UKRI Publishes Updated Diversity Data and Analysis

UKRI publishes its annual diversity data for 2020 to 2021 alongside analysis of responses to its consultation on EDI strategy.

UK Research and Innovation has published its latest annual report detailing diversity data relating to UKRI applicants and grant award holders. The data covers the 2020-21 financial year and adds to existing publications covering diversity data and detailed ethnicity analysis for the 2019-20 financial year.

The data is presented for three applicant roles: principal investigators, co-investigators and fellows and . This adds to 2014 to 2020 data already available to access on the UKRI website.

Key findings from the report are as follows:

  • For the first time, data on the intersection of age, ethnicity, and disability with gender is included. Breakdowns by gender and ethnicity show that white males received the largest percentage of awards as both principal investigators (PIs) and co-investigators (CIs), receiving 57% of PI awards and 49% of CI awards.
  • Representation of female grant holders overall was 28% for PIs and 33% for CIs. For both role types, this is below one benchmark for the wider UK academic population, at 42%. For fellows representation of female grant holders was above this benchmark, at 49%. Alongside the annual data release, UKRI is publishing three reports that further explore the challenges of under-representation within specific research communities, career stages and funding routes.
  • After the white ethnic group at 81%, the highest percentage of PI grant holders was from the Asian ethnic group, at 8%. The percentages of PI grant holders from the black, mixed, and other ethnic groups were lower, at 1%, 2% and less than 0.5% respectively.
  • The award rate for PIs was lowest for the black and other ethnic groups at 13% and 12% respectively. This compares with award rates of 29% for the white ethnic group, 23% for the mixed ethnic group and 21% for the Asian ethnic group.
  • The percentage of PI and CI grant holders reporting a known disability remains low, at 2%. This is below benchmarks for wider academic staff at 4% and the wider labour market (employed) population, at 13%.
  • Disability status was not disclosed for 6% of PI grant holders and 6% of CI grant holders. Ethnicity was not disclosed for 8% of PI grant holders and 9% of CI grant holders. Further investigation is needed to understand why there are higher levels of non-disclosure for disability and ethnicity than for the other legally protected characteristics, and the impact that this has on UKRI data.
  • Among UKRI’s funded postgraduate research students, representation of female students and students reporting a disability is below benchmarks for the wider postgraduate research student population. 45% of UKRI studentship starts were female compared with a benchmark of 50%, and 8% reported a disability compared with a benchmark of 12%. A high-level of ‘non-disclosure’ or ‘unknown’ for ethnicity remains for UKRI-funded studentship starts, at 32%.

Alongside this key report, UKRI has also published an analysis of responses made to its consultation on its draft equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) strategy. A broad range of feedback and views from the community fed into the consultation, which has informed the newly published documents.

UKRI Executive Champion for People, Culture and Talent Professor Melanie Welham said:

“We know, from our engagement work and our data, there are significant challenges in attracting, retaining and developing the full range of people the research and innovation system needs. There is no single solution that will address the inequalities that persist. The data helps us to understand better variations between disciplines and the different solutions that might be needed.

“We also acknowledge the pace of change is not as fast as we want, but we are committed to the continued, coordinated and long-term work that is required across the sector.”

The reports can be accessed in full at the UKRI website.

(This report was the subject of a ResearchConnect Newsflash.)