The body that oversees the UK’s research funding agencies has published an action plan to tackle diversity and equality issues.

As part of the plan, Research Councils UK (RCUK) says it will look at introducing targets to improve gender and ethnic diversity among the members of research councils, and deliver training on unconscious bias to peer reviewers and those involved in funding decisions. The document follows RCUK’s Statement of Expectations for Equality and Diversity released in 2013, which said that institutions receiving research council funding must demonstrate that they are taking steps to promote diversity.

In a statement, RCUK equality and diversity champion Andrew Thompson said: ‘Keeping the UK as a leading global research nation means using talent, skills and knowledge from everywhere – and guarding and acting against discrimination.

‘Equality of opportunity and the recognition and celebration of diversity are not always present; individuals may still face discrimination because of their gender, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation and age among others.