visNET and Evidence Base COVID-19 Survey

We want to hear about the current challenges to your work created by the COVID-19 crisis and how this has impacted you, your work and your career

We really value the time you take to do this survey as we realise that many are juggling multiple tasks just now - it should take around 20 minutes to complete.

Motivation: to make academia more inclusive

Evidence is growing that the COVID-19 crisis is having a devastating impact on the career prospects of university research and teaching staff, and that these are worse for groups already under-represented within the sector. Itime of crisis and economic decline, decision making is likely to  revert  to entrenched behaviours and biases, threatening recent progress in terms of inclusion and diversity in academia.

Additionally, in research, where career attainment gaps of marginalised groups are greater than elsewhere, this threat is heightened. While evidence is emerging from across the sector this survey aims to better understand what interventions and policies can be put in place to support staff and, in particular, those who are under-represented within the sector.

Who can take part?

If you currently work in research and/or teaching within a UK higher education institution, then we want to hear from you. If you are not sure whether this includes you, please get in touch via

Who is running the survey?

visNET is running this survey in collaboration with Evidence Base (another EPSRC Inclusion Matters project) so that we can draw on the expertise that we have developed across our projects on gender biases in grant funding and virtual networking and collaboration tools to close the gender gap in STEM academic careers.

Both projects aim to make STEM careers - and higher education more generally - more inclusive. From our work, we know that the shift to remote working and to streamlined grant application processes could have increased the representation of groups often marginalised within academia. However, in reality, these changes have been applied without inclusion in mind and under challenging circumstances. Early evidence suggests that they are in fact widening already present equalities gaps within the system. We also recognise that without immediate action from the sector as a whole, this will have a long-term impact on the careers of under-represented groups and will hold back equality, diversity and inclusion in the sector for years to come.  

What does the survey cover?

The survey covers five main topics:

  • Equality and diversity information – so we can understand variations across groups within the sector. We also know that the pandemic has impacted individuals with specific characteristics differently, and some groups already experience bias and discrimination within the sector
  • What work was being done during the pandemic and the challenges experienced – we believe that everyone has worked hard during this pandemic, in very challenging circumstances, and this work should be rewarded. For this to happen, we need to know what types of work were/are being carried out
  • Career progression and planning – we want to know about your career plans and worries so that these can be addressed by HEIs
  • Responsibilities outside of work – the crisis has impacted everyone differently, but we know that some groups have been affected more than others. Therefore, it’s important we understand what other commitments and worries you have
  • Mental health and well-being – it’s important that we realise the impact of the pandemic on staff’s mental health and wellbeing so that appropriate support is provided/made available

How will your responses be used?

This survey is anonymous. You will not be asked your name, and your participation is voluntaryYour data will be collectively analysed, in line with non-disclosive reporting, with a view to gathering evidence for our research to develop interventions to support staff in higher education.  

  • Any material likely to identify individuals will be anonymised
  • The material will be treated as confidential and kept in secure storage at all times
  • The material will be destroyed once the project is complete
  • The material will be retained in secure storage for use in future academic research 
  • The material may be used in future publications, both print and online

If you have any further questions about the survey, please contact Carla Cebula (