Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the MRC PPU
In the MRC PPU, we believe strongly that excellence and diversity are inextricably linked. We are already a diverse group of people, but there are groups in society who remain under-represented in PPU and we are trying to address this deficit. It is very important to us that we have the fullest possible representation from the various groups that make up our society. It is our belief that the more diverse we are as a group, the greater the diversity of opinions and creativity we’ll have to draw on, which in turns enriches our science and our productivity. We appreciate and embrace the unique contribution that each person makes to the daily life of the MRC PPU, and we welcome support staff, students, postdocs and group leaders of all races, religions (or none), gender identifications, sexual orientations, ages, or disability status. We are committed to providing whatever support might be required in order to help each person flourish, and we are dedicated to providing equal opportunities to all members of our Unit. We aim to treat people fairly, and to recruit and promote individuals based on their abilities and competence and not on their personal beliefs or characteristics.
We welcome applications from disabled people, and we recognize that that providing appropriate access to our School and the MRC PPU is vital. We are committed to removing access barriers to ensure an inclusive working environment, in line with University of Dundee Equality and Diversity policy. In this light we are prepared to make adjustments to the workplace, including purchasing new equipment and furniture to adapt the working environment. In our School, there is an induction loop system in the lecture theatres to assist people with hearing aids and access to assistive software.
We are committed to supporting people from all races and ethnicities. In our last survey, 22% of all staff in MRC PPU were from Black, Asian, Chinese, mixed or other non-white ethnicities. We are striving to increase our ethnic diversity way beyond this, seeking to attract students and staff from all ethnic groups and races. We very much welcome applications from diverse ethnic groups, especially those under-represented among us at present. The University of Dundee is in the process of applying for the ECU Race Charter Mark, an effort which is led by the BME Staff Network.
In our Unit, we are a multi-national community and we’re very proud to have people from 39 nationalities represented in our Unit alone (July 2021). We are striving to increase further our diversity, seeking to attract students and staff from continents and nations, such as South American and African nations for example, that are currently under-represented in the MRC PPU.
The below map highlights the countries of origin of our students and research staff.
The ratio of females to males in the MRC PPU has consistently been around 50:50 among students and postdocs, and it’s currently 70:30 among our support staff, but the ratio drops off steeply at the group leader level. It has been reported that this is common in scientific research institutions, and we are actively employing a suite of measures to improve upon the gender balance at the group leader level in our Unit. MRC PPU is committed to the Athena SWAN charter which aims to promote gender equality.
We strongly encourage applications from trans-gender and gender non-binary people to all of the roles in the MRC PPU. We support individuals who wish to, or are intending to take steps to, present themselves in a gender different to that registered at birth, and those who identify as gender non-conforming (non-binary). We are also keen to support people who are transitioning. We strive to have the most welcoming and supportive environment possible, where everyone can feel safe and included. We’re conscious of using pronouns that people feel most comfortable with in the MRC PPU.
The LGBT+ community are represented among students, postdocs and group leaders
in PPU. We are members of Stonewall, and we’re committed to supporting and promoting equality in the workplace for LGBT+ people. Our LGBT+ Staff Network develop our annual application for the Workplace Equality Index and partner with the LGBT+ Society to promote LGBT+ equality and events, such as LGBT History Month. The LGBT+ network have regular meetings in a relaxed, informal setting. The network finds out what issues are important to people in the school, discovers shared sources of support, and plans social events such as regular LGBT-themed film nights, and many other activities.
Diversity and Inclusion Meetings in PPU
In the MRC PPU we hold Diversity and Inclusion meetings every 3-4 months. Each meeting is organised and chaired by Nicola Goodman, a senior technical researcher in our Unit. The meetings are open to everyone in the MRC PPU, and so far, they have been very well-attended with representation from support staff, students, postdocs, group leaders and the Director always attends. The idea behind the meetings is to brainstorm and get as many ideas and suggestions for how we can improve the experience of people working with us, with emphasis on areas relating to equality, diversity and inclusion. The topics discussed include: Wellbeing and Mental Health, Gender Inclusion, International Recruitment and Experience. After each meeting, the various assignments agreed upon are distributed amongst the people designated to each tasks.
The MRC PPU is a family friendly Unit. We support a range of flexible options to accommodate different needs of staff and students that include adoption, family, children and dependants, fertility treatment, foster care, and shared parental leave. Importantly, we are open and willing to introduce tailor-made measures and flexible working arrangements to help staff manage any additional dependent caring needs.
Some examples of policies and activities that have been implemented in recent times can be found here.
Examples of recent policies and activities to support family needs:
Staff can take family friendly leave for up to 3 days in any given period for family-related matters and unexpected emergencies. In case of emergencies, longer paid leave is supported.
In line with the Core Values of our Unit, we encourage and support equal parental leave for both parents.
Access to a private breastfeeding room within the Life Sciences complex
The UoD nursery provides an excellent childcare option for children from birth to 5 years.
School holidays can be a challenging time for parents to juggle work and childcare. In addition to good local childcare options, the University arranges Science Centre holiday camps for children of UoD staff.
Further information on the University’s policies for staff can be found here.