Gender Diversity in our large grant portfolio

Underrepresentation of women in the engineering and physical sciences remains one of EPSRC’s largest equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) challenges and is a well-known issue in the engineering and physical sciences community, with gender diversity in our large grant portfolio an area of particular concern.

Building on the recent publication of harmonised UKRI diversity data, EPSRC has undertaken a detailed analysis focused on gender to better understand the portfolio that we support, linking grant size by value to award rates across our standard grants and calls. We have published our findings in the report ‘Understanding our portfolio: a gender perspective’.

The report has a focus on gender disparity in our large grant portfolio. Our aim in publishing this investigation is to share our findings with the wider engineering and physical sciences community, raise awareness of the trends that we see as a funder and promote discussion in the community to support positive changes across the sector. The style of the report is intended to support an open conversation with our community.

Some of the key findings of the report are:

  • Women are consistently under-represented in EPSRC’s Principal Investigator applicant pool across our portfolio
  • Application numbers from women for large grants are particularly low
  • While award rates by number of grants are similar for men and women, they are not by value of grants
  • Notable differences in applied for grant sizes across genders, with women consistently applying for smaller grants.

‘Have your say’ community survey

Alongside the report we are also opening a have your say’ community survey. The survey will help us to gather reflections on the data, views on potential causal factors and personal experiences of applying for a large grant.

The survey is anonymous and all responses confidential. We encourage as many people as possible across our community to take part in the survey.

Your views are important to help us build knowledge and better understand the factors that influence the inclusion of researchers in our grant portfolio.

We will use the information from this survey to inform our next steps towards reducing barriers identified related to EPSRC opportunities and processes. This will help us realise our ambition of a diverse and inclusive research environment for all.

We will share with you the findings of this survey in due course. The survey will close 3 December 2020, 16:00 GMT

This work is in addition to the investigations that are ongoing through the EPSRC Inclusion Matters eBase: Evidence-Base; growing the Big Grant Club project that aims to investigate and understand the current culture that supports the, at present, exclusive “Big Grant Club” in Engineering and Physical Sciences.