From the EPSRC website article

“Currently, approximately 25 per cent of the ICT student population, and 18 per cent of the research staff in computer sciences and electronic and electrical engineering, are women.

Anecdotal evidence points to ethnicity and age also being issues in computing sciences in higher education, although there is very little data available to fully confirm this perception.

Understanding why these issues exist is important to ensure that we attract and hold on to the talented researchers so critical to maintaining the UK’s global standing in research.

As no single professional body covers the spread of topics within ICT, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT (BCS), the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), the UK Computing Research Committee (UKCRC), Council of Professors and Heads of Computing (CPHC) and TechWorks agreed to commission a study from the Employment Research Institute at Edinburgh Napier University to understand the nature of these issues.”

The resulting report – Understanding the Status of under-Represented Groups in the Information and Communication Technologies – published April 2018 alongside a joint Action Plan from the commissioning organisations in response to the findings is available now.

Extract from the Executive summary

“This report presents the findings of a research project commissioned by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to explore the barriers facing under-represented groups in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) research. The focus of this research is predominantly on the issue of gender but other characteristics (disability, ethnicity, age, and sexual orientation) were also considered.

To date there has been a lack of specific research looking at the experience of postgraduates and staff in computer science and the related disciplines relevant to EPSRC’s ICT research portfolio. Therefore the aim of the study was to identify and document the challenges and barriers faced by under-represented groups pursuing careers in academic research in these areas. This should help the academic community to better understand and therefore address these barriers, so that more people from under-represented groups are attracted to, and stay in, these disciplines.”

Items in the Action Plan specific to the BCS:

  • BCS and IET will take the lead in developing best practice in promoting the attractiveness of computer science and ICT courses and research to the widest audience, including how courses are advertised and organised
  • BCS and IET will take the lead on seeking ways to coordinate our activities in promoting public engagement with schools (including primary schools) to maximise the impact of such work and improve the number applying to study Computer Science and ICT