IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Delivering research excellence within an inclusive, diverse and equitable research culture

This research project aims to develop an understanding of and share best practice on, ‘what works’ in tackling EDI/DEI and research culture challenges. 

This project runs from December 2023 to March 2025 and is funded by a UCL Global Engagement fund.


Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI, or DEI in the Japanese context) are integral to delivering research excellence and a world-leading research and innovation system. The ethos and principles of EDI/DEI include valuing people with different skills, expertise and talent, and fostering a positive and inclusive culture where individuals from diverse backgrounds have equal opportunities to participate in and benefit from, the impact and investments of research and innovation. Research excellence underpinned by a strong commitment to tackling underrepresentation and promoting EDI/DEI is vital for advancing scientific knowledge that addresses global challenges and delivers social and economic benefits. However, institutional barriers and challenges remain in creating more inclusive and equitable research cultures and environments. 

These issues are related to career progression, pay and equality gaps, and barriers to accessing research funding and an inclusive research culture. University College London (UCL) and Tohoku University are research-intensive institutions located in very different cultural, socio-economic and institutional contexts. However, both universities share a common mission to promote EDI/DEI in research culture and development. Through creating a cross-cultural and cross-institutional network of researchers, scholars and senior professional service leaders together, the project will develop an understanding of, and share best practice on, ‘what works’ in tackling EDI/DEI and research culture challenges. 

The project’s activities will be guided by a series of research questions: 

  1. What does the evidence say about effective strategies for fostering equality, diversity and inclusion in the research environment in higher education? 
  2. What enablers and barriers do academic staff face in achieving their potential? 
  3. How do the barriers or challenges faced by academic staff and the support that they require, differ between UCL and Tohoku University? 
  4. What are the cultural, national and institutional factors that influence effective practices to promote a positive research culture and EDI/DEI? 

The project activities will inform an ongoing consultation with UCL Research Culture Programme Board, to support the successful delivery of UCL’s 10-year Research Culture Roadmap.


The project will collect data in three ways: 

  • A literature scoping review on effective approaches to creating inclusive, equitable research institutional environments. 
  • Survey questionnaires to understand staff and student perspectives and experiences of research culture and environment. 
  • Knowledge exchange workshops, partnership engagement events and a National Symposium event where collaborative project information and learning will be shared between institutions.

Project aims

  • To bring together a cross-institutional and cross-cultural network of researchers, scholars and senior professional service leaders to share best practice on ‘what works’ in tackling EDI and research culture challenges. 
  • To engage with the research evidence-base to foster dialogue and reflections on nurturing a positive and supportive research culture. 
  • To foster collaboration, knowledge exchange and shared learnings to inform institutional culture, policies and practices on creating an inclusive, diverse and equitable research culture.


Project leads


Additional information

Contact us

Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE)
Department of Education, Practice and Society
IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society
University College London
20 Bedford Way
London WC1H 0AL