BCS signs Science Council's Declaration on Diversity, Equality and Inclusion

31 July 2015

Diana Garnham, CEO of Science Council with Rebecca George, Vice President of PPAB, signing on behalf of BCS.

Diana Garnham, CEO of Science Council with Rebecca George, Vice President of PPAB, signing on behalf of BCS.

BCS, The Chartered Institute of IT took on the challenge of improving diversity within the UK science community. By signing up to the Declaration on Diversity, Equality and Inclusion, we publicly committed to delivering a workforce that is more representative of those it serves.

Global health needs, an ageing population, food and water security and achieving low carbon economies are all driving up demand for STEM skills. By 2030 the number of people in science-based roles will have grown from 5.8 million to 7.1 million, accounting for a fifth of the UK workforce1. This equates to a shortfall of 40,000 skilled people every year2. Increasing the diversity of the science workforce at all levels is key to solving this issue and strengthening the sector.

The Declaration on Diversity, Equality and Inclusion initiative brings together the Science Council and other Professional Bodies from across science to work towards increased diversity and inclusion within the workforce. With black and minority ethnic (BME) men 28% less likely to work in STEM than their white counterparts2, disabled students 57% less likely to take up postgraduate STEM study than non-disabled students2, and a gap of 26% between women and men in SET employment3, it is apparent where the skills drain can be stemmed.

“The influence and potential leadership of professional bodies means they are critical effectors of change within the science community,” said Tom Blundell, President of the Science Council, “by signing the Declaration they are showing that they will use that influence to ensure the science workforce is open to everyone.”

The Declaration centres on a collaborative approach, encouraging shared learning and expertise within its wide range of signing organisations. In support of this the Science Council have developed a series of resources alongside the Declaration, including a roadmap of potential action points, and have committed to developing their own plan of action.

The Diversity, Equality and Inclusion project is being led by a Strategy group chaired by James Smith (Chair of the Carbon Trust, Chair of Advisory Board for the Association for Black Engineers in the UK, Former Chairman of Shell UK). The project aims to raise the profile of the importance of diversity as an issue of concern for professional bodies, and to provide leadership within the sector to increase commitment and investment.

For more information about what the Science Council is doing as part of this initiative, please contact Nicola Hannam - n.hannam@sciencecouncil.org