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Research Councils Diversity Data

RCUK published a statement of expectations on Equality and Diversity in January 2013 outlining our commitment to ensuring that the best potential researchers from a diverse population are attracted into research careers. Building on this we have initiated a programme of activities which includes analysing and publishing our own diversity data.  We are committed to using our diversity data to assess how effective our policies and procedures are in promoting equal opportunities.

We are publishing this high level data and will update it annually. We will also monitor our data at a more in-depth level to identify specific areas for further action.

Research Councils gather data on four protected characteristics (Data is generated from returns by individuals to their Je-S account, where all individuals are assigned a ‘unique person identifier’):

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Disability status
  • Ethnicity

Today we are publishing high level data on grant and fellowship applications, awards and success rates by gender, age and ethnicity. We are not publishing disability data at present as the numbers for those disclosing a disability are small coupled with a significant number choosing not to disclose or unknown. We will continue to monitor this.

All data is generated over the last three financial years 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14 and reported as both numbers and as percentages.

In addition to looking at our own data, we also look at data on the overall diversity profile of the broader academic community - to understand how representative the current pool of applicants to the Research Councils might be. As a starting point we have looked at HESA staff returns for 2012/13. Each Research Council has identified the HESA cost centres that most closely reflect the population of researchers who might apply to their Council and those cost centres have been aggregated to give the summary table below. We are aware that this has both overlaps and gaps but it is provided to promote discussion. We are also exploring other routes for gathering this information and would welcome further dialogue. 

The latest data set can be found here .

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Further information

Nicholas Turner
Press and Communications Manager
Tel: 01793 444592 or email: Nicholas Turner

Notes to editors

  1. For further information please contact: Lucy Williams, EPSRC (

  2. Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the strategic partnership of the UK's seven Research Councils who annually invest around £3 billion in research. We support excellent research, as judged by peer review, that has an impact on the growth, prosperity and wellbeing of the UK. To maintain the UK’s global research position we offer a diverse range of funding opportunities, foster international collaborations and provide access to the best facilities and infrastructure around the world. We also support the training and career development of researchers and work with them to inspire young people and engage the wider public with research. To maximise the impact of research on economic growth and societal wellbeing we work in partnership with other research funders including Innovate UK, the UK Higher Education funding bodies, business, government, and charitable organisations.

    The seven UK Research Councils are:

    • Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC);
    • Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC);
    • Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC);
    • Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC);
    • Medical Research Council (MRC);
    • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC);
    • Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

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