Researchers from Mathematical Sciences and Psychology, together with Jonathan Knight (Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research)) and Peter Eley (Deputy Director HR), are leading a nationwide project investigating ways of improving academic recruitment in STEM.

This 2-year research project, funded by the EPSRC Inclusion Matters Scheme, aims to change the culture of recruitment by showing people that diverse teams produce better research.

The project was launched on Tuesday 22 January in Bath. The chair of the Advisory Board, Jenni Dyer of the Institute of Physics, said:

I'm really excited to be involved in this project, which has the potential to transform our understanding of how scientific culture affects diversity in recruitment, allowing us to develop innovative strategies to build an inclusive research environment.

Collaborative incubators

The project supports a series of Collaborative Incubator workshops. Rather than the traditional academic workshop model, the incubators will involve small teams of academics from all career stages working together. They'll formulate interesting problems that could be the basis of research for years to come.

These events build on the successful Integrative Think Tank model, pioneered by the Mathematical Sciences Centre for Doctoral Training, SAMBa.

Many of the incubators will run this summer and will include topics in materials science, catalysis, neuroscience, and geometry. For more information on the upcoming Incubators, see the Reimagining Recruitment website.

Psychology research and policy development

The incubators will also give our team of psychologists the chance to talk to academics in STEM areas, and carry out research of their own. They will aim to discover what factors affect academic recruitment, and how this understanding can be used to improve recruitment methods in the future.

They will begin by exploring what aspects of the collaborative problem formulation approach work well from an inclusion perspective and how these could be translated to other areas of STEM.

The second stage of the project will take a policy viewpoint, considering how the findings from the project can be translated into effective recruitment practices, helping us to move towards a more diverse academic research base.