI. These data are reviewed independently and used as a resource for improving EDIA. The 2023 EDI Audit examined Envision’s procedures, processes and datasets to provide recommendations for EDI improvements. 

Partner EDI Policies 

All Envision partners are committed to improving EDIA. See the links below for more details regarding our partner EDI policies: 

Envision Partner Awards 

Our partnership practices fair and equitable treatment of staff and students and hold external benchmarks, including ‘Disability Confident’; ‘Race Equality Charter’; ‘Investors in People’; ‘Stonewall Global Diversity Champions’, and ‘Athena Swan’.  

The University of Nottingham was the first UK university to achieve institutional Athena Swan Gold; Bangor University was recently awarded silver, and Lancaster University, British Geological Survey, and Rothamsted Research hold bronze. Athena Swan awards are also held by individual university departments.  

 Envision students join universities and institutions where EDIA issues are continually being surfaced, highlighted, and resolved. This in turn builds legacy in Envision students and alumni who take EDIA practice into future environmental sciences roles.