Currently recruiting for an Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Accessibility Innovator. Closing date 14/03/24. Details here
Envision is committed to improving equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in the postgraduate community in environmental science and, having secured additional funding for this, an EDI Advocate spent 12 months during 2022-2023 working exclusively on achieving our aspirations in this area and providing a template for future improvements.
Our goal is to build a happy, diverse, and supportive community of students who can utilise the experience from their Envision projects to enable them to progress into successful careers. We strive to ensure that Envision students are selected fairly from diverse backgrounds, receive equal opportunity with access to accommodations where needed and are accepted in the scientific community.
We are committed to broadening the standard concept of academic excellence; our primary concern being student welfare. Our aim is to provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to make a real impact within the academic community and beyond.
What is Envision Currently Doing?
Our document “Recruitment advice for Envision supervisors” sets out best practice for recruiting PhD students to Envision projects. EDI issues are central to our ethos. Shared with all potential supervisors it is a living document, under regular review.
- An EDI Audit. This examined Envision’s procedures and processes, made recommendations for EDI improvements, and compared Envision’s EDI data to key datasets.
- An applicant support webinar. This live webinar provided increased transparency about the application process.
- An applicant mentoring scheme. Home applicants who fulfilled widening participation criteria could apply to be mentored through the application process; places on this scheme were allocated using a lottery system. Mentoring was carried out by current Envision students, who were paid for their time, and provided with training.
- Digital accessibility training. This was made available to all staff and students.
- Changes to our recruitment/interview process:
- Additions to interview guidance to improve accessibility, and transparency about upfront costs to international students
- More rigorous involvement from independent panel members
- Emphasis on considering safeguarding for students with protected characteristics at the project proposal stage
What Are Envision’s Future Plans?
Our ambitions are to increase equality, diversity and inclusion within the Envision DTP community and to drive greater diversity within the environmental sciences. To achieve this, we will focus on three key areas aimed at improving diversity within the Envision student cohorts to match more closely that of the UK’s population. We will strive to:
- increase the number of Envision students from UK ethnic minority groups
- expand the number of disabled students
- attract students from the full breadth of socioeconomic backgrounds
We will do this by:
- Using new application questions for the 2023/2024 recruitment-written with the aim of increasing transparency and allowing applicants to demonstrate their potential
- Running outreach activities to attract more students to environmental science, and to show that PhD’s are an option for students from underrepresented groups
Envision Partner Awards
All host partners are committed to advancing equality, as demonstrated through signing the Athena SWAN Charter, a framework used across the globe to support and transform gender equality within higher education and research.
- The British Geological Survey achieved a bronze award for Athena SWAN.
- The School of Ocean Sciences (2018), the predecessor environment school now incorporated into the School of Natural Sciences (2016) and Bangor University (2018) as a whole achieved a bronze award for Athena SWAN.
- Lancaster Environment Centre (2018) and Lancaster University (2008) as a whole have both received a bronze award for Athena SWAN.
- Rothamsted Research (2018) achieved a bronze award for Athena SWAN.
- UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology achieved a bronze award for Athena SWAN and is a Disability Confident employer.
- The Schools of Life Sciences, Geography, Biosciences and University of Nottingham (2018) as a whole achieved a silver award for Athena SWAN.