The Physiological Society is committed to strengthening its practices in diversity, equality and inclusion; with the aim of supporting the physiology community and wider STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) workforce. It was one of the first member bodies to sign the Science Council Declaration on Diversity, which was launched in October 2014 to promote a more diverse science workforce.

The Society has appointed two Diversity Champions – Dr Rachel Tribe and Dr Sue Deuchars. As Trustees of The Society, they are well placed to ensure our commitment filters through all activities at The Society; indeed, since signing the Declaration, great strides have been made in this respect, informed both by staff and membership surveys, and benchmarking work. The activity is regularly reviewed by The Society’s Council of Trustees to monitor progress.

The Society believes that all members and non-members interacting with Society activities should be treated fairly and on merit; to this end, it has offered training to Society Staff, Council and Committee members in Unconscious Bias. A one-hour workshop, run by Challenge Consultancy was attended by approximately 80 delegates at our recent meeting, Physiology 2016; feedback was excellent.

The Society believes it is important to provide a platform for physiologists of all backgrounds to share their research. From 2016, symposium and Departmental Seminar Series organisers will be asked to commit to an aspirational target of 33% female representation of speakers. Furthermore, we will continue to work towards fair geographical balance as well as fair representation of both junior and senior research scientists. To support The Society's early career researchers, we hosted a networking session with senior members of The Society; more details can be found here. The event received excellent feedback and we are considering opportunities for the future.

The Society also supports an extensive education and outreach programme, which aims to increase participation from underrepresented groups to improve the diversity within physiology, STEM and the wider community. Through our outreach and public engagement we have expanded our reach by integrating our activities outside of traditional science events, attending music festivals, country shows, and family events as well as updating our grant schemes to reflect our focus in supporting under-represented groups and fair access to higher education.

These are the first of many actions The Society is taking to increase equality for physiologists from all backgrounds to work, without discrimination. We will continue to add to this page as The Society introduces new initiatives.

Beyond this, The Society is committed to developing an internal Diversity programme for staff, not only to ensure Diversity, Equality and Inclusion for employees but also to ensure good practice becomes central to all of our core activities. We are confident that staff, members and the wider physiology community will see the emergence of a stronger, more diverse workforce as a result of this project.

Staff and members are encouraged to follow and contribute to The Society’s Diversity ‘journey’ via this webpage. As we face new challenges and engage in new activities, we will post them here.

Further information 

The Science Council’s Diversity project

Returners to Bioscience - listen to some case studies from career returners to the Biosciences (compiled by the Royal Society of Biology)

Making a Case for Equality and Diversity

Animation on Unconscious Bias, The Royal Society

Crossing Boundaries: Encouraging Diversity, Margaret Ann Armour

Links to Society work

Blog Post - Diversity at The Physiological Society, with a focus on scientific events

Celebrating 100 years of Women's Membership of The Physiological Society

Membership survey results (accessible to Members only)

Staff survey results (accessible to Society staff only)