Our strategic plan defines Equal as: ‘promote equality and justice between peoples and nations.’ YAS values equality and diversity, and is proud of the equal gender split of the current membership. We strive to make our recruitment process fair and open, and encourage applications, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or any other protected characteristics. In 2016, we introduced our At-Risk Academic and Refugee membership scheme to encourage displaced peoples to join YAS, and we have committed to continuing this initiative for at least the next two application rounds.
In addition to maintaining a diverse and equal membership, many of our activities promote equality and justice in Scotland and worldwide.
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Democracies pride themselves in allowing space for free political discussion as a way of peacefully working out compromises for how to live together in the context of opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation and competition over scarce resources. Because of this, we need ways of disagreeing with each other and yet achieving common ground. Politics has always been a place of disagreement and debate, but recent politics – especially in the age of social media – seems to be increasingly polarised.
To begin to do so, the Young Academy of Scotland organised a 1-day event in May 2019 with politicians, media personalities, campaigners, activists and academics to share experience and propose possible principles for a draft Responsible Public Debate Charter for Scotland. The event was hosted by Matthew Chrisman, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, with the help of fellow YAS members Alice Konig, Peter McColl, and John O’Connor.
A draft charter was produced and is available to view here.
In February 2019 YAS hosted a training day specifically for ARAR (at-risk academic and refugee) members of YAS together with the wider refugee academic community. The focus of the training day was simple: to help attendees secure an academic a job in the UK. The programme included sessions on: what makes a successful research award application; the Higher Education policy landscape (including explaining the jargon used in higher education); drafting applications; mock academic interviews; and development planning.
The workshop was hugely successful, with positive feedback from all participants, and future similar events are planned.
Clare is a Senior Lecturer in Medical Microbiology in the School of Applied Sciences at Edinburgh Napier University. Her research focusses on understanding and exploiting bacteria, such as Listeria and Salmonella, to develop novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies to help reduce antimicrobial resistance.