Equality and diversity in physics

In the Department of Physics we are committed to fostering the next generation of physicists in an environment that is diverse and inclusive, ensuring equal opportunities for all, independently of their race, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or other protected characteristic.

Our equality, diversity and inclusion mission

Our Department exists to generate and disseminate knowledge and understanding of the physical world. To achieve this goal and deliver novel solutions to “grand challenge” problems, we foster the next generation of young minds, nurturing and supporting talent irrespective of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or any other protected characteristic.

Our equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) strategy sets out our vision for growing and supporting diversity in physics. We seek to ensure equal opportunity in both physics education and careers, for students in school and university classrooms, for our University staff, for students and staff placed at our industry and partner institutions, and in the broader physics ecosystem.

Industry and other partner institutions

We have a dedicated industry liaison lead to work with our industrial, academic and other partner institutions to ensure our EDI mission and goals are aligned. We ask visiting tutors to enquire with students on any EDI issues they have experienced, as well as any good practice that we may learn from. This then feeds in to our EDI action plan.

Metrics for success

We are developing metrics to monitor and report on our success in growing diversity, and reflect on and improve our diversity strategy. These include, but are not limited to:

Monitoring student progression and performance as a function of their diverse backgrounds.

Collating all data in a secure physics database, using this to review long-term trends.

Observing the effect of all EDI action items to determine their efficacy, and be vigilant for any unintended consequences.

A yearly staff survey to collate EDI data and identify any problem areas.

Monitoring the diversity of our student intake.

Obtaining EDI accreditation from Project Juno and Athena Swan.

Gender equality

We are a member of the Institute of Physics equality and diversity initiative, Project Juno, that rewards physics departments for promoting gender equality in physics, and we have an active equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) programme with the goal of growing the diversity of our student body and ensuring a welcoming environment for all.

Project Juno promotes best practices for equality and diversity within UK physics departments through six principles:

  • A robust organisation framework to deliver equality of opportunity and reward

  • Departmental structures and systems which support and encourage the progression or promotion of all and enable them to progress and continue in their careers

  • Departmental organisation, structure, management arrangements and culture that are open, inclusive and transparent and encourage the participation of all within the department

     

  • Appointment and selection processes and procedures that encourage all to apply for positions at all levels

  • Flexible approaches and provisions that enable individuals, at all career and life stages, to optimize their contribution to their department, institution and to science, technology, engineering and mathematics

  • Professional conduct that is embedded into Departmental culture and behaviour.

Our status

We are currently a Juno practitioner and have completed the following key actions:

  • Collection and monitoring of quantitative EDI data
  • Collection and monitoring of survey data
  • Mandatory EDI training for all staff and students
  • Working with the faculty to support flexible working and transparent promotion criteria
  • Development of a code of conduct for all staff and students.

    Next steps

    We are working towards becoming a Juno champion by doing the following:

    • Promoting awareness of EDI and embedding the Juno principles in the Departmental procedures
    • Reviewing survey data to inform initiatives
    • Developing an open work allocation model
    • Developing innovative EDI training for students.
    Students walking along the River Wey

    Equality and diversity at Surrey

    The University of Surrey recognises the wealth of benefits to be gained from a diverse national and international University community in which every individual contribution is valued.