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EDI Discussion – Catalysing Change

25/04/2022 @ 5:00 pm

UK Research and Innovation

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) invite you to two virtual fireside chats on equality, equity, diversity, and inclusion. In each of these sessions, an expert moderator and panel will navigate the topics of catalysing and sustaining change. Through an open conversation encompassing varying perspectives, this event will explore inequality throughout research and innovation (R&I), from the people working in it to the people informing and using its outputs. Whether it’s the authentic co-design of interventions with end users of the research, or the barriers to recruiting and retaining diverse researchers and innovators, it ultimately comes down to how inclusive our R&I cultures are. These sessions are aimed at anyone interested or involved in R&I, either as an individual, organisation, or group.

Catalysing Change: A fireside chat hosted by AAAS and UKRI

Monday 25 April 2022 12:-00-13:00 EDT / 17:00-18:00 BST

In this session, the panel will explore why it’s important that those attempting organisational change garner sufficient buy-in. When addressing issues relating to equality, equity, diversity and inclusion, understanding the root cause is vital to successfully progressing from problem awareness to solution implementation; as a result, close attention to process is key to catalysing lasting and meaningful change.

Moderator: Dr Karen Salt (Deputy Director, R&D Culture and Environment for UKRI)

Panellists: Professor Iyiola Solanke (Professor in EU law at University of Leeds); Dr Yvette Pearson (VP for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at University of Texas Dallas)

Dr Karen Salt is Deputy Director, R&D Culture and Environment within UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the UK’s largest public funder of R&I, and a specialist in governance and systems. Salt drives UKRI’s cross-organisational strategic thinking and policymaking on research integrity, open research and culture. She also leads UKRI’s internal and external programme of work on mitigating risks and managing threats to international collaborations and partnerships. She is a sought-after speaker and actively works to bring together government agencies, funders and institutions to address shared challenges in research security and responsible innovation.


Professor Iyiola Solanke is the Dean for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) at the University of Leeds and Professor of European Union Law and Social Justice within the University of Leeds Law School. She is a Visiting Professor at Wake Forest University School of Law and Harvard University School of Public Health and a former Fernand Braudel Fellow at the European University Institute. She is the author of ‘EU Law’ (CUP 2022), ‘Making Anti-Racial Discrimination Law’ (Routledge 2011) and ‘Discrimination as Stigma – A Theory of Anti-Discrimination Law’ (Hart 2017) as well as many articles in peer reviewed journals. Solanke founded the Black Female Professors Forum, which promotes the visibility and progress of Black women in academia, and the Temple Women’s Forum North to promote networking and engagement between legal professionals and students in and around Yorkshire. She recently chaired the Inquiry into the History of Eugenics at UCL and is currently leading two research projects: CoPOWeR, an ESRC-funded project looking into the impact of COVID on practices for wellbeing and resilience in Black, Asian and minority ethnic families and communities; and Generation Delta, a RE/OfS-funded project promoting access to PGR study for BAME women.


Dr Yvette E Pearson is Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) at the University of Texas in Dallas. A Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Pearson is recognised globally for over 25 years in engineering education, particularly for her work to advance sustainability, justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. Her efforts have led to over US$30M in funding for initiatives to support DEI in STEM and changes to policies and practices of global engineering organisations. Among her awards and honors are ABET’s Claire L Felbinger Award for Diversity and Inclusion, ASCE’s Professional Practice Ethics and Leadership Award, University of Texas Regents Outstanding Teaching Award, the Society of Women Engineers’ Distinguished Engineering Educator Award, and ASCE’s President’s Medal. Pearson is a registered Professional Engineer, a Commissioner on ABET’s Engineering Accreditation Commission, and host of Engineering Change Podcast, which has audiences in over 70 countries on six continents.

This is the first session in this series of fireside chats, the second on Sustaining Change can be found here:



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