Access to Success Pathways for Inclusive Research Excellence (ASPIRE)

Access to Success Pathways for Inclusive Research Excellence (ASPIRE) is an ambitious research, training and capacity building initiative that will trial new approaches to improve research culture at the University of Birmingham.

ASPIRE is one of 20 pilot programmes funded by the Wellcome Trust as part of a portfolio of activity to support positive and inclusive organisational research cultures

Building on our experience

The University has been awarded approximately £1 million to develop an innovative pilot to enhance how we understand, create, and embed inclusive research practice and excellence, with a particular focus on the career development and progression of racially ​minoritised researchers and related staff.​ 

Consultation and engagement with the University’s research and research-related community has informed the design of the pilot programme. The programme will build on ongoing work of the Race Equality Charter, the NIHR Race Equity and Diversity in Careers Incubator and the recently established EDI Centre. 

University of Birmingham researcher in a lab

ASPIRE objectives

 Improve Prioritise Increase Encourage Build
Improve understanding of racial inclusion barriers. Visibily prioritise inclusive research excellence at the University. Increase opportunity and inclusion for racially minoritised staff. Encourage learning and adoption of inclusive research behaviours and practices for all staff. Build research and grants leadership capacity to improve representation at senior levels. 

Breaking new ground in research culture 

To achieve its aims, the two-year programme will focus on four workstreams that will:  

  • Establish the foundational principles and strategies for the programme that will shape and guide how we work.  
  • Raise awareness of inclusive research excellence and foster engagement and accountability for positive change. 
  • Experiment with targeted training and career development support to create diverse research environments and promote inclusive team cultures. 
  • Build research leadership diversity and enhance Principal Investigator (PI) capacity. 

Meet the team  

ASPIRE is interdisciplinary and cross-institutional, bringing together colleagues from across the University, including the new EDI and Wellbeing Centre in HR. For more information, please contact:

Programme team

Professor Adam Tickell

Adam Tickell

Institutional lead

Professor Etlyn Kenny

Etlyn KennyPrincipal investigator 

Professor Catherine Mangan 

Catherine ManganCo-investigator

Professor Yemisi Takwoingi

Yemisi TakwoingiCo-investigator

Dr Zania Stamataki

Zania StamatakiCo- investigator 

Sheena Lucas

Sheena LucasCo-investigator 

Core team

Kally Bhartti

Kally BharttiProgramme Manager  

Nosheen Qamer 

Nosheen QamerTraining Consultant

Olivia Barfi

Olivia BarfiCommunications and Administrations Officer