Prestigious grant for Oxford Brookes-led research into equality for transgender scientists

A microscope
Scientists using a microscope in a laboratory

A grant of almost £100,000 is being used by researchers at Oxford Brookes University to explore how to create a more inclusive work environment for transgender scientists.

The study is one of five projects funded by a £485,000 grant awarded by The Royal Society of Chemistry and the Science and Innovation Network and will examine LGBT+ under-representation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).

Oxford Brookes has partnered with the University of Missouri on the project which will use insights from the experiences of transgender people as well as statistical evidence to influence policies and strategies within organisations, sectors and governments. 

“The aim is to enhance equality and creativity in STEM fields by broadening inclusion and retention for all talent, including trans talent,” said Dr Cal Horton, from Oxford Brookes’ Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice (CDPRP). 

Dr Horton is the principal investigator on the project which is entitled Addressing Systemic Precarity: Trans Inclusion and Retention in STEM (ASPIRE).

Dr Horton said: “ASPIRE is a 16-month collaboration. It involves surveys of the experiences of trans professionals from the UK and US and a review of existing, related literature. The research is supported by a wider network of advisors and collaborators including the Trans Learning Partnership.

“Researchers from the University of Missouri are leading on the US elements of the project, ensuring that the research includes an in-depth understanding of context in relation to trans scientists in America,” added Dr Horton. 

The £485,000 funding scheme will bring together UK-US government agencies, NGOs, universities, researchers and funders. It comes after The Royal Society of Chemistry published the 'Exploring the workplace for LGBT+ physical scientists' joint report revealing the need for significant changes to be made in STEM workplaces where cultural barriers can add to the challenges faced by LGBT+ scientists. 

ASPIRE builds upon wider work at Oxford Brookes University to enhance equality and opportunity for all, including the work of CDPRP

ASPIRE will sit alongside wider work on equality, diversity and inclusion at Oxford Brookes University. Oxford Brookes University has an Athena Swan Bronze Award for its work to enhance gender equality, is a top-100 employer in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index in recognition of its work to promote LGBTQ+ equality, is a Race Equality Charter member and a Disability Confident Employer. Find out more about Oxford Brookes University’s equality, diversity and inclusion work