7 February 2023

The Equator Project - equity & inclusion in postgraduate research

Geography, Earth and Environmental Science (GEES) research will play a vital role in addressing the grand challenges of the 21st century, contributing to many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the global energy transition. However, there is a well-documented racial and ethnic diversity crisis in GEES subjects in the Global North that leads to inequities in who does environmental research.

The Equator project, a six-month project funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), which the IES supported through being part of their Steering Committee, set out to increase participation and retention of UK-domiciled Black, Asian and minority ethnic postgraduate research (PGR) students in GEES topics. The goal was to improve equity and diversity in a research area critical to a more sustainable future.

The transferable recommendations that arose from the study have been shared with the UK Research & Innovation body, including:

  • Recommendations for improving equity in doctoral recruitment 
  • Recommendations for building successful interventions to improve access and inclusion in postgraduate research

Further details and recommendations can be found in the open access Equator Project Report.

For details of the IES's work in addressing the lack of diversity in the wider environment sector, take a look at our report A challenging environment: Experiences of ethnic minority environmental professionals.