Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity
"Striving to ensure that our team is just as diverse as the problems that we solve."
It is no secret that various key demographics are underrepresented in photonics— as is the case in many other scientific and technical sectors. Even though the photonics community is overwhelmingly in favour of (and often actively advocating for) a step change, we all still have a responsibility to take real, measurable steps to improve the Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI) agenda in our field.
Taking one example, if we look at the participation and engagement of women in photonics, a recent SPIE (the international society for optics and photonics) study indicated that, across Europe, female representation in the sector is as low as 20%. PIADS is dedicated to playing our part in improving this statistic. Through learned advice from Equate Scotland (the national expert in gender equality throughout the STEM sector) we are continuously reviewing all of our job wording in order to reduce highly-specific content as well as encouraging a widespread usage of gender-neutral language. As these adverts often provide the first impression of our programme to potential new members, we have also reviewed how and where we advertise, in order to appeal to a diverse range of talented applicants. We are committed to removing barriers at all stages throughout the recruitment process for minorities who wish to pursue a career in photonics, and we always ensure a diverse panel is present for each interview - enabling an unbiased process where offers are made based solely on the candidate’s ability. Through these small changes, we hope to convey that a career with PIADS, and in photonics, can be creative, inclusive, vibrant, challenging, and collaborative.
Moreover, the PIADS team is delighted to have secured significant resource to facilitate the recruitment of PIADS 2.0 on an international basis. As a consequence, PIADS 2.0 is now dedicated to supporting 20% of students who are non-UK domiciled (& when IPIC participants are included, who currently are overwhelming recruited from outside Ireland, this rises to nearly 50%) resulting in a globalised cohort where intercultural exchanges & perspectives are the norm.
We are also delighted to have appointed a PIADS EDI Champion on to our team. This representative will monitor and challenge the current PIADS EDI agenda, and where necessary, implement and review new processes, events or strategies. This will ensure that the PIADS CDT culture is one of global and inclusive outlook that offers all people a way to flourish as well as ensuring that our cohort acts as a beacon for EDI within the wider research & training community.
These are just a handful of small changes that PIADS is implementing to challenge the EDI agenda in photonics. We are committed to continue to champion this field, so that the people who work in it, are just as diverse as the problems that we solve.
If you would like to hear more about our EDI programme, or to get involved, please contact our EDI Champion Dr Rair Macedo on Rair.Macedo@glasgow.ac.uk.
The Athena SWAN Charter evolved from work between the Athena Project and the Scientific Women’s Academic Network (SWAN), to advance the representation of women in science, engineering and technology (SET). The Charter was officially launched in June 2005 with the support of the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) and the UK Resource Centre for Women in SET (UKRC).
The School of Maths and Physics at Queen's and the School of Engineering at the University of Glasgow are both committed to the promotion of equality of opportunity and to creating and sustaining environments that value and celebrate the diversity of both staff and students. The School of Maths and Physics at Queen's currently holds an Athena SWAN Silver Award. The School of Engineering at the University of Glasgow holds an Athena SWAN Bronze Award.