Diversity and inclusion

Qualitative research on barriers to progression for disabled scientists


Information Sheet

Statistical reports on staff and students in higher education, and the Royal Society’s report, ‘A Picture of the Scientific Workforce’, show falls in the proportion of people disclosing disabilities at the following career transitions: undergraduate to postgraduate, doctoral to postdoctoral researcher, and junior academic to professor. There are also variations in the proportion of staff disclosing a disability in different academic fields and between some STEM fields. 

As part of work to address barriers to participation and success in STEM, the Royal Society has commissioned the Careers Research & Advisory Centre (CRAC) to undertake a qualitative research project to understand the low level of disclosure of disability amongst scientists in the academic workforce, why this occurs and how it might be addressed. 

In order to understand better the lived experiences of disabled scientists and barriers to disclosing disabilities, we are seeking to interview 35-40 scientists in UK higher education institutions (irrespective of nationality) from a range of career stages who have a disability and/or chronic illness, who are neuro-different, or who identify as disabled. Interviews will last around 45 minutes and will take place throughout February.

If you are interested in participating in this research, please read the full Call for Participants and respond to this brief pre-interview questionnaire which seeks some information about you. This is so that we can select an appropriate sample of interviewees that reflects a range of characteristics and environments. There is no guarantee that we will be able to interview all who volunteer.

We understand the sensitivity of the topic and that individuals will need assurances that they will not be identifiable within the research. We will ensure that your responses will be anonymous and that you are not identifiable in outcomes from the research, which will be independent of institutions. To find out how we will process, store and protect response data, you can read our Data Privacy Notice

Should you have any questions about this research, please contact Dr Rachel Handforth (rachel.handforth@crac.org.uk).

Qualitative research on barriers to progression for disabled scientists