Welcome to QUADRAT’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Hub. QUADRAT DTP and its partners are fully committed to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. On this page, you can learn more about our recruitment practices, find helpful resources and  DEI initiatives at each institution.

It’s one thing being committed to DEI; it‘s another thing delivering that commitment. Leadership is about understanding the challenges we face and delivering solutions at all levels. The biggest challenge about addressing DEI is about changing our behaviour and our habits right down to the granular level. QUADRAT is doing this by our continuing commitment to improving our practices as evidenced on this page. This is an ongoing journey that we all need to take.

– Professor Graeme Paton, Director of QUADRAT DTP

QUADRAT Doctoral Training Partnership stands for equity, diversity and inclusion in all areas of our work. We recognise the diversity among our students and staff, and the ways diversity enhances our work. We want to ensure that no staff member or student is discriminated against because of their gender, sex, sexuality, race, ethnicity, age, disability, religion or belief, pregnancy, maternity or marital status, or socioeconomic status. We aim to foster an inclusive and flourishing environment.

We are committed to:

  • Increasing the number of QUADRAT DTP students from UK ethnic minority groups
  • Increasing the number of students with disabilities entering PhD study through QUADRAT
  • Increasing the number of first-generation students entering the QUADRAT DTP
  • Training and educating our students and staff on diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Responding to the needs of our staff and students from diverse backgrounds

Below, you can find institutional equality, diversity and inclusion policies:
University of Aberdeen’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy: Equality_Diversity_Inclusion_Policy.pdf (abdn.ac.uk)
Queen’s University Belfast’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy: QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY BELFAST (qub.ac.uk)

University of Aberdeen and Queen’s University of Belfast are institutions with many equality, diversity and inclusion awards.

University of Aberdeen:

Queen’s University Belfast:

QUADRAT prides itself on its inclusive recruitment strategy. Below, you can find what steps we take to ensure our recruitment process is inclusive.

The ‘whole-person’ approach

The ‘Whole Person’ strategy aims to widen participation and offer equal opportunities regardless of personal circumstances. It captures more than just applicants’ academic ability as it considers the applicants’ potential by giving more context to the overall application.

Applicants have the option to write an equity statement detailing circumstances which may have limited the opportunities available to them (e.g. caring responsibilities which may have prevented them from undertaking internships/work experience).

All applicants write a ‘readiness for research’ statement as part of their application in which they have the opportunity to talk about skills and the different pathways that lead them to where they are today. This encourages applicants from varied backgrounds and breadth of experience.

Why is this better?

  • The strategy considers the effect of all situations and experiences to provide full context in the decision-making process.
  • The strategy eliminates blind spots and biases in the decision-making process via accountability and treating everyone with respect.
  • The strategy allows for determining potential based on a wide range of factors, not just work experience and internships.
  • This recruitment strategy is EDI compliant and aims to widen participation and offer equal opportunities regardless of personal circumstances;
  • It gives consideration to applicant potential, not just academic achievements as set out on paper.

Other steps taken to achieve better equity, diversity and inclusion during recruitment:

  •  advertising though the non-conventional routes e.g. organisations and charities
  •  gender-balanced shortlisting and interview panels
  •  all interviews take place online
  •  selection panels need to take unconscious bias training and other forms of EDI trainings before the recruitment cycle begins
  • we make sure that all projects allow for part-time study and are advertised as such

If you require any changes or additional support at any stage of the application or recruitment process, please get in touch as early as possible by emailing quadrat-admissions@abdn.ac.uk.

Reasonable adjustments can be accommodated in most cases – you are the expert on your specific requirements, please get in touch and let us know how we can better support you through these processes.

Reasonable adjustments could include but are not limited to:

  • Changing the format, text size, font of the application form;
  • Changing the date, time or format of interviews;
  • Enabling subtitles on Microsoft Teams – instructions are available here;
  • Extra time – this could be for the interview itself, or for an interview task such as a presentation;
  • Changing the format of an interview task such as a presentation e.g. this could be live or pre-recorded;
  • A test call with a member of the QUADRAT administrative team;

This is not an exhaustive list and we will consider any adjustments that you might need. Please email quadrat-admissions@abdn.ac.uk as soon as possible during the application process / after being invited to interview so that we can discuss this in more detail.

SCOPE have some great tips on asking for adjustments at interview here.

  • encouraging part-time students by providing partial fee waivers to facilitate cohort building interactions
  • providing support for caring responsibilities to allow attendance at conferences and on field work (this has been secured from The University of Aberdeen Development Trust for the lifetime of the QUADRAT DTP)
  • developing a grassroots network for female postgraduates to explore potential causes of career drop-out and obstacles for advancement. (QUADRAT partners have a broad community of female role models in leadership roles in research governance and policy, who will provide mentoring and advice for career development.)
  • Diversity training for our staff and students.

The health and wellbeing of our students is of paramount importance to us, and as such each university offers a wide range of support services which are readily available to you. Below we link to the support services available at each institution, and through NERC and UKRI. Please visit the webpages of the institution you are registered at to see the full extent of the resources that are available to you. If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 999 immediately.

University of Aberdeen

University of Aberdeen student support services

Student Helpline – Available 24 hours a day

Student Advice and Support Office

Disability Services

AUSA Advice

Postgraduate Research School: maternity/paternity & absence policies

PGR Handbook

Queen’s University Belfast

Queen’s University Belfast student support services

Student Guidance Centre

Disability Services

University Health Centre

Advice SU

Family policies (maternity/paternity)

Email: studentwellbeing@qub.ac.uk or qubstudents@inspirewellbeing.org

Phone: 0808 800 0016 (24hr Freephone)


If a student has a long-term disability, and as a result of that disability they are obliged to incur additional expenditure in connection with their studies, they may be eligible for extra allowances, known as Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA). All research council funded students are eligible for these allowances.

Disabled Students’ Allowances cover costs relating to additional general expenses, items of equipment, or non-medical assistance during the term of the studentship. Research councils will consider meeting only those costs that are incurred directly and solely as a consequence of taking up a studentship to pursue postgraduate study.

For more information, see the funding for research training page of the UKRI website.

Please note: the research organisation hosting the studentship applies for DSA and not the student themselves. If you believe you are eligible for DSA, please discuss this with your supervisor and QUADRAT Partnership Coordinator (quadrat@abdn.ac.uk).

For more information please visit the following webpage and scroll down to the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) section: https://www.ukri.org/skills/funding-for-research-training/

Please also view the UKRI Framework Document for further details.

Contact: researchcareers@nerc.ac.uk

The Wellbeing Thesis

University of Aberdeen, Queen’s University of Belfast and their respective student unions have many networks and societies for you to join.

University of Aberdeen
LGBTQ+ Staff and Postgraduate Network: LGBTQ+ Staff & PG Support | StaffNet | The University of Aberdeen (abdn.ac.uk)
Menopause network: Menopause Network | StaffNet | The University of Aberdeen (abdn.ac.uk)
Parents and Carers Network: Parents and Carers Network | StaffNet | The University of Aberdeen (abdn.ac.uk)
Race Equality Network for Staff and PGRs: Race Equality Network for staff and PGRs | StaffNet | The University of Aberdeen (abdn.ac.uk)
Staff Disability Network: Staff Disability Network | StaffNet | The University of Aberdeen (abdn.ac.uk)
Women’s Development Network: Women’s Development Network | StaffNet | The University of Aberdeen (abdn.ac.uk)

Aberdeen University Students’ Association
Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Students’ Forum: Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Students’ Forum (ausa.org.uk)
Disabled Students’ Forum: Disabled Students’ Forum (ausa.org.uk)
International Students’ Forum: International Students’ Forum (ausa.org.uk)
LGBTQ+ Students’ Forum: LGBTQ+ Students’ Forum (ausa.org.uk)
Mature Students’ Forum: Mature Students’ Forum (ausa.org.uk)
Part-time students’ Forum: Part-Time Students’ Forum (ausa.org.uk)
Postgraduate Students’ Forum: Postgraduate Students’ Forum (ausa.org.uk)
Trans Students’ Forum: Trans Students’ Forum (ausa.org.uk)
Women and Non-binary Students’ Forum: Women and Non-Binary Students’ Forum (ausa.org.uk)

AUSA has many cultural societies: Student Activities (ausa.org.uk)

Queen’s Students’ Union
African and Caribbean Society – African and Caribbean Society (q-su.org)
Chinese Students’ Association – Chinese Students’ Association (q-su.org)
Feminist and Equality Society – Feminist and Equality Society (q-su.org)
Filipino Society – Filipino Society (q-su.org)
Hong Kong Society – Hong Kong Society (q-su.org)
Inclusion Society – Inclusion Society (q-su.org)
International Students’ Society – International Students’ Society (q-su.org)
Jordanian Society – Jordanian Society (q-su.org)
Pride Society – Pride Society (q-su.org)
Women in STEM – Women in STEM Society (q-su.org)

Aucademy – Closed Social Networks for Autistic People: Aucademy Autistic Only Closed Groups – Aucademy
Black in Plant Science: Black in Plant Science
Disabled Academic Collective: JOIN US | (disabledacademicco.wixsite.com)
Network for Neurodiverse Postgraduate Researchers: Neurodiverse Postgraduate Researchers – About us