Diversity & inclusion at the SYNC lab: SMART goals

(SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely)

Open Science also means inclusive science, and we formulated the following goals in July 2020 (Descriptions copied from our blogpost):

1. Inclusive research samples

Description Although we have made some steps to diversify our research samples, we recognize that we still have much to learn and improve. Therefore, we want to make an effort to make our samples more diverse and representative of the whole population. For this purpose, we will (1) pay more attention to two facets of diversity, namely educational background and ethnic-cultural background and (2) align our recruitment strategy accordingly – choosing the appropriate channels to reach a diverse group of participants and minimize issues that may prevent certain sub-groups from participating.

SMART goals

  1. For each future research project, we aim to have at least 30% of our participants who go to a vmbo-school or mbo-school (depending on the targeted age group). In the Netherlands almost 50% of the secondary school students are enrolled in a vmbo education. In addition there are more mbo-students compared to hbo- and university students..
  2. For each future research project, we aim to have at least 20% of our participants who have a migration background or who identify with other ethnicities besides Dutch. According to recent findings 27% of the Dutch youth has a migration background, in Rotterdam this is even 60%

2. Inclusive education and work environment

Description Another essential aspect of our work and responsibility involves education – whether it pertains to teaching our knowledge and skills to university students or to society more broadly, in the form of outreach or policy recommendations. We need to consider how to be more inclusive and supportive in the opportunities we provide to a wide arrange of students, what the most appropriate channels are for sharing our findings to reach all of society, and how we can make sure that policy recommendations do not exclude important sub-groups of our population. We are developing SMART rules to get there.

SMART goals

  1. For each future research project, we aim to reach out to at least vmbo schools, ideally in a non-textual way (e.g., via a vlog, information video or in person meeting). Depending on the targeted age group this could also be mbo-schools.
  2. As from the new academic year onwards (i.e. September, 2020) we aim to broaden our internship possibilities, by offering at least two internships to non-university students. We want to reach out to at least two youth workers and two secondary (i.e. vmbo/havo/vwo) and/or mbo-schools to inform them about our internship and youth panel possibilities.

3. Include all voices

Description In all (the stages of) our activities, we need to hear other voices, to help us expand our view and understand what is important for all of society. That is the ultimate way to truly get society, youth and neuroscience connected.

SMART goals

  1. We aim to have yearly diverse youth panels in which we can discuss our research and how we can improve it. As from the new academic year onwards (i.e. September, 2020) we aim to pop-up, in terms of a living lab, in a diverse community within Rotterdam city where we can come together as a lab and work there once a week for at least three months.
  2. We aim to have yearly focus group meetings on diversity and inclusion in which representative individuals from society can join. At the beginning of the new academic year (i.e. September, 2020) we aim to reach out in a non-textual way (via a vlog, person-meetings or event) to the community in which our living lab will be located, in order to increase our visibility as a lab, introduce our work and science in general, and to stimulate co-creation.

Evaluation of SMART goals

Every two months we aim to schedule a meeting in which we can discuss the progress of our SMART goals. Some of the goals are more long-term goals and depend for instance on new projects being started. Other goals can be accomplished in the more near future. We think it is important that we realize that all these goals are a process in itself and that we will learn along the way. This could mean that we might change and adapt our goals according to new experiences and new knowledge.