Brain Sciences


Race equity

We were one of the first universities in the UK to receive a Race Equality Charter Bronze Award and as a Faculty we are strongly committed to creating equal opportunities for all.

Meet our Race Equity Lead: Dr Bilal Malik

Bilal Malik

Bilal works in the Department of Neuromuscular Diseases at the Queen Square Institute of Neurology (IoN). At the Institute, Bilal is involved with the Equity Diversity and Inclusion action groups. Through this role, Bilal wishes to support students and staff from ethnic minorities in order for them to achieve success in their studies and careers whilst at UCL. 

Bilal hopes to provide help in closing the BAME attainment gap, remove racial inequalities and promote UCL as an inclusive diverse place of learning

Dean's Race Equality Pledges

As part of our Faculty EDI strategy, we have made the following pledges for 2021/22:

  • Increase the number of BME staff in the Faculty.
  • Conduct qualitative research into staff BME experience.
  • Continue to support the actions to reduce BSc awarding gap to ensure maintenance of success.
  • Promote process reviews to address race wage gap.
  • Support BME doctoral fellowships to increase the academic pipeline.
  • Establish Faculty diversity awards to recognise staff and student contributions to diversity.

We have identified a number of long term goals which we will address through four stages: a planning stage (2019/20); a listening stage (2020/21); an acting stage (2021/22); and finally an evaluation stage (2022/23).

Race equity initiatives in the Faculty of Brain Sciences

The 'Science of Bias' module

Our Science of Bias module is designed to provide all Faculty of Brain Sciences undergraduates with the latest insight on bias. It covers genetics, evolution, social psychology, neuroscience and organisational psychology. It also engages with UCL’s role in the eugenics movement. It is currently an optional module for 3rd year students. The current plans are to have it go on hiatus in 2021-2022, and return as a compulsory module in term 1, year 2 during the 2022-2023 academic year for all BSc Psychology students. It will become compulsory for the other undergraduate programmes from 2023-2024. 

Focus groups with BAME staff

We are about to begin a number of focus groups with BAME staff. These will provide insight into hiring, retention, and promotion obstacles that reduce the number of BAME staff in the Faculty, and contribute to pay gaps. They will also focus on improving the experience of staff.

Recruitment initiative

We are in the process of developing best practices for recruitment to enhance the number of BAME staff in the faculty. We have conducted a survey of recruitment and hiring panels to identify the current practices, and to inform best practices. We are working closely with central HR to ensure that our efforts align with theirs, and to support their initiatives around a candidate pack, all in the service of achieving UCL’s goal of hiring 50 Black academics over the next three years. The candidate pack is a document sent to all potential employees for each job in the Faculty. We are also developing an online training focused on good hiring practices, which we will supplement with synchronous workshops.

Doctoral fellowships

We have created a doctoral fellowship for BAME students in the Faculty. This supplements a recently created demonstratorship for Black students in PALS funded by staff contributions, and the UCL ROS Windsor fellowship, awarded to at least one FBS doctoral student per year. 

'Diversifying the Curriculum' workshop

To supplement the work addressing the BAME Awarding Gap, we will host a workshop in May for MSc programme directors to develop strategies to continue making our curricula more inclusive.


We are partnering with a student-led non-profit Thinking Black to develop an outreach programme sponsored by the Faculty for BME secondary school students to get them interested in Brain Sciences and UCL. 

In addition to the above, we are continuing to support the BAME Awarding Gap project, and the UCL PGR funding bid to UKRI.