Project Background

Thank you for your interest in the Exploring a Holistic Approach to EDI consultation survey.  

In order to make an informed decision about your participation, it is important that you understand why the research is being done and what it will involve.  Please read the information below carefully.  

What is this survey about?  

This is a consultation exercise being led by Newcastle University to explore the potential for Advance HE to develop a new approach to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) accreditation for the UK higher education (HE) sector, that is some form of system or framework to support and recognise progress on EDI.  

We want to engage the diversity of organisations across the sector including higher education institutions, research institutes, colleges, and small and specialist institutions 

The consultation is not focused on the potential to merge or replace Athena Swan or the Race Equality Charter, however, the consultation will draw on learning from these schemes 

It is important to note that development of a new approach to EDI accreditation is not a foregone conclusion – the results of this consultation will inform the next steps Advance HE takes.  

The consultation seeks to understand:  

  • what accreditations institutions currently engage with and how well these meet their needs  

  • how institutions are currently taking a holistic approach to EDI at an organisational level (encompassing all protected characteristics and/or beyond), and what challenges they experience  

  • potential benefits and risks of Advance HE developing a new approach to EDI accreditation 

  • what institutions might like to see if a new approach is developed  

  • any further suggestions or comments 

The survey forms part of a larger project involving interviews and engagement events with diverse stakeholders on their views, as well as gathering practices and lessons learned from existing work.   

The consultation is: 

  • independently run by Newcastle University 

  • open to all institutions 

  • a genuine attempt to capture the sector’s views 

  • will inform the next steps Advance HE takes 

  • overseen by a sector-led and representative advisory group 

How long will the survey take? 

It will take approximately 10 - 15 minutes to complete the survey.  

Do I have to take part? 

No, the decision to participate in the survey is entirely voluntary. You are free to withdraw from the research without giving any reason and without consequences. You can do this up to 48 hours after the survey ends. At this point, links between your identity and anonymised data will be destroyed and therefore we will no longer be able to withdraw your data. Should you wish to withdraw your data, you will need to email the Project Manager, Freya Douglas-Oloyede at or Research Assistant, Daniel Jones at

What are the possible benefits of taking part? 

Taking part in this consultation will give you the opportunity to provide your views and to contribute to the future of EDI accreditation/recognition within the UK HE sector. This will occur through being able to give your unique and important insights into the potential values and risks of Advance HE developing a new approach to EDI accreditation/recognition. 

What are the potential disadvantages and risks of taking part in this research? 

There are no potential risks that have been identified with being involved in this research. 

Will my taking part in this research be kept anonymous and confidential? 

The identity of participants in this research will be anonymised. Any information that you provide that could be linked back to your identity will be redacted prior to analysis. Your identifying information will only be available to the research team and held in password protected files on secure Newcastle University servers. The anonymised data you provide will also be password protected and held on secure servers, but in a separate location to any identifying information.  

Any queries regarding the University’s responsibilities should be directed to the University’s Data Protection Officer, Maureen Wilkinson, 

What will happen to the results of this study? 

The survey data, combined with data from the interviews and engagement events, will contribute to a robust evidence base, framing long-term recommendations for how Advance HE should invest in and develop its activities to support effective, efficient and impactful EDI work across the sector.   

How will my data be stored and who will have access to it?  

The redacted dataset from this survey will be stored on a secure university server until data analysis and reporting are completed. The data will then be deleted. Only the research team (Prof. Judith Rankin – Principal Investigator, Freya Douglas-Oloyede – Project Manager, Dr. I Lin Sin – Research Associate and Daniel Jones – Research Assistant) will have access to the dataset for the sole purpose of analysing and reporting the data.  

Has the project received ethical approval?  

Newcastle University Research Ethics Committee have reviewed and approved this research study (Ref. 24034/2022).  

Who do I contact with any questions or comments?  

For further information on the project or if you have any comments, contact the Project Manager, Freya Douglas-Oloyede via e-mail at Alternatively, you can contact the Principal Investigator, Prof. Judith Rankin via e-mail at 

1.1. Consent: Please confirm that you have read all the information and had an opportunity to ask questions via e-mail to make an informed decision to take part in this survey. Please tick to indicate your consent.