Inequalities in the field of science are on the rise, and the Covid-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the disparities affecting scientists in all disciplines. Across the globe, inequalities are widening, opportunities for those who come from more disadvantaged backgrounds are decreasing, and, as a result, research has a reduced pool of people and talent to draw upon. Moreover, inequities come in different forms, depending on gender, geography, or socio-economic backgrounds, making it ever more complex to fully grasp the roots and consequences of this phenomenon.
The Research Forum is focusing its biannual conference on this topic, with the aim of fostering an open discussion between the philanthropic players in the field and universities, research institutes, public authorities, and any other stakeholders in this ecosystem. As science and technology are becoming increasingly instrumental in addressing the unprecedented societal challenges we face today, this conversation is timely. Philanthropy builds bridges between science, technology, and society at large, and does so in different ways: as a funder, as a catalyst of partnerships, as well as an amplifier of good practices to foster the uptake of public goods. Supporting scientific research is a guarantee of a strong sense of social participation, and encourages the willingness to learn, build and transform knowledge ‒ but access to science is unequal around the world. Which are the drivers for positive change that could reduce inequalities in science? How can funders proactively help to eradicate these structural problems?