Edinburgh Neuroscience becomes ALBA Declaration on Equality and Inclusion Signatory

Tuesday, 23 March, 2021

Edinburgh Neuroscience has further committed to fostering a equal and inclusive working environment by formally endorsing the ALBA Declaration:

Alba Declaration on Equity and Inclusion

Members of underrepresented groups face persistent barriers to equitable representation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), particularly at advanced stages. Although the historical basis for and manifestations of underrepresentation vary by group, discipline, and region, there are striking commonalities in the end result – an apparent ‘leaky pipeline’ that drains the talent pool. The cost of this loss of talent is high – for individuals, for research, and for society as a whole.

ALBA is a network of brain scientists committed to fostering fair & diverse scientific communities. We have drafted this document as a resource for concrete, positive, evidence-based actions that individuals and organizations at any level can take to promote equity & inclusivity. We focus specifically on two contributing factors to perpetual underrepresentation in STEM: implicit bias & workplace culture. We believe that adopting the actions below will benefit all members of the research community and the scientific enterprise itself.

We recognize that there are many individuals & organizations who share these goals. We invite you to indicate your support by signing this Declaration.

We are all biased. What can we do?

Commit to recognizing & counteracting bias

  • Establish a working group that includes key stakeholders & members of leadership
  • Have a policy. Adopt a written Equity, Diversity & Inclusion policy. Share it widely
  • Set concrete goals & identify relevant actions
  • Be data-driven. Continuously collect data to monitor progress & test solutions
  • Raise awareness. Provide unconscious bias training

Allyship & advocacy

  • Amplify the voices of minoritized colleagues in both formal and informal settings
  • Nominate individuals from diverse backgrounds for prestigious events, awards, & recognition

Selection, hiring, and assessment

  • Proactively solicit applications from underrepresented groups
  • Ensure balanced committee representation to minimize biased gatekeeping
  • Use consistent, well-defined evaluation criteria
  • Learn to identify and avoid biased language, for example in letters of recommendation, teaching evaluations, etc.
  • Consider double-blind reviewing or separate streaming of applications to strive for equitable success rates

An inclusive workplace culture is a healthy environment for all

Establish a positive workplace environment

  • Adopt and enforce a code of conduct
  • Follow the Singapore Statement on Research Integrity
  • Endorse the DORA Declaration on Research Assessment
  • Provide onboarding/orientation for new employees to navigate organizational & local cultural norms
  • Establish a mentoring system

Promote healthy work-life balance

  • Schedule all events during appropriate working hours
  • Allow for flexible hours and teleworking where possible

Establish transparent career structures

  • Implement clear advancement criteria
  • Ensure equal pay for equivalent positions
  • Ensure equitable service loads for teaching, advising, and committees
  • Explicitly recognize service contributions
  • Consider broadening career paths to provide opportunities beyond PI role
  • Facilitate access to child/family care (through onsite facilities and/or subsidization where possible)