Three ways TT professionals can look at EDI activities
Tom Hockaday 3 July 2021.
This article describes in outline the three ways that people in TT can think about EDI (Equality, Diversity, Inclusion) activities.
TT is very well-placed to have a positive influence on EDI because of the nature of TT activities - very broad based research outputs and involving many different people and groups in the innovation community.
1. In your TTO
This is all about the employment and management practices of your TTO and the work-place culture. Does your TTO have an EDI-minded approach to recruitment, progression, leadership, and governance? Are under-represented groups represented? Do people understand the difference between diversity and inclusion? What is the gender balance, what is the ethnicity balance?
2. In your institution
This is about how the TTO can influence EDI within the institution that the TTO serves (university, research institute, hospital etc).
Is the TTO engaging with under-represented groups amongst the researchers and academics? Are you seeing disclosures to the TTO that fully represent the diversity of academic and research staff in your institution? Could you develop awareness raising activities, training courses that attract people from under-represented groups, for example? Are you working with role-models to help promote engagement? Are you thinking what the barriers might be?
3. Outside your TTO and Institution
There is huge opportunity for TTOs to influence EDI outside the TTO and Institution. We can look at this in terms of:
- the technologies, projects, and knowledge that we are transferring - do any of them have a positive effect on addressing EDI? Are any of them helping to address challenges across all groups of people in society, especially under-represented groups? Are there any stories we can be telling about how the TTO has helped in this regard?
- the organizations we work with, either our suppliers (patent attorneys, lawyers, consultants), or our partners (investors, companies, licensees, incubators). Do they have good EDI practices? Are they EDI-minded? If not, do you want to use any leverage you have to encourage them? In the same way we promote good ‘access to medicines’ practice in licensing deals, you can ensure licensed technology is used and applied in an EDI compliant manner.
- the spin-out companies we set up; as a shareholder we have a voice at the table for ensuring these new companies are EDI-minded from the start, in every aspect of their business activities and governance.
- the international reach of our activities, in terms of learning from and helping improve EDI practices with all our partners around the world.
It is the very nature of TT activity that places TT in such a strong position to help improve equality, diversity, and inclusion in the world. That is why we set up GEDITT (Global Equality Diversity and Inclusion in Technology Transfer).