Open and transparent research
Part of the Wellcome’s Institutional Strategic Support Fund award to the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute has been used to identify ways to create greater openness and transparency for applicants to funding opportunities, and to explore concrete ways by which equality, diversity & inclusion (EDI) can be improved in accessing these opportunities for researchers at all levels.
Professor Ian Penton-Voak, Professor of Evolutionary Psychology, School of Psychological Science, was appointed to lead the initiative and is looking at various way of addressing these issues.
An award from the initiative was made to Dr Alyson Huntley, Dr Lorna Duncan and Dr Shoba Dawson, Bristol Medical School, for a project to use and compare the usefulness of two EDI tools in the conduct of the HAPPY systematic review – the PROGRESS tool & one recently developed at Leicester.
Professor Penton-Voak has also been working with the Research and Enterprise Division, University of Bristol, on a new system for dissemination of research opportunities. The new Pivot-RP system has the ability to fingerprint/profile academics from ORCID profiles, other publicly available material and information provided by the researchers themselves. Pivot can then send curated grant opportunities directly to researchers, who can then flag calls they are interested in. These flags are visible to selected others who can then facilitate team building.
The third strand of work is a collaboration with the MoreBrains Co-operative – a group of experts in research ecosystems - to map pre-award processes, investigating factors that support or hinder researchers seeking funding (either as principal or co-investigators) through a series of workshops, webinars and a symposium.
Defining good practice in the pre-award area will require analysis of existing workflows and procedures to locate any filtration points, ‘gatekeepers’, or any other barriers to funding other than the rigour or quality of an applicant’s ideas. We will seek to develop a better understanding of which groups are disadvantaged at any given stage and how those effects play out.
Our goals are to deepen the shared understanding of how mechanisms of exclusion currently operate through the pre-award process, highlight good practice in tackling these issues where it is available, and to propose new concrete actions that should be taken to improve EDI.