For one of Robinson’s Fellows, improving diversity in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) is a passion, and she has recently pursued that passion all the way to parliament! Prof Rachel Oliver is our Fellow in Materials Science, and she also leads the Robinson College women in STEM festival. At the end of January, she spoke to the Science and Technology Select Committee of the House of Commons about a need for an inquiry into the impact of science funding policies and cultures on the diversity of the STEM community.
Prof Oliver’s proposal was supported by 203 signatories from across the STEM community, including 21 other scientists and engineers from Cambridge. Following the submission of an initial written proposal and then Prof Oliver’s pitch in the House of Commons the inquiry will be one of four taken forward by the committee. The inquiry will be launched within the next 12 months.
Professor Oliver said: “I am thrilled that the select committee will be addressing the impact of funding policy on diversity. Research funding policy has a huge influence on the progression of women and members of minority groups along the STEM career pipeline. Addressing the biases and barriers experienced by minority scientists applying for funding is thus vital to improve the diversity of STEM and broaden the available talent pool.”
Read the original proposal for an inquiry into the “Impact of science funding policy on equality, diversity, inclusion and accessibility” here.
Watch Prof Oliver’s pitch to the Science and Technology Select Committee here.