Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Survey Highlights Racism in Academia in the UK

Minority academics in the UK are more likely to consider moving abroad, according to a survey of more than 1,200 academics published by the London-based charity Equality Challenge Unit (ECU).

The University of Southampton's Kalwant Bhopal, the lead author of the study, tells Nature News that interviews with 41 black and minority ethnic (BME) academics indicated that negative experiences were at the root of the desire to leave. The respondents, Bhopal says, spoke of subtle racism, such as being held to higher publication or grant income standards than white colleagues and not having their opinions valued in meetings.

Bhopal also suggests some approaches universities can take to improve. More data are needed on recruitment, selection, and promotion processes, and that data need to be examined to see who is being recruited and promoted and why, she says.

She adds that she is also excited about the Race Equality Charter Mark, which is being piloted by ECU, to encourage universities to commit to recognizing racial inequality and develop approaches to tackle it. She notes that a similar scheme for women in science started about a decade ago, and it is just now showing results.

"If the Race Equality Charter Mark goes the same way, it will enable us to look at issues such as transparency, promotion, and progress, and see what universities are doing on a practical level to enable BME academics to pursue their career trajectories," Bhopal says. "It is so important for us to think about ways to ensure we are not losing this wonderful talent that we have here in the United Kingdom."