Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Policy

The Future Leaders Fellows Development Network Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Policy

Version 2 – July 2022

This Policy is adapted from the Future Leaders Fellows Development Network’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy (2022), which was last reviewed by our Advisory Board in January 2022. Please contact us at hello@flfdevnet.com if you’d like to view the complete Strategy.

General principles

  • The Future Leaders Fellows Development Network aims to provide a pathway for Fellows to model and promote inclusive research cultures across the research and innovation sectors. The aim is of this policy is to establish a culture within which each Fellow in the Network feels respected and to able to give their best. The Network is also committed to modelling best practice in equality, diversity and inclusion in all of our deliveries.
  • Through a combination of monitoring and continuous improvement, we will ensure that our training and development offerings strives to achieve the highest standards of equality, diversity, and inclusion. This EDI policy is a living document and will be revisited periodically as best practice and legislation change. We welcome input from Fellows on all EDI-related matters and they are welcome to reach out to our EDI consultant, Dr Udeni Salmon, or EDI manager, Dr Katie Nicoll Baines, to discuss or ask questions they may wish to have addressed.

Responsible innovation and governance 

  • We model diversity of thought and inclusion of different experiences in the membership of our Advisory Board. Our EDI consultant, Dr Udeni Salmon, provides expertise in inclusion and evaluation to the Network’s Advisory Board as well as its Project Board. Additionally, the Network’s EDI manager, Dr Katie Nicoll Baines, works across the project streams to ensure we support knowledge building across the full spectrum of EDI characteristics.
  • We recognise that Fellows may share experiences of EDI issues while participating in Network activities. Where appropriate, with the consent of those affected or ensuring the anonymity of the Fellow(s) affected, the Network will signpost issues to UKRI for the purposes of understanding and improving research culture. Where Fellows experience EDI issues relating to their employment they will be encouraged to use the relevant policies at their host institution.

Support the full diversity of Fellows

  • The Network undertakes ongoing review of event and activity planning to ensure content reflects the diversity required to support inclusive research communities. The Network operates in line with public sector equality monitoring with respect to the nine protected characteristics (Equality Act 2010). We are dedicated to acting beyond legislative requirements to address issues such as allyship, class/socio-economic status and decolonisation work.

Encourage EDI best practice through Plus Funds awards

  • We have embedded an EDI criterion within the governance for the Network’s Plus Funds awards, and projects are assessed on their contribution to EDI and cannot be awarded funding if the proposal scores below 60% in this criterion. One-to-one support is available for Plus Funds applicants to develop their knowledge of EDI and help them to develop stronger applications.

Offer bespoke EDI training to Fellows

  • The Network offers specialist training that will develop Fellows’ knowledge of inclusive research practices, enabling them to use their position as research leaders to be a role model for progressive EDI practices.

Monitoring EDI

  • The Network may undertake appropriate collection of demographic data with clear explanation as to purpose and use of data. Data may be collected to ensure we are understanding our cohort needs and creating suitable methods of network-building. Demographics will include the nine protected characteristics, according to Equality Act 2010, with scope to include other factors such as class/socio-economic status and others that emerge as important for EDI consideration. Data collection must be agile and open to being updated, both if Fellow demographics change and if monitoring requirements change.
  • Reporting of EDI considerations will be fed back to the Project Board (every six weeks) as necessary, and an updated ‘Considerations of EDI’ will be presented to the Advisory Board on a bi-annual basis. This will enable the consideration of any improvements required to improve inclusion and representation of those from under-represented groups.

Evaluation of EDI

  • We are working with Hopestone, our evaluation specialist, to create an effective baseline for our EDI activities. Hopestone will provide regular review throughout the contract. The Network will produce a comprehensive impact and evaluation sub-project in the final months of our contract period.


  • We acknowledge the disproportionate impact that the COVID-19 pandemic may have had on marginalised groups (including but not limited to people with caring responsibilities, disabled, LGBT+ and those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities). We recognise that the impact of COVID-19 on both the personal and professional lives of our Fellows may be affecting their ability to engage with the Network and the associated opportunities. The Network is committed to maximising inclusion and engagement where possible. We commit to continuous review of our online, in-person, hybrid, and asynchronous engagements to assess positive and negative impacts on inclusion. Where possible, in-person events will include hybrid access to remove the barrier for attending residential programs. We also have a dedicated Family Friendly policy to support fellows with caring responsibilities to participate in Network activities.

Including pronouns

  • We ask our Fellows to share their pronouns on our demographic forms. The rationale for this is to ensure we know the correct way in which to refer to someone and we are not reliant on making an assumption, e.g. based on their gender presentation or name. We recognise that for some people the pronouns they use could change over time and that our monitoring should signal that we understand changes are possible. We also provide pronoun stickers for all our in-person events and encourage participants in our online events to share their pronouns alongside their username in Zoom.


For further information about how our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy (2022) is put into the Network’s practice, please see our Principled Spaces Policy.