Forging a More Inclusive Research Ecosystem with Key Stakeholders

Falling Walls Circle Tables are lending the spotlight to world-leading scientists, science strategists and policy-makers from academia, business and politics discuss how we can apply science, research and innovation to get the world moving again.

Following on from the discussion Combatting Systematic Discrimination in Science, this Falling Walls Circle Table reflected on what research institutions can and must do to redress inequality. Over the past year, organisations have accelerated their actions to promote diversity and equity, and in this panel we heard a wide range of measures that are already underway, as well as areas where progress is still dearly needed.

Many academic institutions have published statements in response to 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests, while recognising that science remains deeply fragmented. Not everyone can participate in or access research, and there are huge disparities between and within nations. To achieve inclusive research, science needs to challenge its practices on every level – from individual scientists to systemic structures. Data is crucial to establish clear institutional targets, as well as best practices for interventions.

While there is a fundamental need to promote diversity and inclusive research of all forms, racism within research offers particular challenges. In 2020 there were signs that institutions were beginning to tackle racism with a much needed sense of urgency. The panel argues that this will not only benefit disadvantaged people, but will also allow science to realise its full potential.