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REC pilot for research institutes and small and specialist institutes update

04 Mar 2024 | Tinashe Verhaeghe In response to requests for a Race Equality Charter process that understands their unique contexts, Advance HE has launched a pilot for Research Institutes and Small and Specialist Institutions. Tinashe Verhaeghe, Senior Advisor (Equality Charters), shares an update on this initiative.

Following the design phases for a Race Equality Charter (REC) to meet the needs of research institutes and small and specialist institutions (SSI), at Advance HE we were able to develop a common understanding of the challenges these sectors may face going through the Charters journey and design interventions to support them. A REC pilot scheme for research institutes and SSIs was launched in September 2023.  

Colleagues from these sectors contributed to design groups that shaped the pilot that is currently underway. Their expertise in their sector and equalities work highlighted key challenges and opportunities that have been harnessed into a bespoke programme of activity and resources for the group. 


Outputs from the design phase have been incorporated into the pilot including but not limited to: 

  1. Guidance on data analysis when working with small numbers 
  2. Innovative ways to resource the Charter work 
  3. Opportunities for peer learning and mentorship 
  4. Representation from these groups on panels (there will be a call later in the year for panelists.) 

Pilot participants

At present, participants include: 

  • Arts University Bournemouth 
  • Cranfield University 
  • University of Law 
  • Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine 
  • Royal College of Art 
  • University Centre Leeds 
  • British Geological Survey 
  • James Hutton Institute 
  • Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture 
  • Wellcome Sanger Institute 
  • LAMDA 
  • Richmond American University London 

The pilot kicked off in September 2023 with three REC readiness workshops open to anyone in the pilot institutions who would be a key part of the Charter process. Through a combination of peer learning opportunities, support from an Institutional Strategic Advisor, access to all Charter events and resources and a mock panel, participants will be working towards submitting in either June or November 2025. 


Feedback from pilot participants on the journey so far has been overwhelmingly positive, with the networking and community of practice opportunities that the pilot supports being seen as particularly impactful.  

One participant spoke of the positive impact of the pilot so far stating, “The opportunity to interact and learn from colleagues and institutions that share similar contexts with mine...[and] the sharing of previous submission experiences have been particularly helpful.”  

Another said, it was valuable to have “the ability to have safe spaces” in the pilot format. 

The pilot will continue to run until December 2025, aiming to create a pathway for all research institutes and small and specialist institutions to support them to overcome the current barriers and challenges to the Charter journey.



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