New vision for equality, diversity and inclusion

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In addition to promoting equality of women and men, the SNSF intends to lend greater support to diversity and inclusion. This is intended to make the research it funds both better and more socially relevant.

Diversity is a key prerequisite for scientific excellence. It is now needed more than ever in order to overcome the numerous challenges that society faces, as these require the deployment of all available talents. The SNSF has therefore approved a vision and mission for equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

EDI vision

In its vision, the SNSF defines three main areas with which to fully exploit the innovation potential associated with equality, diversity and inclusion: promotion of equal opportunities, constant improvement of the working culture and optimisation of the processes through which knowledge is generated.

The SNSF’s main goal is to ensure equal opportunity. Thomas Werder Schläpfer, Executive Management member, comments: “In the academic world there are still groups of people who are underrepresented in terms of their background or gender. It is important to recognise that obstacles exist at the structural and cultural level and to identify them. In this way we can develop ways to efficiently promote equal opportunity in science.”

Another goal is for all employees to be able to fully develop their potential in the research teams supported by the SNSF, based on a working environment shaped by respect and in line with the equality criteria. On the basis of its commitment to date, the SNSF thus wants to develop a strategy that will reinforce the inclusion of researchers with different profiles.

Ultimately, research results should benefit society as a whole. A number of possibilities are conceivable in order to ensure that this goal is reached. For example, the SNSF could require researchers to check to what extent they should take sex, gender, or other factors such as social origin into account in their research design, data collection, and results.

From vision to action plan

The SNSF will draw up an action plan for implementation of the EDI vision and the related mandate in the course of 2024. It will propose specific measures and define milestones for advancing the topic over the next four years. The previous equality measures will be a component of the new action plan, which will also stipulate how the impact of the measures is to be analysed. On the basis of these analyses, the SNSF will continue to develop its EDI efforts in a targeted manner.