How can we inspire inclusion within the HPC community?


Annually, on the 8th of March, the world celebrates International Women’s Day (IWD), a day dedicated to highlighting and celebrating the contributions of women to society. As an organisation dedicated to increasing the visibility of women in HPC and raising awareness of the positive impact diversity has on progress in the supercomputing community,  Women in HPC (WHPC) contributes an important voice to the global conversation.


To celebrate IWD 2024, Eleanor Broadway (EPCC) and Jenny Wong (Technical Content Developer at 2i2c) teamed up to represent WHPC and bring diversity into the spotlight of conversations at the ARCHER2 Celebration of Science. Together, we hosted an event to promote the value of diversity in science, complementing the programme and showcasing the scientific achievements of ARCHER2 users.


Diversity creates stronger organisations and a stronger community: How can we inspire inclusion within the HPC community? 


Our session aimed to prompt the audience to discuss the question: How can we cultivate inclusion and diversity in our local communities through small, actionable, and realistic changes? The discussion among the audience elucidated three main areas where we need to improve diversity: in the workplace, at events and when hiring new talent. After gathering input from the community, we have compiled a list of suggestions to serve as a guiding framework for our collective efforts to foster diversity.


Strategies for cultivating a more inclusive environment in the workplace: 

  • Feedback from the local community: Implement regular anonymous surveys to allow individuals to express feelings of not belonging and provide suggestions for improvement. This creates a safe space for reporting feelings or incidents with anonymity, and also a tool to track changes and improvement.
  • Offer and reward Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) training to foster understanding and empathy amongst colleagues.
  • Introduce initiatives to increase the visibility of allies as role models who can offer relatable support and guidance for colleagues.
  • An open-door policy ensures that everyone feels heard and valued, with leaders readily available for discussions.
  • Flexible working arrangements accommodate the diverse needs of employees, promoting a more inclusive and supportive workplace culture.
  • Implement internal lightning talks to serve as a platform which promotes awareness of the work and opportunities within the organisation. These will help to build confidence amongst early-career and underrepresented groups, generally improve collaboration and promote respect for all contributions to the success of an organisation.
  • Build funding for childcare into grant applications. Remove barriers for colleagues with caregiving responsibilities by ensuring childcare support is budgeted for when applying for funding.


Guidance for making diversity a central priority at events:

  • Integrate diversity and outreach events directly into event programmes. These events are often considered to be optional but, in order to drive change, we need to hear from the full diverse range of voices, perspectives and backgrounds that represent our community.
  • Prioritise diversity representation amongst invited speakers. A great strategy is to encourage senior invited speakers to send representatives in their place to build their presentation skills and boost their CVs. Improving the diversity of speakers will ensure a range of perspectives and backgrounds, encouraging a broader spectrum of voices to be heard.
  • Remove barriers for attendees with caregiving responsibilities. When designing event schedules, try to minimise weekend travel and the school holidays to accommodate for different commitments and preferences. Offering and organising options for childcare is also an essential consideration for any event.
  • Organise/promote early career conferences to provide platforms where emerging voices and diverse talent can contribute to the dialogue.


Advice for ensuring diversity, equity and inclusion when hiring new talent: 

  • Measure time spent discussing individual candidates. This can help to reduce unconscious bias from the hiring panel by ensuring that all applicants receive fair consideration.
  • Prioritising diverse representation in the hiring team to reduce unconscious bias as well as improving the diversity of opinions, perspectives and backgrounds during discussions.
  • Use office hours for job adverts to allow candidates to seek clarification or additional information on the post – this helps to foster transparency and accessibility in the hiring process.


These strategies can guide organisations to innovate and rethink existing practices to cultivate more diverse, inclusive and equitable environments for all.


Want to contribute to the conversation? 

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