This week has been both busy and interesting with my first Council meeting as Chief Executive. At the start of the week I had the pleasure of meeting the finalists in the Biotechnology and Environmental Young Entrepreneur Scheme and hearing some of them give their pitches. The questioning by the panels was really tough and certainly equal to, or greater than, any grilling by venture capital firms in the real world.
I was also really encouraged by the diversity of the teams, which represents progress in comparison to the statistics reported on diversity within universities published by HESA earlier in the year. Approximately 20% of all professors are female, across all disciplines, although they make up over 40% of all academic staff and with the figures also showing less diversity in terms of ethnicity. I believe the issue of diversity is of great importance; most recently this meant giving a talk to the BBSRC Human Resources (HR) Network, made up of HR professionals from a number of BBSRC strategically funded institutes, on the importance of diversity. This opportunity also allowed me to find out what the institutes were doing to progress Athena SWAN accreditation. [...]