Dr Anouska Nithyanandan on making LSE research support more inclusive and equitable

What does the race equity data project involve?

The Research Development team are carrying out a race equity data project to further embed the LSE 2030 strategy and the Race Equity Framework into research support at LSE. This project will allow us to assess how different groups experience research funding support so that we can identify actions to make research support provision more inclusive and equitable, therefore improving research funding outcomes across the LSE community.

Through the Research Development Race Equity Data Project, we hope to facilitate a greater culture of pro-activity, transparency and collaboration in supporting race equity and EDI within LSE and beyond. We envisage that project outputs will be valuable to academic units and the institution in understanding and supporting our research community with greater intersectional evidence-based policy and strategy.

As Research Development professionals, we hope that by looking critically at our own support operations and engagement we can establish and embed race equity metrics as key performance indicators to facilitate ongoing measurable and accountable progress in race equity for researchers.

Who is leading on the project and what data is being used?

The project is being led by Research Development Manager Dr Anouska Nithyanandan and Data Assistant Omotolani Fatilewa in Research and Innovation, who are drawing together comprehensive grant application data from the last nine years at LSE with anonymised HR data on race, gender, age, disability and other protected characteristics.

By analysing these data sets within LSE, and cross-comparing with external EDI data available from funders, we can better understand how grant application and funding rates vary by protected characteristics as separate groups and intersectionally across race. This will enable us to identify strengths and areas to support for more equitable funding outcomes and research support experiences at institutional and academic unit level.

This will be the first-time intersectional analysis has been carried on this data. The longitudinal nature of our approach, as well as the inclusion of both lead investigators and co-investigators by academic unit, will provide a rich and multi-layered picture of the research funding culture at LSE, and should be invaluable in defining strategic goals and actions going forward.

Tell me more about the findings

The project launched in August this year and the consolidated grant bidding data is now ready for cross-analysis with anonymised HR data. We expect to receive this back in the next few weeks, after which we will analyse and visualise the data to share insights with the School in a user-friendly format. Local and institutional data will be presented and discussed with academic units to inform local actions and initiatives to address findings.

The Research Development team will work to embed the School-level findings across our operations, to communicate findings with the LSE community more broadly including the staff networks, and to present recommendations to the Race Equity Steering group to inform institutional policy. We anticipate these actions will synchronise with the Race Equality Charter at LSE.

Project lead Anouska will also disseminate the project as a case study across the wider research development profession, building on her work presented at the 2021 International Network of Research Management Societies (INORMS) conference on EDI pathways to research excellence, including a universal strategic approach for research institutions to achieve greater and more equitable research outcomes. This work won the Program Committee Chair’s Prize for outstanding poster this year and is available on the congress website here.

How can I get involved?

If you would like to get involved or find out more about the project, please get in touch with Dr Anouska Nithyanandan at a.nithyanandan@lse.ac.uk.