University of Leicester to spend £1m on making research more inclusive

The University of Leicester has bolstered its commitment to inclusivity within research after securing £1m from the Wellcome Trust.

The money will fund two years of pilot projects looking at inclusivity and culture within the research domain at the institution, with the aim of breaking down barriers facing minority ethnic individuals who wish to progress their research careers.

Wellcome’s Institutional Fund for Research Culture (IFRC) provides institutions with up to £1m of funding to take on ambitious projects that advance research cultures and research environments that are equitable, diverse and supportive. It awarded Leicester £1,010,156 for the project, which is called I-REACCH: Inclusive Research Environment Achieved through Culture Change.

University President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nishan Canagarajah, said: “We recognise that we must persevere with our commitment to realise our ambition to be a destination of choice for students and staff from diverse backgrounds and be known as the leading university for inclusivity, where all students and colleagues feel they belong.

“We are committed to wholly engaging with our community to identify and address the barriers individuals may face to realising their potential, and to foster a sustainable positive learning and research culture for all. The Wellcome Trust’s initiative is timely and admirable.”

The University is committed to increasing the number of minority ethnic individuals at postdoctoral level and in staff positions. It is also assumed barriers to progression also apply to other factors and protected characteristics including, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and carer status. The I-REACCH study will also explore these assumptions in greater detail.

The study fits in with the University’s Mission, which states: Diverse in our make-up and united in our ambition, we change lives through education and research.

It also tallies with the University’s Vision: We will provide inspiring education and research, working in partnership with our communities, to become a truly inclusive university.