Our projectsAchieving Equity & Equality in STEM

Sustainable Development Goal target(s)

  • SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities)
  • SDG 4 (Quality Education)
  • SDG 5 (Gender Equality)
  • SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth)
  • SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals)
Project lead Jane Essex (Education)
Open to year groups

2 - 4

Faculties/departments
  • Education
  • Social Sciences
  • Engineering

Please note: availability can vary between degrees. Please contact your advisor of studies and the project lead for more information.

How to apply

To apply for this project please complete our application form.

Project overview

This project focuses on teaching and communication that will mitigate current inequalities in STEM professions and occupations. These subjects are vital to sustainability, in that they provide technical solutions to environmental sustainability, and also the scientific literacy that enables wider society to engage with actively with the imperatives for sustainability. At the level of the individual, studying STEM opens up study and career opportunities that will enhance the life choices available. There is much data demonstrating the under-representation of different groups of people in STEM and there have been a number of interventions to counter these, for example the Institute of Physics’ Girls into Physics campaign. Equally, there are some ‘missing’ groups who are so completely overlooked that their absence is not even noticed.

The course starts by seeking to help students to develop a deeper understanding of evidence of the absence of some groups and possible mechanisms of exclusion, along with the impact of exclusion on individuals and society.  Students will then go on to explore how these (often unintentional) mechanisms can be countered, considering practical steps that can be taken to reduce the participation gap. Students will then research one target group, which is under-represented in STEM and use existing research evidence to understand of what deters some groups disproportionately from post-compulsory engagement with STEM. Students will go on to analyse the demands in exemplar STEM outreach activities (for delivery either in school and a range of informal learning settings) that have been designed to be inclusive and accessible, before evaluating the impact of these on the target audience(s). The course will include teaching on how to evaluate the impact of interventions. Later in in the course they will be asked to develop their own detailed knowledge and understanding of a chosen aspect of the curriculum in STEM subjects, in preparation for delivery of an outreach activity (or series of activities) aimed at participants from under-represented groups. They will be asked to review the impact of their activity(ies) on their target audience. Students in their final year of study will undertake a small-scale action research project, in which they research, design and deliver an intervention/ interventions, along with devising a mechanism for evaluating it.

Have more questions or want to get involved?

Please contact jane.essex@strath.ac.uk, or apply for this project.