Friday, December 1, 2023

Academics protest at UK research body’s “failure” to stand up for free speech

One of the main funding bodies for research in the UK has provoked a furious academic backlash after complying with a ministerial request to suspend one of its advisory panels in a row over comments relating to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

More than 3000 academics have signed an open letter to UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) protesting about the decision to suspend its advisory group on equality, diversity, and inclusion for England.1 In addition, several members of the group have resigned, and the University and College Union has called on its members to quit voluntary roles at UKRI if the decision is not reversed.

The advisory group was set up on 26 October this year to support Research England “in creating and sustaining the conditions for a healthy, dynamic, diverse and inclusive research and knowledge exchange system in English universities.” …

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