UCU partners with university to improve disabled scientists' careers

A new project at Heriot-Watt University partnered by UCU Scotland begins today looking to improve the recruitment and retention of disabled academics in the science sector.

The project will seek to address the difficulties disabled academics face in their careers.  Research carried out at Heriot-Watt University in 2017 found that disabled people were being forced to leave their scientific careers for reasons such as inaccessible laboratories, social barriers and a lack of managerial understanding.

The Disability Inclusive Science Careers (DISC) project will seek to improve the recruitment, retention and career progression of disabled scientists in higher education by producing an online portal which will help employers understand the experiences and needs of disabled employees.  The project will also provide training for disabled people to support their career development in science.  The project is being funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to the sum of £500,000. 

Programme director and Heriot-Watt UCU branch equalities representative, Professor Kate Sang, said: 'I'm delighted to see the DISC project up and running and pleased that UCU are involved in the project's work.  DISC is ready to make a real difference to the careers of disabled academics in Scottish science.  With one in three employees in Scotland disabled, it is critical that no-one is held back in their career by disability.  It's important not only for the individual staff members themselves but also for the future of quality of research in our universities.  We can't afford to discount anyone and disability should never be a barrier to an academic career.'

Last updated: 4 December 2018

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