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Community for Change

Community for Change

Our goal is to nurture an inclusive environment where equality and diversity thrives.

The Community for Change is an initiative to create a lively community of colleagues working to make environmental science more accessible for everyone, by taking part in coordinated engagement activities.

The Community for Change has curated a set of activities to allow us to build connections, learn, and work alongside people who are historically underrepresented in science.

“The Community for Change is part of our drive to make the National Centre for Atmospheric Science a place where everyone feels included. It means being proactive and ensuring that everyone is able to thrive and realise their ambitions.”

Professor Stephen Mobbs, Executive Director

There are many ways to be involved, from speaking at a careers workshop, to spending two hours per week tutoring a student, or hosting a facility open-day.

Our activities have been carefully selected with guidance from the Science Capital Approach and the Equity Compass, and fit neatly into our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Living Action Plan. We will be working to support organisations with proven track-records in helping to make science accessible for all.

Three students sit round a wooden circular table, looking at a laptop. A man leans over them, pointing to something on the laptop. There are shelves of books on the left hand side.

Everyone at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science can take part in the Community for Change as part of their day-to-day role. We’re asking that all line managers support staff members to take part in the Community for Change activities within their normal work plan.

“Community engagement work is important to our drive to improve diversity in environmental science. It’s a part of everyone’s job role. I encourage everyone to build Community for Change activities into your forward job plans and targets.”

John Eager, Operations Director

Representation in science

The lack of diverse representation in environmental science has been a longstanding issue.

As well as stifling scientific progress, the diversity crisis also prevents us from engaging with a broad set of perspectives, experiences and voices across society. Often the same people in society who are most affected by environmental challenges such as air pollution and climate change.

Across the research sector, there are many different types of underrepresentation, including gender, ethnicity, people with disabilities, and socially-economically disadvantaged populations.

We know that issues persist across many stages of education, role types and scientific areas, including in workforce representation, attainment gaps at undergraduate level, and grant award and fellowship. Multiple aspects of a person’s identity may combine to create different modes of discrimination and privilege.

Through the Community for Change, our approach is to take a holistic view of the research environment and ecosystem, with a focus on building a more inclusive culture, where everyone feels science is for them.

How will the Community for Change make a difference?

The Community for Change aims to nurture a more inclusive environment by creating positive change for our organisation, for the environmental science sector, and for marginalised communities.

The initiative is a starting point for us to understand and address different barriers to participation in science, to develop our work with marginalised communities, and to show our commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

Our activities provide a chance for colleagues to engage with different perspectives on science, to develop planning and problem-solving skills, to learn through new experiences, and to become advocates for promoting equal access to science. 

In the audiences we work with, we’re working to support academic achievement and applications, provide industry connections, and demystify careers in science through access to facilities, mentorship and guidance.

With national oversight, the Community for Change is also well-positioned to promote our successes and our lessons for others to learn from, including our university partners and across the Natural Environment Research Council

We hope our engagement-focussed approach to address the longstanding lack of diversity in environmental science will help to send a strong message that change is coming, and stitch Equality, Diversity and Inclusion into the fabric of our organisation and our sector.

Join the Community for Change

To join our Community for Change, we’re asking you to contribute through one of our supporting activities:

Everyone who takes part in any of our activities below will receive a welcome pack, and can stay connected through our Slack channel, mailing list, and meet-up events.

Find out more about the Community for Change and how to get involved at this years NCAS Staff Meeting by joining the sessions on ‘Getting Involved: The Next Six Months of the Community for Change’ and ‘Running a Successful Student Placement’.

We encourage you to wear a small allyship badge – included in our welcome pack – to show that you value equality, diversity and inclusion in environmental science, and that you’re someone who is happy to offer a supportive voice. You can also add a Community for Change logo to your email signature by following the instructions in our Brand Guidelines.

Let’s send a clear message about our values at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science.

Become an advocate

As part of the Community for Change, we’d like to see everyone involved and taking action towards a more inclusive workplace. Often, the first steps towards inclusion rest on awareness, understanding, and a shared vision for a better workplace.

If you’re unable – or unsure – about signing up for our engagement activities, you can become an advocate for the Community for Change by taking part in at least one of our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion training sessions per year.

We are providing NCAS wide Active Bystander training courses via Zoom in Spring 2024. The dates of these are:

  • Wednesday 13 March – 10:30 – 11:30
  • Monday 15 April – 14:00 – 15:00

As well as covering what we mean by Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, our training providers will also offer approaches to handling sensitive issues, and simple steps for treating people fairly and respectfully.

Please complete the registration google form to register your interest in attending. The zoom links for these sessions will then be emailed out to staff and sent via a Google Calendar invite. After attending the session, you will be a part of our Community for Change and will be added to our mailing list and slack channel, as well as receiving a welcome pack.

Become a tutor

The Access Project offers subject-based tutoring for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, helping to raise attainment and facilitate applications to top universities.

You can sign-up to become a tutor for The Access Project, and you’ll be paired with a 14 to 18 year old student studying towards their GCSE or A-Levels. 

You’ll be expected to provide one hour per week tutoring during term time, and The Access Project recommends spending around one hour as preparation time too. 

Be mindful that our colleagues found they spent varying time – between three hours and thirty minutes – preparing for different tutoring sessions. If you’d like to talk to colleagues who have tutored over the last academic year, email communityforchange@ncas.ac.uk or ask a question on the #community-for-change Slack channel.

Around 92% of The Access Project students apply to a top university, versus 54% of young people from similar backgrounds who are not supported by The Access Project.

Email communityforchange@ncas.ac.uk to let us know you’ve become a tutor and you’ll receive your Community for Change welcome pack, including ways to stay connected.

Become a mentor

Black British in STEM mentors

Black British in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (BBSTEM) is a non-profit organisation campaigning for balance and representation of Black individuals in science, technology, engineering and maths.

Their professional network spans business, industry and education, and aims to widen participation and contribution of Black individuals in science.

The BBSTEM Bridge Mentoring Scheme is a voluntary programme designed to set-up mentorship opportunities between BBSTEM student members and career professionals.

Mentorship involves sharing career support, guidance and information via email, telephone or video calls. Mentors and mentees can hear about each other’s experiences, including transitioning out of university, into future study, or workplaces.

The Bridge Mentoring Scheme is virtual, and each cohort runs for six months. Mentors are expected to meet at least once per month with their students, for one hour.

To become a Bridge Mentor, sign up as a Professional Member of BBSTEM and express your interest in mentoring.

Email communityforchange@ncas.ac.uk to let us know you’ve joined, and you’ll receive your Community for Change welcome pack, including ways to stay connected.

Host a placement or open day

Research Placements and Experiences (formerly Nuffield Research Placements)

Host a two-week in-person placement with Nuffield Placements powered by STEM Learning, and help to provide meaningful work experiences for Year 12 students and your team.

We ran six successful placements in 2023 across our Leeds, Reading & York sites, and we hope to continue to double our placement offering this year!

Nuffield Research Placements focus on real-life research project or career based placement, where talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds are placed at the heart of a host institution for two weeks over the summer.

32% of Nuffield Research Placement participants enrolled in a STEM course in a Russell Group institution, compared to 25% of comparable pupils with similar demographic background and academic attainment. And, over 80% of providers said their experience had developed coaching, mentoring and management skills.

Nuffield Placements are offering two placements opportunities for NCAS staff to get involved in:

  • A 2 week research placement – Focusing on a real-life research or development project with meaningful outcomes that contribute to NCAS’s current work.

A 5 day experience placement – Working with an NCAS team to increase career related knowledge and sustainable skills for employment.

You will need to identify, and plan out a live research question that a placement student can contribute towards, or highlight areas within your team a student could learn sustainable skills for employment. Placement proposals should be submitted via email to communityforchange@ncas.ac.uk by Friday 22 March 2024. We will then work with your regional coordinator to start the student matching process. Proposal templates, past placement examples and more information on the two types of placement can be found in the Staff Resources Google Drive.

If you have any queries about hosting a placement, let us know. Email communityforchange@ncas.ac.uk.

Open days

Hosting an open day can provide students, early career researchers and the wider community with valuable career insight, as well as a chance to see the day-to-day working environment and experiences of different industries and sectors. You can help to demystify what’s involved in atmospheric science, and what skills and types of roles are available.

If you’d like to be involved in hosting an open day, or if you have any ideas for open day locations or workshops, let us know. Email communityforchange@ncas.ac.uk

How to stay connected 

A dynamic and vibrant Community for Change relies on everyone taking part in shared spaces that we’ve created to reflect and share with each other.

We encourage you to become part of our national community by talking in our Slack channel. Our Slack channel is #community-for-change in the National Centre for Atmospheric Science workplace.

We are hosting a virtual celebratory event for Community for Change members this summer to hear what colleagues have found valuable, and how we can improve our work. Look out for an invite in your email.

We want you to share feedback, tell each other about different experiences, and contribute to an informal learning space where everyone can help to shape future engagement activities at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science.

When you sign-up for any of our activities, it’s vital that you email communityforchange@ncas.ac.uk to let us know. Then, we’ll automatically add you to our mailing list and slack channel.