The School of Biology is committed to supporting all staff and students and does not tolerate racism in any form. The Biology Anti-Racism Committee is a network of students and early career researchers within the School who organise educational and social activities designed to promote antiracism and an inclusive culture. They work closely with BEDI and together we have undertaken several initiatives to address underrepresentation of minorities in academia.
- *New* Distinguished Public Lectures: In 2023, we hosted Angela Saini to speak about Fighting racial myths
- Publications: members of the school have published thought-provoking articles
- Racism in academia, and why the ‘little things’ matter (Nature, Laland 2020) including suggestions to reduce racism in academia
- Tackling racism: time to step up (RSE resource magazine, Laland Spring 2021, p7)
- Conference guidelines: Following concerns about diversity and inclusion at conferences, we produced guidelines for organising a diverse conference/workshop.
- Recruitment advice:
- We have developed an advertising and recruitment checklist to highlight EDI issues around advertising new positions
- We have developed EDI Guidelines for the Assessment of Candidates and Recruitment Presentations
- Unconscious bias training for all staff and students. Prior to any interviews, we ask staff to take an unconscious bias awareness refresher by looking over the University resources and watching the video produced by the Royal Society. For academic staff appointments, we also ask that the selection panel watches this video on common biases during candidate selection.
Decolonising the curriculum
- Biology undergraduate students undertook a Summer Teams Enterprise Project (STEP) led by Mari Coulibaly, coached by Salma Ali and Jurin Katayama, and supervised by Prof Kevin Laland. Their final report was produced as a guide to staff on decolonising the biology curriculum.
- Prof Kevin Laland has produced a lecture on Racism in Biology (watch this here). This has been widely viewed, and was noted in Fola Ikpehai’s blog about race and ethnicity in higher education as part of UK Race Equality Week.
- Dr Furaha Asani was invited to speak to us about “Social Responsibility in Science” in 2021.
- We are currently developing new modules that teach social responsibility in science and the science of race and racism.
Global Challenges Programme Winners
School of Biology students Salma Ali and Radhe Kumar were the winners of the Global Challenges Program with their entry “A plan to nurture and maintain a thriving diverse and inclusive community in the University of St. Andrews”. Their presentation can be viewed here.
Admissions: We are currently working on a series of actions designed to encourage more applications from students of colour.
Student BAME microgrant scheme: Launched in 2021, microgrants are available to support Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) undergraduate and postgraduate applicants seeking financial support for biological educational purposes. Examples of suitable purposes include, but are not restricted to:
- Study-related costs (textbooks, lab materials)
- Travel to conferences or workshops
- Travel costs for field trips and field-based research
- Living costs during a summer research program
The scheme is open to any matriculated BAME student in the School of Biology. Applicants will be considered on a rolling basis, and interested students are advised to apply as early as possible. Applicants may apply to the scheme multiple times. For enquiries, please contact the BEDI committee at [email protected].
We refer staff to the beacon activities and decolonising the curriculum material above.