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17 August 2020

Diversity in STEM

Dr Michael Bojdys, Reader in Chemistry, is one of the contributors to an important new essay examining ways of promoting diversity in science.

Image credit Andy Brunning/Compound Interest

The essay, Catalyzing change – a diverse view of science, is a collaboration between 30 chemists from different countries. It examines the way some scientists have been marginalised on grounds of gender or sexual orientation and makes an impassioned case for building an inclusive scientific community based on mutual respect. The essay is being co-published with free access by leading scientific journals.

A number of publishers agreed to share the essay following approaches from Michael Bojdys. He commented:

The piece spoke for itself, it did not take too much convincing. If people are not willing to follow the moralistic arguments, that this piece is timely and important, then they would at the very least have followed the bottom line, which is that it will generate traffic. And that it will, I’m sure.

In preparing the essay Michael notes that the authors worked hard to strike a tone of progress and cooperation, as opposed to confrontation. He concludes:

We would speak the language of a positive outlook, how science and academia could be. This is what won people over, ultimately.

The Faculty of Natural & Mathematical Sciences at King’s has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, led by a dedicated committee. Work includes the Women in Science initiative, an elective module on professional skills for the globalised world, the Womxn in STEM network and the student-led Black in STEM society. Dr Helen Coulshed, chair of the Faculty Diversity Committee, added:

This article succinctly outlines the key limitations with maintaining the systemic inequality of the status quo. As a committee and a Faculty, we intend to be proactive in our approach, listening to and supporting our underrepresented groups to ensure equity at both staff and student level both in terms of representation and attainment. This will mean reviewing and improving recruitment and admissions procedures, and our mentoring networks so these groups can thrive whilst working and studying at King’s.

This article is co-published in the following journals:

Nature Chemistry

Chemical Science

Journal of the American Chemical Society

Angewandte Chemie International Edition

Canadian Journal of Chemistry

Croatica Chemica Acta

In this story

Helen Coulshed

Senior Lecturer in Chemistry Education