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Innovate UK

How Driving the Electric Revolution is tackling the ED&I mission

Posted by: and , Posted on: - Categories: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, ISCF, Support

As the flagship initiative of UKRI, the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund’s (ISCF) lives, breathes and feels ED&I through everything we do...

The Driving the Electric Revolution Challenge’s(DER) vision fully reflects the ISCF mission to become a leader in ensuring ED&I empowers all of our team and partners to be their true selves.

Benefitting from a diverse workforce

As a challenge we know that through our diverse beliefs, we all start to delete, distort and generalise the world around us in very different ways. We create “blind spots” in what we see, how we do things and ultimately the delivery of our solution.

By understanding this and how it underpins the need, benefits and true power of a diverse workforce we accept that it’s not gender, race, religion, sexuality or age that mean coming together is great. But that we bring different experiences and beliefs to the teams we make.

It is well documented that increasing diversity, both cognitive and through protected characteristics, in a workplace improves delivery, ideas and innovation. Throughout my career I have sought to recruit a diverse workforce.

I know how bringing people together from varied backgrounds means we bring together different beliefs and perspectives. Having a diverse team around me makes not only a noticeable impact on the quality of work produced, but also the enjoyment of the working environment.


Providing a safe, secure, and equal environment in which to work is so important. The global demonstrations by the Black Lives Matter movement highlighted the prominence of racial discrimination and prompted us all to also reconsider inequalities due to gender, religion and sexuality.

Whatever your background, beliefs or life choices there must be equal opportunities across everything we do.

What is the DER Challenge doing?

The answer to improving ED&I within Engineering is not easy, nor was going to the moon. But this is not a reason to quietly ignore what needs to be done to succeed. Within DER we are looking at not just what, but how we do things differently in terms of ED&I.

We are challenging the norm and doing things differently. In a lot of cases better. This is so important to us that we delivered a webinar focusing on ED&I and future talent discovery. The session prompted significant feedback and requests for follow on events, which we are looking at hosting.

As a team we welcome feedback and understand the importance of capturing all stakeholder values and opinions. Only by being transparent and honest can we encourage and support an inclusive, safe environment. This enables us to create a wholistic view and ultimately build meaningful inclusiveness into all our activities. We have committed and active ED&I Advocates who sit on the UKRI Advocate Working Group and champion the importance of ED&I across the board.

As Challenge Director for DER I am being selective on webinars I attend, empowering my team to decline non-diverse opportunities and I will continue to speak out about the absolute importance of ED&I to the world.

Difficult conversations

We realise discussing the topic of ED&I often feels uncomfortable because of a fear of saying the “wrong” thing. You might think it easier not to raise your concern or challenge inappropriate language or treatment. But the truth is that ED&I conversations should to an extent be just that – challenging.

It is all our responsibility to advocate and implement effective stewardship and responsibility supporting inclusive, collaborative and creative environments.

We need to commit to acting in an ethical manner, with integrity and transparency in both business and personal dealings. Only by making this commitment and taking our responsibility seriously can we collectively use our influence and embed real change.

Diversity encourages different ways of thinking, and this sparks innovation – join us on this journey, embrace it and ask difficult questions!



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