Author: Piraveen (Piv) Gopalasingam, Daniel Thomas López

On 16 February 2024 the RItrainPlus Community of Practice convened for a presentation and discussion on Equity, diversity, inclusion (EDI) and accessibility in the research sector.

The meeting started with Piraveen (Piv) Gopalasingam from the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) defining EDI and accessibility. The difference between equality and equality was clarified, with the latter focusing on fair treatment as well as equal access to opportunities and resources. Equity is a process that recognizes the existence of advantages for some and barriers for others. Terms such as exclusion, segregation and integration were used to frame inclusion as active engagement via contribution and participation of all people.

EDI in practice

Embedding EDI practice in research can occur at different levels across different work, such as as organisational management or within and through research projects. The CABANA project, funded by the UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund, was dedicated to building bioinformatics capacity in Latin America, and was presented as an example of a project with embedded EDI and partner empowerment. As the project progressed, equitable relationships were built, allowing space for critical evaluation of factors negatively impacting Latin American representation in global biodata initiatives. The consortium, secondees and collaborators indicated issues such as language barriers, lack of time and funds, infrastructure availability and stability, and existing social inequity. Addressing these wider challenges involved measures such as providing courses and materials in Spanish or Portuguese, and led to a publication around running training in lower-middle income countries. Smaller changes such as rotating meeting and workstream chairs, and processes to increase participant diversity are some examples of inclusive practice. The project was a success, leading to additional funding by the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative for CABANAnet.

A series of EDI best practices and resources, including examples of Codes of Conduct, were shared and discussed. Finally, an activity was carried out to discuss the current practices, ambitions, and challenges that participants experience at their workplace. The conclusion of the activity was clear – attendees were implementing policies and aspired to improve EDI and accessibility in their areas of work.

The messages in the chat and the constant engagement during the session expressed how well the session was received by the participants and how relevant the topic is for staff working at Core Facilities and Research Infrastructures. 

If you missed the session, you can watch it by joining the RITrainPlus Facebook CoP.

Stay tuned for more insights and discussions as we continue to explore the fascinating world of research infrastructures.

About RItrainPlus CoP

The RItrainPlus CoP provides a forum for discussion about relevant issues and opportunities for knowledge and best practices sharing through a peer learning approach that would support research infrastructures (RIs) and core facilities (CFs) in their specific managerial and operational challenges. The CoP offers new community meetings every two months, and by signing up, you will be able to access the meeting recordings and materials. This is a great opportunity to learn from experienced professionals and stay up-to-date with the latest best practices in the research infrastructure landscape. Sign up to the RITrainPlus Facebook CoP, and follow RItrainPlus on LinkedIn and X to stay tuned about upcoming events!

Incorporating Equity, diversity and inclusion practices into Research