Let’s fix the system, not the scientists

Diversity initiatives typically focus on empowering scientists from minority backgrounds to navigate academia. Although such efforts can be valuable, the structural barriers faced by minority scientists must also be addressed, particularly in the distribution of research funding.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1.

    Campbell, L. G. et al. Gender-heterogeneous working groups produce higher quality science. PLoS One 8, e79147 (2013).

  2. 2.

    Shen, H. Inequality quantified: mind the gender gap. Nature 495, 22–24 (2013).

  3. 3.

    Rollock, N. Staying power: the career experiences and strategies of UK Black female professors. University and College Union https://www.ucu.org.uk/media/10075/Staying-Power/pdf/UCU_Rollock_February_2019.pdf (2019).

  4. 4.

    Hruby, D. Sexism is still a problem for German research. Nature 567, S60–S62 (2019).

  5. 5.

    Peplow, M. Women’s work. Nat. Rev. Chem. 3, 283–286 (2019).

  6. 6.

    House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. Written evidence submitted by Professor Rachel Oliver and 203 others. data.parliament.uk http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/science-and-technology-committee/my-science-inquiry/written/94105.html (2018).

  7. 7.

    Britton, B., Jackson, C. & Wade, J. The reward and risk of social media for academics. Nat. Rev. Chem. 3, 459–461 (2019).

  8. 8.

    Oliver, R. A. Select Committees - My Science Inquiry Pitch. YouTube https://youtu.be/6owh4Rw6wuk (2019).

  9. 9.

    House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. Correspondence from the Chair of the Committee to Sir Mark Walport, UKRI. parliament.uk https://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/science-technology/Correspondence/19-09-09-Chair-to-UKRI-re-data-for-equality-diversity-inclusion-and-accessibility-inquiry.pdf (9 Sep 2019).

  10. 10.

    House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. Correspondence from Sir Mark Walport, UKRI, to the Chair of the Committee. parliament.uk https://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/science-technology/Correspondence/191030-UKRI%20to%20Chair%20re%20Impact%20of%20funding%20on%20equality%20diversity%20inclusion%20and%20accessibility.pdf (30 Oct 2019).

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Rachel A. Oliver.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

R.A.O is a member of The Inclusion Group for Equity in Research in STEMM (TIGERS).

Additional information

Related links

The Inclusion Group for Equity in Research in STEMM (TIGERS): https://www.tigerinstemm.org/home

Irish Research Council: Gender Strategy & Actions: http://research.ie/assets/uploads/2018/08/04108-IRC-Gender-flyer-proof03-single.pdf

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Oliver, R.A. Let’s fix the system, not the scientists. Nat Rev Mater 5, 83–84 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41578-020-0177-1

Download citation