SBRC at The University of Nottingham Diversity Festival

From Monday 8th to Friday 19th March 2021, the University of Nottingham held its first ever virtual diversity festival.The festival focused on ‘embracing and celebrating difference’ with more than 30 virtual events open to staff, students and alumni, and aimed to promote understanding and awareness of diversity and inclusion in our community.The ten-day festival included a full and exciting programme including interviews, performances, workshops and conversations.

Celebrating Diversity in the SBRC and Enhancing InclusivenessAs part of the festival, on Friday 12 March, the SBRC-Nottingham presented a 90-minute 'fire-side chat' to celebrate diversity in the SBRC entitled “Celebrating Diversity in the SBRC and Enhancing Inclusiveness”. This ‘chat’ opened up a conversation about equality and inclusiveness by exploring the journeys which have drawn individuals to (and beyond) the SBRC and identifying the challenges they have faced along the way.

Facilitating Chairs:

  • Dr Ruth Griffin
  • Dr Maria Arruda

Guest speakers:

  • Dr Minyeong Yoo (SBRC Research Scientist)
  • Dr Muhammad Ehsaan (ex-SBRC Research Scientist)
  • Dr Bunmi Omorotionmwan (SBRC Research Scientist)
  • Dr Swapnika Challa (SBRC Research Technician)

The SBRC invited UoN staff, students and alumni to join our ‘fire-side chat’ to hear from our former and current staff members of the SBRC (above) who shared some of their life-journeys and their career development, what led them to pursue this area of research, and their aspirations. We also explored best-practices and what kinds of change might be needed to enhance inclusiveness in Engineering Biology.
Diversity in the SBRCThe SBRC has a diverse mix of staff and student members which is constantly in flux as individuals move on to new pastures and new people join the group. The SBRC brings together individuals from around the world and with a wide range of identities, backgrounds and experiences.Our diversity session aimed to consider the relationship between diversity, responsible innovation and epistemic decolonisation, for example by reflecting on whether technological advances in synthetic biology (e.g. for new ways of making chemicals, fuels and foods) benefit everyone in the global community and how we might further embed co-creation of solutions and responsible innovation into our thinking and practice.There was a lot of information discussed during this live event and nuggets from the invited speakers’ personal journeys can be applied to broader institutions, cultures and systems of research and innovation. The purpose being to improve diversity and inclusiveness both within the local scientific community and in the ways that Engineering Biology / synthetic biology relates to the wider world.