Research Councils launch new programme for all peer reviewers and decision-makers, to raise awareness and reduce impact of unconscious bias

The Research Councils launch a new programme today for all peer reviewers and decision-makers, to raise awareness and reduce the impact of unconscious bias.

Over a period of three years, beginning in January 2016, more than 1,300 people involved in peer review from all seven Research Councils will be given access to high quality training designed and developed by the Research Councils and the consultants Pearn Kandola ( Together, we will translate this training into an online application and make it available to our geographically dispersed peer reviewers.

Unconscious bias is a normal component of our psychological makeup. Only by acknowledging and understanding our own unconscious bias can we find ways of learning how to reduce its effect and introduce techniques to eliminate bias in our organisations.

Professor Jackie Hunter, Chair of the Research Councils’ Equality and Diversity Group and Chief Executive of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), said: “Raising awareness of unconscious bias strengthens the Research Councils’ commitment to addressing equality and diversity Together, the Research Councils invest £3 billion in research each year, covering all disciplines and sectors, to meet tomorrow’s challenges today. Ensuring that fair decisions are made in peer review and funding is of the utmost importance.”