Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

At CENTA we want our student cohorts to reflect our diverse society and as such CENTA is committed to widening the diversity of our PhD student cohorts.  CENTA studentships are open to all and we particularly welcome applications from under-represented groups, including, but not limited to BAME, disabled, neurodiverse, and female candidates.  Additionally, we also welcome applications for part-time study.

Project Design

We ask that PhD project supervisory teams strive to be diverse, for example including academics with a mix of gender, ethnicity and career stage.

Through our Flagship proposal scheme, we strongly urge academics to collaborate with CENTA partners on PhD projects. This improves visibility of career opportunities beyond academia, which is a key consideration for some groups of students when considering PhD level study.

We ask our academics to use inclusive language in the PhD project description, the links below provide good advice on this topic and can be used to check the language in project descriptions.

We include a clear statement of eligibility for applicants on our website, which explicitly encourages applications from underrepresented groups.

We provide names and contact details of the centre manager and academic points of contact who can answer questions about applying and provide assistance. We clearly state that the CENTA manager does not sit on any recruitment panels; although for operational reasons the local academic points of contact may.

PhD Advertisement

We advertise PhD projects beyond common sites such as findaphd.com, with adverts also posted specifically to BAME groups.

We try to advertise PhD project opportunities specifically to ethnically diverse universities.

Interview Selection Process

We require that all members of our sift and interview panels take or refresh fair selection and unconscious bias training in advance of the recruitment process as offered by their respective institutions.

We require our sift panels to be diverse, for example including academics with a mix of gender, ethnicity and career stage.

We redact all personal sensitive information from applications before the supervision teams receive them.

We ask referees to avoid using gendered language in writing their reference statements

We ask all referees to answer the same set of questions

The interview sift panels and all applications on pre-defined criteria

We carefully considered the criteria the candidates are graded on; these have been approved by EDI experts at our partner institutions.

We guarantee interviews for appointable applicants from underrepresented groups.

Interviews

We ensure that invitations to interview are sent with sufficient notice to allow for preparation, considering that the applicant may have pre-existing and immoveable caring or financial commitments.

We make clear to all interviewees that their decision about whether to accept an in-person or virtual interview slot will have no bearing on the outcome of the interview.

For any students who declare disabilities we ask the local admin teams make contact in advance to ensure any reasonable necessary adjustments can be made in good time.

We have checked the set of interview questions with an EDI coordinator.

The same interview questions are asked to all students.

We require our interview panels to be diverse, for example including academics with a mix of gender, ethnicity and career stage.

We quantitively grade the interviewee responses on pre-defined criteria.

We record a quantitative, overall interview score for each applicant, and, combined with the application score and any additional project base score, use the combined score to rank and then select the applicants that offers are made to.

Training

All CENTA students undertake a 2-week work placement; some, through CASE or other partnership opportunities, may spend up to 3 months working closely with their partners. 

All CENTA training is designed to be as accessible as possible to all, with specific reasonable adjustments made where required and where possible.  Any requests for specific adjustments can be made in confidence through the Training Manager, Dr Ella Young (e.young.2@bham.ac.uk)