Diversity in science: next steps for research group leaders

Many institutions publicly pledged their commitment to inclusion after Black Lives Matter protests this year. And researchers emphasize the need to maintain momentum.

Sparked by the global reaction to the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in May, universities, departments and faculty members rapidly issued statements and policies highlighting their commitment to diversity and equity in academia. Conversations on how to create a more equitable research environment erupted on social media, and data on the lack of diversity in academia were thrown into stark relief.

In the United States, for instance, 13% of the population is Black, but Black researchers comprise just 6% of faculty positions in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). According to the Pew Research Centre in Washington DC, 62% of Black STEM employees in the United States say they have experienced racial or ethnic discrimination at work, and 57% say their workplaces do not pay enough attention to racial and ethnic diversity.

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