Access Keys:


Research Councils announce an unconscious bias training programme for peer reviewers and funding decision-makers


The Research Councils launch a new programme today for all peer reviewers and decision-makers, to raise awareness and reduce the impact of unconscious bias.

Over a period of three years, beginning in January 2016, more than 1,300 people involved in peer review from all seven Research Councils will be given access to high quality training designed and developed by the Research Councils and the consultants Pearn Kandola ( Together, we will translate this training into an online application and make it available to our geographically dispersed peer reviewers.

Unconscious bias is a normal component of our psychological makeup. Only by acknowledging and understanding our own unconscious bias can we find ways of learning how to reduce its effect and introduce techniques to eliminate bias in our organisations.

Professor Jackie Hunter, Chair of the Research Councils’ Equality and Diversity Group and Chief Executive of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), said: “Raising awareness of unconscious bias strengthens the Research Councils’ commitment to addressing equality and diversity Together, the Research Councils invest £3 billion in research each year, covering all disciplines and sectors, to meet tomorrow’s challenges today. Ensuring that fair decisions are made in peer review and funding is of the utmost importance.”

- ends -

Further information

Katie Clark
Tel: 01793 444387 or email: Katie Clark

Notes to editors

  1. Further information about the Research Councils’ commitment to addressing equality and diversity is available at:

  2. The Royal Society has produced a short video and briefing to introduce the key concepts and current academic research around unconscious bias, published last week ahead of its Annual Diversity Conference, which was held on Monday 23 November 2015. See

  3. Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the strategic partnership of the UK’s seven Research Councils. Our collective ambition is to ensure the UK remains the best place in the world to do research, innovate and grow business. The Research Councils are central to delivering research and innovation for economic growth and societal impact. Together, we invest £3 billion in research each year, covering all disciplines and sectors, to meet tomorrow’s challenges today. Our investments create new knowledge through: funding research excellence; responding to society’s challenges; developing skills, leadership and infrastructure; and leading the UK’s research direction. We drive innovation through: creating environments and brokering partnerships; co-delivering research and innovation with over 2,500 businesses, 1,000 of which are SMEs; and providing intelligence for policy making. Find out more about our work at

    The seven UK Research Councils are:

  4. Established in 1984, Pearn Kandola business psychologists ( have over 30 years’ experience working in partnership with public and private sector organisations across the UK and internationally to design and deliver innovative and impactful diversity, development and assessment projects. Their research into and work in the field of Diversity and Inclusion, and in particular on Unconscious Bias and Inclusive Leadership, led by Prof Binna Kandola OBE (, has gained them international recognition as leaders in the field. For more information, contact Mike Idziaszczyk at or call 01865 399060.

Freedom of Information | Cookies and Privacy | Terms and Conditions | © Research Councils UK 2014