All-Party Parliamentary Group on Diversity & Inclusion in STEM

About the Group

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) in STEM aims to promote the inclusion and progression of people from diverse backgrounds in STEM, and to encourage government, parliamentarians, academics, businesses and other stakeholders to work towards a STEM sector that is representative of the population. We also want to consider and influence changes in policy that will lead to this outcome. For more updates, follow us on Twitter.

As part of its work on equality, diversity and inclusion across the science and science engagement sectors, the British Science Association (BSA) acts as secretariat for the Group. The Group is made up of Members of Parliament and Lords, and is a focus for collaboration with businesses and other organisations in STEM.

Details of previous meetings of the APPG can be found here.


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The Officers and Members of the APPG are listed below. All Officers were elected at the APPG's AGM on 27 April 2023.

Photos taken from the Parliament Website under an Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) licence. Photo of Lord Willetts taken by Duncan Hull under an Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) licence.

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All-Party Parliamentary Groups are informal groups of members of both houses with a common interest in particular issues. The views expressed in these webpages are those of the group.

Photo credit: Maurice

On 23 November 2022, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Diversity & Inclusion in STEM held its first in-person meeting since late-2019 (meetings in 2020-21 were held online due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic). Hosted by our chair, Chi Onwurah MP,  the meeting brought together our members, partners and other stakeholders to explore recent Diversity & Inclusion initiatives in the STEM sector, and to discuss the Group’s recent and upcoming activities. 

The meeting included a panel discussion on EDI priorities in STEM with Chi Onwurah MP,  Michelle Rea, Director of Communications at the Gatsby Foundation, Dr Shera Chok, Chief Medical Officer at NHS Digital, and Dr Jo O’Leary, Head of Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Strategy at UK Research and Innovation. The discussion was chaired by Hannah Russell, Chief Executive at the British Science Association, and was followed by a networking session. 

The following points were highlighted during the discussion by the panellists and other participants: 

Technical Skills 

  • It is important to inspire young people and teach them about the variety of roles where technical skills are needed in STEM jobs and industries. For example, Technicians: The David Sainsbury Gallery’ at the Science Museum opened in 2022 as a free, permanent, interactive gallery funded by the Gatsby Foundation, which showcases the wide variety of technician careers available for young people. Aimed at 11-16 year olds, the gallery seeks to change perceptions of technical careers and inspire the technicians of the future. The exhibition aims to address elitism and give people in technical roles the platform to tell their own stories.  
  • Using the correct definition of STEM skills is very important. The focus should not be on post-graduates only. The future workforce will not be adequate if we do not put enough effort into building technical skills now. 
  • Many jobs require technical skills. Campaigns such as UKRI’s 101 jobs celebrates this diversity of roles and the contributions that people make. It’s difficult to collect data across all these roles.  
  • It’s important to co-design a curriculum for technical skills with employers and delivery organisations. In order to build evidence to support technical career routes, the Education and Training Foundation are inviting responses in late-2022 from individuals who play any role in apprenticeship delivery (Schools, FE providers, Universities, Employers and wider stakeholders) to understand their training needs. There will also be qualitative focus groups and some of these will be addressing equity, equality, diversity and inclusion in an apprenticeship context. 
  • STEM skills are closely correlated with growth. Some UK regions do not have the levers to drive their own economic stability. We know there are significant regional disparities in STEM in the UK, but we need to better understand how STEM skills are distributed, and not having access to data is a concern. The upcoming APPG on D&I in STEM’s report on Regional STEM Skills Inequity might provide some answers.  


Impact of COVID-19 

  • The pandemic has changed how patients and clinicians interact. Technology is helping to provide safe and compassionate healthcare, but the technology sector is not diverse. Overall, in the NHS 77% of staff are female, and 20 % are from racially minoritised groups, but at Chief Technology Officer level, there are <5 women from ethnic minority backgrounds. Because of the lack of diversity, a key public service is in danger of missing out on innovation and ideas, which could impact patient experience. Initiatives to build STEM skills at different career stages such as The Shuri Network can help women from ethnic minorities to move into more senior technical and digital NHS roles.  
  • STEM workplaces are still dealing with post-pandemic disruption. For example, across disciplines it was often the technicians who were keeping laboratories running through the pandemic. There are still questions about the future of STEM workplaces, and which STEM roles (or which aspects of STEM roles) can be done remotely.  
  • The pandemic posed many challenges to the research and innovation sector, such as what type of research is being conducted, the methodologies, access to different research environments have all been affected. It will take years to come through with the data on the impact of the pandemic, but a lot has been disrupted. 


Inspiring inclusive culture 

  • Diversity alone is not enough – we need inclusive cultures where creativity and people can thrive and flourish. The ambition for more inclusive cultures is at the heart of the government’s R&D people and culture strategy.   
  • Leadership is critical to ensuring that diversity and inclusion moves beyond a tick-box exercise. As well as adequate policies, we need leaders to be talking about it, and it is important to continue to have conversations across businesses and academia.  
  • Excuses are used to explain the lack of diversity and inclusion in STEM that are thinly veiled forms of elitism such as “science is hard, it isn’t for everyone”. Science is an increasingly bigger part of our lives, so jobs in science need to be normalised. 
  • Young people often have pre-conceived ideas of what a scientist/technician is. It is important to draw people’s attention to the nuance of these professions. We need to do more to join-up and scale-up engagement with schools so that teachers are aware of what skills are out there. 
  • Role models are helpful, but they should be closer in age and experience to young people, not the titans but the undergraduates who are doing the work at the “next stage”. We need to ask young people what they want from a career in STEM and listen to what would support them.  


A list of those in attendance: 

  • Gisela Abbam, PerkinElmer 
  • Tom Addison, The Physiological Society 
  • Tomi Akingbade, Black Women in Science Network 
  • Folashade Akinmolayan-Taiwo, Queen Mary University of London 
  • Tim Archer, Education Policy Institute 
  • Cerian Ayres, Education & Training Foundation 
  • Agasty Baylon Yogaratnam, British Science Association 
  • Colby Benari, In2Science 
  • Colin Brown, representing Baroness Brown of Cambridge 
  • Shera Chok, NHS Digital 
  • Lucky Cullen, Applied Microbiology International 
  • Fiona Dorrington, Institute of Physics 
  • David Fagan, Make UK 
  • Jasper Green, University College London 
  • Natalia Grzomba, British Science Association 
  • Becky Hartley, PwC 
  • Clio Heslop, British Science Association 
  • Mark Hollingsworth, The Nutrition Society 
  • Joanna Jasiewicz, Royal Society of Chemistry 
  • Aalia Kazi, Roche 
  • Rachel Lambert-Forsyth, British Pharmacological Society 
  • Sean McFadden, STEM Learning 
  • Katie Miller, Mission 44 
  • Laura Norton, Institute of Engineering and Technology 
  • Jo O’Leary, UK Research and Innovation 
  • Chi Onwurah MP 
  • Angelique Parry, PerkinElmer 
  • Amita Randhawa, Centre for Process Innovation 
  • Michelle Rea, Gatsby Foundation 
  • Hannah Russell, British Science Association 
  • Daniel Sandford Smith, Gatsby Foundation 
  • Liliana Shymanska, British Science Association 
  • Amy Smith, Centre for Process Innovation 
  • Bisi Soledolu, NHS England 
  • Arun Verma, Royal Academy of Engineering