As part of a series of activities and initiatives to mark the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Antarctica, the Diversity in UK Polar Science initiative, conceived and funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Polar Regions Department, celebrates existing diversity, and takes an important step forward to promote and enhance Antarctic science opportunities to under-represented groups, including women, people from ethnic minorities, BAME, LGBTQ+ community and people with a disability.
For over 100 years since its discovery, visitors to Antarctica were overwhelmingly men. It was not until the 1980s that the first British female scientists began working at the frozen continent. The ambition for this initiative is to deliver a more diverse and inclusive future for UK Polar science – a future that reflects the diversity in British society today.
To achieve this we are delivering a two-year programme of work that enhances understanding of current barriers, explores ways to nurture and increase diversity in Polar Science, and pilots positive action to help boost diversity in UK polar science.
To understand the current Polar Science diversity landscape we examined data from the 2017 Office of National Statistics Research Report on the percentages of minority groups in UK society and compared these with data from STEM higher education and BAS (as a proxy for UK polar science). This created a benchmark from which to measure improvement.
A Steering Committee, Chaired by the Head of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Polar Regions Department, Jane Rumble OBE, drives the initiative forward. Convened in September 2019, the committee comprises representatives from across British Antarctic Survey (BAS), experts from the UKRI Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Advisory Board, the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, European Polar Board, and a BAME in STEM consultant.
Our delivery plan includes a series of events and engagement activities aimed at to improving diversity in UK Polar Science.
Our initiative needs advocates, and people who can amplify the momentum for diversity and inclusion within their own organisation. Please contact Project Manager Donna Frater if you are a member of the UK polar science community and would like to get involved.
Contributions relating to the following are most welcome:
BAS Marine Biogeographer Huw Griffiths engaging with the students at a Polar Horizons event.
3 September, 2020 by Beatrix Schlarb-Ridley
BLOG. Director of Innovation and Impact aims to enhance innovation culture through diversity and inclusion.
3 August, 2020 by David Vaughan
BLOG. BAS Director of Science, Professor David Vaughan describes his ambition for more diversity in science.
22 June, 2020 by Huw Griffiths
BAS marine biogeographer Dr Huw Griffiths talks about the importance of diverse role models. He is hopeful that existing and future polar scientists will see that being yourself and being different are no barrier to working in the most extreme environments on Earth, and can be a real asset as a scientist.
5 July, 2019 by Huw Griffiths
BLOG. Biologist Huw Griffiths shares his personal experience of research as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
4 August, 2020
New blogs, refreshed web content and a social media campaign aim to highlight a two-year programme of work aimed at boosting diversity in UK polar science.
27 July, 2020
This week the Government of the British Antarctic Territory (BAT) and the Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI) will celebrate the contribution of LGBTQ+ people by …
10 June, 2020
British Antarctic Survey supports and endorses the UKRI statement on Black Lives Matter. We embrace and recognise the importance of taking a stand against racism and strive for diversity and equality of opportunity, and are committed to building inclusive and diverse teams that represent all backgrounds.