Academy awards grant funding to support EDI initiatives

We are delighted to have awarded £68,780 in funding to support five EDI initiatives and interventions put forward by the Academy’s member Social Science Societies, as part of our joint EDI project in partnership with our member societies and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

After a competitive round of bids from over 40% of the learned societies in the Academy’s network and careful consideration, an independent external assessment panel awarded funding to the Royal Statistical Society, the Royal Economic Society, the Royal Town Planning Institute, the Leisure Studies Association and the British Psychological Society and the British Educational Research Association (joint bid).

Dr Rita Gardner, Chief Executive of the Academy, said, “We were pleased to receive so many strong applications from across the social science societies. I’m delighted that we are able to support six societies with EDI initiatives whose learnings have the capacity to be transferred and scaled throughout the wider community, providing invaluable insight to support EDI progress across our social science communities and beyond.”

The Royal Statistical Society (RSS) will be funding a cohort of new members from minority ethnic groups to serve as role models, mentors, and spokespersons for RSS and the statistics and data science professions. Moreover, the RSS will partner with other societies to identify statisticians, data scientists, and data professionals working in relevant domains who could participate in this funded programme and help to further disseminate successful strategies for developing mentorship, support, and communication skills across the social sciences.

Dr Sarah Cumbers, Chief Executive of the Royal Statistical Society said, “Our Future Leaders programme will empower statisticians and data scientists from underrepresented groups to become role models, mentors, and spokespeople – showing that careers in data are open to all.”

In order to support the need for greater diversity and inclusion within economics, the Royal Economic Society (RES) have received funding for their proposed portfolio of four EDI initiatives: a Women’s Committee Mentoring programme; a Consciously Inclusive Mentoring training; a Peer Learning Sets programme; and an Active Bystander programme. As part of this portfolio of work, the RES will provide training and ‘toolkits’ for each programme, which can be utilised in other social sciences, or across other protected characteristics.

Stefania Paredes-Fuentes, the Royal Economic Society Diversity Champion, said, “This grant will have a real impact to create a more inclusive and equitable environment both in Economics and across the social sciences. Thank you for making it possible to have this shared goal.”

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and their partners have received funding to develop a robust, evidence-based understanding of the disparity between the diversity of students that start on institute-accredited courses and those who go on to work in roles requiring institute-accredited qualifications. The initiative also aims to build on existing good practice to improve the collective understanding of retention rates and awarding gaps in education. As part of this, RTPI have committed to sharing progress and learnings from developing and delivering the interventions to Higher Education partners, employers and others within social science and beyond to further help address the awarding gap.

Machel Bogues, EDI Manager at The Royal Town Planning Institute, said, “Representative workforces are a priority. This grant will enable us to embark on a transformative journey to bridge the gap between the diversity of our student populations and the workforce.”

Funding was also awarded to the Leisure Studies Association (LSA) to support the research, co-creation and initial implementation of a new EDI strategy. With the guidance and expertise of an EDI specialist, the LSA will involve their membership in the creation of this strategy through considered communication, engagement opportunities, and participation in decision-making processes. The resulting outcomes, including the strategy development and implementation processes, will be shared with other learned and membership societies as a model of good practice.

Dr Bailey Ashton Adie, Chair of the Leisure Studies Association, said, “The Leisure Studies Association is excited for this opportunity to focus on the co-development of a new EDI strategy in collaboration with our members in 2024, supported by AcSS funding!”

The British Psychological Society (BPS) and the British Educational Research Association (BERA) will be piloting a teaching resource for KS3 and KS4 secondary school students on the history of IQ testing and psychology’s historic contribution to enabling a discriminatory education system in the UK. The collaborative approach taken by both BPS and BERA ensures an expert panel of historians, psychologists and educational experts will provide valuable insights in developing the resource.

On hearing the news, the British Psychological Society said, “This funding will enable us to shine a light on a challenging aspect of UK psychology’s history in a constructive way, using our historical collections to bring it to life.”

The EDI Project aims to encourage and facilitate greater awareness of, and actions to support, EDI across social science learned societies in the wider community. A further round of funding to support EDI interventions will be available for social science societies to bid for in spring 2024. Further information will be announced in due course.

For more information about the EDI project, explore our EDI Hub.