Economic and Social Research Council
UKRI publishes updated detailed ethnicity data
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) recently (07 October 2021) published updated detailed ethnicity data, including results from the 2019-20 financial year.
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For the first time, data are also provided for individual research councils by ethnic group. This highlights disparities between different ethnic groups in funding data at several of UKRI’s councils, including in particular low numbers of Black researchers.
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The recent publication of detailed data analyses is part of UKRI’s commitment to understand better inequalities across the UK’s research and innovation sector and to inform our ongoing actions to address these inequalities and foster lasting change.
Key findings include:
- figures for 2019-20 within the ethnic minority groups are broadly consistent with previous financial years and year-on-year changes are small
- as in previous years, across the ethnic minority groups applicants from the Asian ethnic group form the largest share, followed by applicants from the Mixed and then Black ethnic groups. There is further variation within each ethnic group
- the proportion of principal investigator (PI) awardees reporting they are from an ethnic minority increased in 2019-20 by 3 percentage points (pp) to 12%, however, it continues to remain below the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) academic staff share of ethnic minorities, which is used as a benchmark for the figures
- over the five-year period from 2015-16 to 2019-20, the proportion of CI and fellow awardees reporting they are from an ethnic minority has increased by 5pp to 18% and by 6pp to 17% respectively.
UKRI Chief Executive, Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, recently said:
The publication of these data is an integral part of our commitment to increasing diversity among our funding recipients.
Providing a detailed breakdown by individual research councils is an important step, and this highlights further underrepresentation, which we are committed to addressing.
These data reinforce the scale of the challenge we face in addressing the systemic inequalities that impoverish our research and innovation system, particularly relating to the under-representation of Black researchers.
We are working to co-create and deliver evidence-based solutions and I continue to be indebted to people across our communities who are working to achieve the culture change that will make research and innovation accessible to all.
The recent publication follows the first publication in December of detailed ethnicity data for the five-year period 2014-15 to 2018-19, and the release of diversity data for the 2019-20 financial year, published in March 2021.
This previous release included analysis broken down by two ethnic categories ethnic minorities and white.
This is the last time that ethnicity analysis will be published in these two stages. For the next financial year, detailed ethnicity analysis will be incorporated into the main diversity data release.
The data analyses published recently includes information on studentships. However, we continue not to hold ethnicity information for almost 30% of awardees.
As a result, our understanding of the ethnic composition of studentship is partial. Ethnic minority students form 10% of the awardees who disclosed their ethnicity in 2019-20.
Students from the Asian ethnic group are the largest ethnic minority group followed by the Mixed and then Black ethnic groups.
For the first time data is also provided for individual Research Councils by ethnic group. For some research councils the number of applications and awards from ethnic minority groups are very small, in particular, for PIs and fellows. This limits our ability to make valid comparisons between groups. Large differences in proportions or award rates do not necessarily translate to large differences in the numbers at council level.
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