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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 a new 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 five activities to allow us to build connections, learn, and work alongside groups of people who are 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 Plan. We will be working to support organisations with proven track-records in helping to make science accessible for all.

Two people work together on a scientific instrument in a laboratory

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

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 five 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.

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 ally

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 still become involved in Community for Change by taking part in at least one of our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion training sessions per year.

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.

We provided an Active Bystander training course in March and will be providing another in the autumn. 

Once registered for the training, you’ll then receive email confirmation of your course, and a welcome pack to the Community for Change, including ways to stay connected.

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.

By signing-up for The Access Project, you will be enrolled for a training session in summer, and begin teaching in the next academic year, starting in September 2022.

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 joined, 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, you must first 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.

STEM ambassador & Brightside mentors

STEM Learning is a national organisation who work in collaboration with government, employers and education to deliver positive science, technology, engineering and maths engagement for teachers and young people.

They have recently launched an online, text-based mentoring programme, run in collaboration with Brightside, a free secure online messaging platform. You can help students to explore their future by providing career insights and life after school.

There are options for a six-week mentoring programme with 14 to 16 year olds, or a ten-week programme for 16 to 18 year olds. Both programmes take roughly one hour per week to take part in. You can watch a recorded information session to find out more.

The next available cohort runs from 4th April 2022 to 10th June 2022, with students from Years 12 and 13.

Depending on the number of students taking part, there’s a chance that you will not be paired with a mentee. However, as a STEM Ambassador, there are lots of other ways to volunteer too.

To take part, you must first register as a STEM Ambassador.

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

Nuffield Research Placements

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

Nuffield Research Placements focus on real-life research or development projects where talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds are placed at the heart of a host institution for two to three weeks over the summer.

You will need to identify, and plan out a live research question that a placement student can contribute towards. These must be submitted in March, to allow time for a regional coordinator to match you with a placement student.

Often, a small team at your location can take joint responsibility for hosting a placement to share the workload. It’s up to you how the two week placement is structured, but placements often involve meeting your student in the morning to provide daily guidance, and in the afternoon to evaluate work.

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.

We are arranging to host Nuffield Research Placements at several locations this year. If you’d like to be involved in hosting a placement, or if you have any ideas for placement topics, let us know. Email communityforchange@ncas.ac.uk.

Black British in STEM open days

Provide an open day for student members of the Black British in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (BBSTEM) network at your facility or research site.

Open days are designed to provide career insight into 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.

Black British in STEM also encourage skill-building or participatory workshops as part of the open day. For example, a short session on soldering circuits, instrument calibration, or setting up and running a basic computer model or script.

We are arranging to host Black British in STEM open days at several locations this year. 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

Join a workshop

You can play a part in delivering one or more of our workshop series over the next twelve months.

Working with our partners at The Access Project and Black British in STEM, we’re putting forward several skills and career based workshops that can be delivered online.

We’ve suggested three workshops to help different audiences. We need people willing to talk and share their stories and expertise in each workshop. If you’re interested, please email communityforchange@ncas.ac.uk.

What is atmospheric science?

Help us to demystify the exciting, eclectic and sometimes confusing, world of atmospheric science. We’d like to host a beginners guide to how we study the atmosphere, and the role it plays in tackling today’s environmental challenges. Offer to speak for ten to fifteen minutes on a broad topic that puts atmospheric science into perspective.

Science communication

Science communication helps to bridge the distance between science and society, and is a foundational skill for anyone working in research. Offer to speak for ten to fifteen minutes to share examples of science communication in your work, and offer guidance for young people.

Careers in atmospheric science

We’ll bring together four people working in different roles to tell the story of how they came to work in atmospheric science, and provide a question and answer session. Offer to speak for ten to fifteen minutes about your background, career development, and role.

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 and following our mailing list. Our Slack channel is #community-for-change in the National Centre for Atmospheric Science workplace.

We also plan to host celebratory events each year to hear what colleagues have found valuable, and how we can improve our work.

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 five 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.