Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Statement
The CDT in Robotics and Autonomous Systems is committed to facilitating a shift in the culture and diversity of the robotics research community through pro-active practices to support equality, diversity and inclusion at all levels. A principal aim is to promote wider gender diversity in what is perceived as a male dominated field of RAS. More generally, the CDT will ensure all students and staff are respected and valued for their unique perspectives and contributions, and that no-one is treated differently or less favourably on the basis of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, gender or sexual orientation.
Positive actions we are taking include:
The CDT actively encourages applications from groups who are underrepresented in the Centre.
We have clear guidelines for student recruitment and all academic staff are encouraged to participate in the recruitment process through interview panels or at the regular consensus meetings when student appointments are made. We ensure diversity on our interview panels to make the selection process fair and transparent for all candidates.
We will continue to monitor our marketing materials and website to ensure that we include female students and those from diverse backgrounds.
Our future recruitment strategy includes visits to universities by female staff, including the centre director, and female-only student open days.
We are creating a culture of awareness at the Centre to increase diversity by providing Unconscious Bias Training for academics and professional support staff, and a mandatory on-line Diversity in the Workplace training course for all students in the first year of their PhD.
Speakers at our Annual Conference and Gateway training seminars from academia and industry will be selected to reflect our commitment to diversity.
We will promote increased student satisfaction by creating an inclusive, supportive learning environment. We will address the issue of potential isolation that frequently arises from low representation in small cohorts by supporting cross-cohort activities, cross-CDT events and links to the wider PhD student communities within the institutions, which have sufficient mass to overcome this issue.
Inclusion will be enhanced by providing female-only events (e.g. hackathons) and support groups, such as Women in Robotics Edinburgh (WiRE). The personalised Technical Learning Portfolio approach is specifically designed to provide students with a flexible working pattern thus maximising retention for students with personal circumstances e.g. for carers or those with health-related issues.
We recognise that ED&I is a matter for all staff and students within the Centre but to ensure that we are able to provide the required level of support, Professor Barbara Webb is primarily responsible for ED&I and Dr Michael Herrmann will provide pastoral care.
The CDT is a partnership between Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh and is fully aligned with the ED&I policies of these institutions which can be found at the below links.