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Improving Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in modern slavery research

Research project identifying the challenges and opportunities in EDI in modern slavery research in the UK.

Improving Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) within the UK research sector is a priority for many research funders, including the Modern Slavery PEC. In our EDI Strategy and Action Plan we committed to improving diversity in the research we fund to effectively include all individuals, communities and organisations with an interest in and affected by modern slavery. Our Plan has built heavily on the existing work and experience across the sector, particularly an Action Plan produced by the UK BAME Anti-Slavery Network (BASNET), a project of AFRUCA Safeguarding Children.

However, the scale and nature of exclusion and inequality affecting the sector have not been systematically researched and analysed. We have therefore committed to undertake research on EDI within the wider modern slavery research sector, to understand the challenges and barriers stopping people from all backgrounds from being able to participate effectively and make recommendations for improvements.

Following the open call for applications for research funding, a project led by BASNET at AFRUCA Safeguarding Children, the University of Nottingham, the University of Sheffield and St Mary’s University, Twickenham was selected to carry out that work. This research is the first Modern Slavery PEC project to be led by an NGO as part of our new funding processes to promote diversity in modern slavery research.

The project will aim to generate new data and insights into EDI in modern slavery research in the UK, identifying good practice and outlining recommendations to build and sustain an equal, diverse, and inclusionary modern slavery research landscape.

The project will consider equality issues across the whole research process, including researchers themselves, research participants, funders, people who shape research agendas and those who advise research funders and decision makers.

It will do this through a landscape review of researchers and an audit of modern slavery studies looking at the recorded characteristics of participants. Alongside this, the team will hold online focus groups with affected communities on challenges and barriers to including people with lived experience of modern slavery in research. The team will also complete a documentary analysis of EDI statements, strategies, and action plans of research funders.

Research team: Debbie Ariyo (Co-PI) and Naeema Ahmed (BASNET at AFRUCA), Elizabeth Such (Co-PI, School of Health Sciences at the University of Nottingham), Habiba Aminu (University of Sheffield), Neena Samota and Amy Plummer (St Mary’s University Twickenham)

This project was funded by the Modern Slavery PEC following an open call as part of our Responsive Research Mechanism.