There needs to be more diversity in science
Students have an important role to play in advocating for more diversity within scientific research
Science seeks to discover and explore why things work the way they do. With such a broad scope, science is a diverse field of study including disciplines such as biological, environmental, political and social sciences.
Designing good studies that yield findings transferable to the real world is crucial and having a diversity of participants is a big part of this.
Small and non-randomized sample populations of participants make it difficult to extend results to the general population as the conclusions of these studies are derived from trials on a very specific group of people.
Despite these issues with methodology being apparent, a trend of poorly designed studies is seen across research in the field of medicine and healthcare and is one of science’s fundamental pitfalls.
Historically, health research has neglected and harmed communities of colour, creating deep mistrust in science. As most current day studies lack diversity, the findings drawn from this area of research cannot always be applied to people of colour and create gaps in quality healthcare access for racialized and other marginalized communities.
However, science is becoming more inclusive in terms of both the individuals conducting the research and the populations involved in the research, by bridging communities through trust and understanding. Although we are beginning to see more representative research being conducted as science and society progress, we have a long way to go.
Students preparing to enter the scientific community as contributors must be aware of the existing gaps in scientific representation. We are responsible for advocating for equity in research and committing to ethical practices that prioritize diversity and inclusion.
To create positive ripples of change within science, we need to be more considerate of diverse and intersecting identities and strive to include groups such as racialized individuals, women, members of the 2LGBTQIA+ community and other underrepresented groups in science research.
Science research is publicly funded, and rightfully so, as everyone is affected by science. Discoveries made in the lab have a direct consequence for society through policy and practice across of wide range of sectors and industries such as healthcare, food and agriculture and energy to name a few.
The bottom line is that inclusion and diversity in science and science research benefit everyone. As diversity continues to increase within the science community, the innovation and creativity of projects is also growing. Diverse voices, with unique lived experiences, present solutions to various issues that may have gone unnoticed before.
Academia does not thrive when confined and limited by single perspectives. Intertwining different disciplines, perspectives and voices, on the other hand, creates opportunities for intersectional collaboration and development – opportunities that are desperately needed to solve pressing issues such as climate change.
The scientific community's commitment to inclusion enriches science. It’s time we prioritize diversity in science and science research.