“In diversity, there is beauty, and there is strength”
Diversity and inclusion are the grounds for creativity. In order to face new challenges, we need a diversity of ideas, different ways of approaching the same problem. In science, this is fundamental. Yet, the academic research world has historically marginalized and ignored the majority of the available brains – those from women, the LGTBIAQ+ collective, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, etc. And we can’t afford to lose that much talent.
Albeit at a slow pace, things seem to be changing. As one of the largest hubs of life sciences research in the south of Europe, the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB) aims to provide an environment that celebrates diversity and helps all scientists, regardless of their sex, gender, background or other circumstances, to develop their careers and conduct excellent research. We proud ourselves on being a diverse community that strives to promote equal opportunities for everyone to develop professionally.
The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the PRBB, with members from all six centres at the park, is in charge of catalysing the development of joint initiatives to raise awareness and promote equality, such as the Recommendations For Achieveing Gender Balance in Conferences.The park is also a contributing partner of the “Women in Biology Speakers List“, founded by the ASCB and the CSHL to give more women a voice at scientific conferences and in the media.
Several actions are continuously being developed to improve equality and inclusion: each of the PRBB centres have specific initiatives, such as mentoring, gender bias training, or gender-sensitive recruitment guidelines, as well as anti-harassment policies; the PRBB provides a lactation room for nursing mothers, and has agreements with nearby nurseries; there are gender-neutral toilets; and there’s a LGBTIAQ+ group whose aim is to network, discuss and organize activities that are relevant for its members.
There’s much to be done, but we are going in the right direction: for example, the percentage of female PIs at the PRBB has been increasing steadily over the years.
The path in front of us is still too long, but together we must, and we will, continue pressing forward to achieve a respectful and inclusive community.
This editorial was published in the March special edition of the El·lipse newsletter, focused on diversity in science. Don’t miss the coming numbers, the next one on responsible research: #JoinEllipse now!