Our Inclusion Strategy, 2022 to 2024

The Horizons Institute strives to better understand and to mitigate for systemic and structural inequalities in research and higher education through listening and responding to the community that we work with.

We are seeking to reduce barriers to participation in our programmes for marginalised communities, and to ensure equitable inclusion for those with neurodivergence, lower-socioeconomic status, caring responsibilities, and lived experience of the global challenges we seek to address.

This strategy aligns closely with the University of Leeds Equity and Inclusion Strategy and responds to the University of Leeds’ key performance indicators to address local and global challenges, achieve social justice, reduce inequalities, and help to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, as well as to develop, support and retain a diverse and inclusive staff community.

Inclusive recruitment

The Horizons Institute strives to promote examples of inclusive recruitment practices to positively influence professional service colleagues at the University of Leeds and our research partners.

  • The Horizons Institute will use our platform and values to influence institutional recruitment policies. The Horizons Institute will engage with the Deans for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and HR to pilot a different approach to recruitment which promotes our principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) when vacancies at the Horizons Institute arise.
  • The Horizons Institute will endeavour to include colleagues at the University of Leeds with a specific remit to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion on every selection panel to ensure a fair and equitable selection and recruitment process.
  • The Horizons Institute will share job descriptions and person specifications with our critical friends' groups prior to advertising roles to mitigate for language that might unconsciously exclude or create barriers to applying for individuals with protected characteristics.
  • The Horizons Institute will promote internal vacancies via diversified recruitment channels that are outside of the standard University of Leeds recruitment channels.
  • The Horizons Institute will explore alternative means of promoting vacancies such as publishing a blog to demystify ‘HR’ language or ‘meet the team’ online events.

Sharing best practice

The Horizons Institute will share our approaches to equity, diversity, and inclusion, including where we can make improvements and do better. The Horizons Institute will use its platform to share best equity, diversity, and inclusion practice from across the University of Leeds and our external partners to influence the sector.

  • The Horizons Institute commits to amplifying communications from across the University of Leeds to highlight positive examples of equity, diversity and inclusion approaches and learnings.
  • The Horizons Institute seeks to ensure communications materials and resources are accessible to our global partners (using multiple languages and mixed formats, where appropriate).
  • The Horizons website complies with digital accessibility legislation, required for all University websites and in line with inclusivity, one of the University's values. For more information on this, please visit the Digital Accessibility at Leeds page
  • For other channels, such as social media and the Medium blog, care will be taken to ensure the use of clear language. Alternative text and subtitles will be consistently applied across all posts.
  • All communications, in particular case studies, will follow the Dignified Storytelling principles, which seeks to centre the rights and dignity of the story owners.
  • The team will develop a style guide to supplement the standing University of Leeds style guide, informed and updated by members of the team, principally those working in a communications role, and checked with those working to represent protected characteristic groups – in research or in a professional capacity.
  • Imagery used in communications is to be a fair representation of the accompanying written material, with subjects shown in a dignified manner. Guidance for imagery will be guided by the Bond ethical guidelines (PDF). While these relate to international development, these form a comprehensive basis on which to determine how to choose and use imagery. Care will be taken to ensure depiction through stock imagery offers an appropriately diverse set of subjects for each photograph.

Equitable and inclusive collaboration

The Horizons Institute seeks to expand our networks and who we collaborate with to ensure that recruitment, programmes, and activities are led by and/or inclusive of a diverse range of partners and participants.

  • The Horizons Institute seeks to establish and nurture partnerships with networks and student groups at the University of Leeds that have an EDI focus to co-create programmes and activities, and to deepen our understanding of barriers to engagement and how we can better mitigate and address inequalities. This includes developing partnerships with minoritized informal networks including activist groups.
  • The Horizons Institute will apply an intersectional lens to recruiting speakers, presenters or facilitators for every event, programme, and activity. The Horizons Institute aspires to have at minimum a gender and race balance at all events. Please see appendix A for more information on the Horizons honorarium policy.
  • The Horizons Institute commits to ring-fenced inclusion funding (at least 10% of the total cost of a programme or event) to support engagement and participation where barriers to engagement and participation exist.
  • The Horizons Institute seeks to understand the ethos and values of potential partners based on their approach to EDI. The Horizons Institute will be up front about our values and criteria when approaching or being approached by potential partners to determine whether the collaboration is suitable or appropriate.
  • The Horizons Institute expects those applying for funding to evidence how EDI has been and will be considered over the course of the collaboration, as well as applicants’ commitment to working with the Horizons Institute to ensure the approaches are implemented fairly. The Horizons Institute will establish a criterion that is in line with our values and principles that partners must work towards and a timeline for when we expect to see commitments achieved. The Horizons Institute reserves the right to terminate collaborations where partners do not fulfil their commitments to EDI. This process will be communicated and agreed in writing at the start of every collaboration.
  • Global South partners will be prioritised when planning travel. Please see appendix B for the Horizons Institute policy on mobility and international travel.

Active learning and development

The Horizons team endeavours to learn and change as we grow. We pledge to actively encounter new topics to deepen our understanding of how we can contribute to creating an equitable and inclusive society and to mitigate structural inequalities and barriers to engagement across our programmes.

  • Equity, diversity, and inclusion will feature as a regular slot at Horizons Institute team meetings.
  • The Horizons Institute will invite the Chairs of staff networks to attend a team meeting (once every quarter) to better understand challenges and barriers to engagement and inclusion, and how the Horizons Institute can support.
  • The Horizons Institute team will develop an internal training programme on topics related to EDI such as anti-racist training, setting boundaries, and decolonizing researcher development.
  • The Horizons Institute will develop paid internship opportunities to support individuals with protected characteristics and individuals who experience barriers to participation to further develop their skills and experience to continue in the sector and to build confidence in navigating the academic world.

Open to challenge and feedback

The Horizons Institute commits to proactively creating opportunities for reflection, challenge, and feedback from those internal and external to the University of Leeds and to using this information to get better at what we do.

  • The Horizons Institute will establish an evaluation sub-group to develop an evaluation framework to understand the demographics of those engaging with the Horizons Institute against baseline data for the University of Leeds, to understand the barriers to increasing diversity and to inclusion with Horizons activities, and to measure if we are increasing the diversity of those involved with Horizons over time.
  • The Horizons Institute will collect intersectional demographic and equalities data on career stage, discipline, ethnicity, and gender midway during our events and activities. By collecting this data, it enables us to understand our programmes and activities better and design them differently without guesswork or assumption.
  • The Horizons Institute Evaluation sub-group will review the data captured through the evaluation framework to monitor progress and recommend evidence-based action for increasing the diversity and inclusion of Horizons Institute activities.
  • The Horizons Institute is intentional about creating opportunities for challenge and we will seek to refine the International Advisory Board and Internal Oversight Board terms of engagement to ensure maximum mutual value for the Horizons Institute and our critical friends. This includes reviewing the recruitment process to incorporate a mixed approach of co-opted members in addition to putting out an open call for new members with a specific remit/expertise.

Appendix A

The Horizons Institute endeavours to ensure all programmes and activities are inclusive, accessible, and appealing to a broad audience, and are representative of a broad range of perspectives and experiences, as outlined in our Research Inclusivity Strategy and our Ambitions and Measures of Success.

We recognise that structural inequalities and barriers to participation can and do exist in our sector and more broadly in society, particularly for individuals and groups with protected characteristics. We also recognise the additional burden that can be placed on individuals and groups with protected characteristics who are disproportionately asked to present at events, sometimes without financial compensation for their time and expertise.

To ensure we are doing everything we can to widen participation and engagement, and to recognise the time of the contributors we work with both within and outside of academia, the Horizons Institute has established an inclusivity fund.

The inclusivity fund is available to pay partners who are:

  • Self-employed or on a freelance contract
  • Whose employment contract might otherwise exclude them from participating or engaging, such as an academic on a part-time contract

The inclusivity fund is also available to pay partners with protected characteristics if their participation or engagement is outside of their contractual or organisational remit. For example, where someone works at an organisation (third sector, Civil Society, arts organisation, for example) whose role is not typically to reach into universities and forge collaboration, or where we invite someone to join our critical friend groups or mentorship scheme for their expertise.

Partners and collaborators invited by the Horizons Institute to present at events and/or engage with programmes will receive a one-off honorarium for their participation and contribution. Mentors will receive a one-off payment honorarium for their engagement in a 12 to 15-month programme. Mentors, partners, and collaborators have the option to waive this fee and pay it forward to support someone in their team to do something they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do.

Appendix B

The Horizons Institute recognises the importance of national and international collaboration while also embracing the University of Leeds ambition for delivering environmental sustainability and its Net Zero target for emissions by 2030. To reduce the impact of international programmes and reduce emissions from business travel, the Horizons Institute aspires to deliver its programmes and activities in hybrid format, wherever possible.

Where in-person meetings are required, the Horizons Institute commits to maximising collaboration opportunities between partners and University of Leeds colleagues and to co-developing a programme that encompasses a variety of activities (not just a single event).

The Horizons Institute commits to booking international rail travel rather than flights, wherever possible and where time and availability allows. The Horizons Institute will actively avoid booking domestic flights except for reasons other than those within the remit of equity, diversity, or inclusion. For example, where a partner may have a long-term injury or disability which means that they cannot take multiple train journeys or be stationary for a long duration of time. The Horizons Institute will prioritize booking international flight travel for partners from the Global South over those from the Global North, where international rail is not possible.