The British Science Association is currently scoping a potential report into equality, diversity and inclusion initiatives within UK STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) businesses. We are looking for a freelance research professional or small agency to provide support for this project.

The Request for Proposals (RfP) closes at 09.00 on Monday 16 March 2020. Please find further details in RfP document or below.

Download the Request for Proposals document (pdf)

About the BSA

The British Science Association (BSA) is a charity with a vision of a world where science is at the heart of society and culture. Our mission is to transform the diversity and inclusivity of science, reach under-served audiences, and increase the number of people who are actively engaged and involved in science. 

The BSA has three core pillars of work: education, public engagement and thought leadership.  We deliver major UK-wide programmes including the British Science FestivalBritish Science WeekCREST Awards, the Huxley Summit and bespoke activities for science communicators, the mediapolicymakers and business.  We seek to influence and collaborate with stakeholders from across science, business and policy.

The BSA has an annual income of approximately £3.1 million and is managed by a professional staff of around 30 people based in London.

We have a Council which forms the board of trustees. We are funded by a mix of grants, sponsorships, donations and earned income.

About this project

The BSA is currently scoping a potential report into equality, diversity and inclusion initiatives within UK STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) businesses.

The BSA takes a broad view of STEM and STEM business – we include a wide range of fields such as computing science/technology, chemicals, food, textiles, craft, design, engineering, graphics and applied technologies including those relating to construction, transport, the built environment, biomedical, microbiological and food technology. Reports by organisations such as WISE, show that businesses in STEM are particularly affected by an unbalanced representation of gender, ethnicity and disability.  We are interested in how internal policies, working culture, and government/national policy impact the diversity and inclusivity of STEM organisations.  

This project is split into two parts.

Part A – scoping for a potential report

We are looking to undertake desk research exercise to:

  • Compile a topline literature review around diversity and inclusivity in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) business. This could include academic literature and grey literature, including Government reports/policies and sectorial reports.
  • Identifying gaps in evidence, and highlight areas for further research
  • Identify key individuals and organisations to involve in future research
  • Draft terms of reference for the report.

We are looking for a researcher to undertake this scoping exercise (approximately 3-5 days of work) in late March/early April 2020.  

Part B – supporting the delivery and development of the report

If we go ahead with the report (decision in mid-April), providing the chosen researcher has successfully completed Part A they will be offered the opportunity to help support the delivery of the report.

  • Analyse submitted evidence and publicly available information
  • Identify gaps in evidence, and suggest key individuals/organisations who could fill these gaps through interviews (including developing questions for them)
  • Identify possible areas to create new evidence; through surveys, new analysis of existing data or requests for evidence that is not publicly available (e.g. freedom of information requests)
  • Draft report – with support from the BSA – for review by key stakeholders and critical reviewers.

This part of the project is likely to run from May – November, and we expect it to be approximately 10 – 15 days’ work over this period.

What we need

We are looking for a freelance research professional or small agency to provide support for this project.  We will draw up a detailed description of services in partnership with our chosen supplier, but it is likely to include:

  • Desk research (both Part A and Part B)
  • Briefing phone calls and updates (both Part A and Part B)
  • Using your networks to find relevant evidence (Part B)
  • Attending meetings in London where necessary (Part B)
  • Writing and compiling a Terms of Reference (Part A) and drafting the report (Part B).

We are looking for a researcher who has:

  • A working understanding of equality, diversity and inclusion, and Government policy and initiatives in this area
  • Some knowledge of the STEM sector – e.g. industry groups, professional groups or learned societies and major employers
  • A track record in producing high-quality and rigorous reports for professional organisations
  • Experience of building knowledge quickly.

Your proposal

Please include the following information in your response.

  1. A biography or CV
  2. A short summary of your approach
  3. Your track record (a summary of your relevant experience)
  4. Names of one or more previous clients & a brief description of your work for them
  5. Budget breakdown (including whether you will charge VAT) and your availability to take this project on during March – November 2020. We recommend providing a day-rate and the number of days you think Part A and Part B will take you.


w/c 2 March 2020                   Request for proposals released

5 – 13 March 2020                  Opportunity for exploratory conversations on brief

9am, 16 March 2020               Deadline for submissions

w/c 16 March 2020                 Submissions reviewed and phone calls with shortlisted                                                        respondents

20 March 2020                        Contract offered

23 March – 7 April 2020         Part A undertaken

20 April 2020                           Decision to go ahead with Part B

May – November 2020           Delivery of Part B (in agreement with researcher, BSA and key stakeholders)

How to apply

Please submit your proposal by 09.00, 16 March 2020 to Jon Fitzmaurice, Head of Cultural Development, BSA.

Any enquiries in relation to this invitation to RfP can contact Jon Fitzmaurice via email to organise a call or meeting.

Please note that any responses given may be circulated to other potential bidders. If you require this information in a different format for accessibility reasons, please contact: Jon Fitzmaurice.

Appendix 1: background information on subject

A small selection of related literature.