Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at BAS

Equality, diversity and inclusion are essential for the creative, collaborative and dynamic research that we need to understand our world and tackle the challenges we face. At BAS, we are committed to creating a workplace that is fair and inclusive and where everyone can thrive


UK researchers and innovators explain why equality, diversity and inclusion is vital for research and development to thrive. © UKRI.

The changing face of BAS

BAS is very different today compared with its inception more than 60 years ago. Then, much of UK science and all Antarctic field work was white and male. Major change occurred in the 1980s when women began to work on polar research vessels and in research stations in the Antarctic.

Today, women represent more than one-third of our workforce – from station leaders and scientists to pilots and engineers. The current director of BAS is Professor Dame Jane Francis. However, we know that our workforce does not fully reflect the dynamism and diversity of UK society. A race impact survey conducted by the Diversity in UK Polar Science Initiative (DiPSI) showed that only 3% of staff in UK polar science come from an ethnic background and 1.8% have a disability, compared with 16% and 19% respectively in UK society.

We are committed to making the necessary changes to increase diversity and inclusion at BAS and in polar science. This commitment is supported by our EDI framework, our external benchmarking schemes and our ongoing collaboration with external partners who share our values and our vision.

Our vision

Our vision is to be a world-leading centre for polar science and operations. The science we do addresses some of the world’s most pressing environmental concerns. Making our vision a reality depends on the excellence and diversity of our staff.

BAS operates in some of the world’s most remote and challenging environments to understand humanity’s greatest threats and most complex problems. To do so safely and successfully requires a diversity of thought, ideas and experience. 

Everyone at BAS – from support and technical staff to scientists and research vessel crews – has a key part to play in the science we do and in creating an inclusive workplace which welcomes diversity.

Our EDI framework

BAS believes that culture change comes from leadership and grassroots staff engagement.

EDI forms part of our People Strategy which is supported by a 3-year plan to help drive the required changes in culture, leadership, talent management, performance development and ways of working.

We have an active EDI Network with representation from Executive Team to PhD level. The network is a sub-group of the Staff Forum, which has responsibility for the promotion of the wider Equality, Diversity and Inclusion agenda at BAS. You can find information on our other staff networks on our Inclusive Culture pages.

Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Champions help promote inclusion.

External collaboration and benchmarking

BAS has been a member of the Athena Swan Charter since 2014. Athena Swan is used across the globe to support and transform gender equality within higher education and research, and BAS is proud to hold an Athena Swan Silver Award.

BAS is part of the Diversity in UK Polar Science Initiative (DiPSI) which celebrates existing diversity, and works to promote and enhance Antarctic science opportunities to under-represented groups, including women, people from racial and ethnic minorities in the UK, LGBTQ+ community and people with a disability

BAS aims to be an attractive employer for jobs which do not require a specialist background in environmental science, such as administrative roles. We compare workforce data with our local community to ensure that we are attracting diverse employees. We are supporting change through positive action.

We are a member of Disability Confident, a UK Government scheme, which means BAS is among 18,000 UK employers committed to challenging attitudes towards disability. BAS has a positive approach to employing people with a disability or health condition, and we guarantee to interview all disabled applicants who meet the requirements for any job vacancy.

And we are part of enei, the Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion, the UK’s leading employer network covering all aspects of equality and inclusion issues in the workplace.

Contact us

We welcome feedback on what we are doing, what we can do better, and how we can work together to achieve our vision for outstanding UK polar science, where everyone has the opportunity to contribute and to benefit. You can reach us at edi@bas.ac.uk