Exploring cultural and structural factors that support equity, diversity, inclusion and respect in medical schools.

   School of Medicine

  , Dr Cate Kennedy,  Sunday, June 30, 2024  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

There is growing recognition of the importance of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Respect (EDIR) issues captured formally in medical schools by the requirements of the Athena SWAN award, Stonewall and the Race Equality Charter. Embedding equality, diversity and inclusion into our work is an integral aspect of the University of Dundee’s newly published strategy (2022-27; University of Dundee, 2022). According to organisational research, those working in an academic environment can experience (often unintentional) discriminatory practices related to protected characteristics (e.g., only 28% of UK professors are female and only 1% of UK professors are Black, HESA 2021; Bourabain, 2021; Sliwa et al, 2022). Given the seriousness of these findings, it is important to explore and understand the culture and structures might lead to these experiences.

The aim of this study is to develop an in-depth understanding of the aspects that facilitate and inhibit a diverse, inclusive and respectful environment for staff within medical schools. Whilst the PhD candidate will design their own study supported by the supervision team, the types of research questions the PhD might ask are: (1) How is EDIR perceived by staff in medical schools (clinical and non-clinical); (2) What EDIR-related experiences (both positive and negative) have participants had or witnessed; and (3) In what ways do the medical schools, their staff, their students facilitate or inhibit these EDIR-related experiences? To begin, the prospective PhD candidate will undertake in depth analysis of a qualitative data set recently collected from medical school staff. This analysis will inform further study designed by the PhD candidate. Ultimately, this work will support cultural change within medical schools (and other Higher Education Institutions) toward becoming more equal, diverse, inclusive and respectful places.

For informal enquiries about the project, contact Dr Lisi Gordon,

For general enquiries about the University of Dundee, contact

Our research community thrives on the diversity of students and staff which helps to make the University of Dundee a UK university of choice for postgraduate research. We welcome applications from all talented individuals and are committed to widening access to those who have the ability and potential to benefit from higher education.


Applicants must have obtained, or expect to obtain, a UK honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent for non-UK qualifications), and/or a Masters degree in a relevant discipline. For international qualifications, please see equivalent entry requirements here: www.dundee.ac.uk/study/international/country/.

English language requirement: IELTS (Academic) overall score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 5.5 in reading, listening, speaking and 6.0 in writing). The University of Dundee accepts a variety of equivalent qualifications and alternative ways to demonstrate language proficiency; please see full details of the University’s English language requirements here: www.dundee.ac.uk/guides/english-language-requirements.



Step 1: Email Dr Lisi Gordon, to (1) send a copy of your CV and (2) discuss your potential application and any practicalities (e.g. suitable start date).

Step 2: After discussion with Dr Gordon, formal applications can be made via our direct application system. When applying, please follow the instructions below:

Candidates must apply for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Medicine (3 Year) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Medicine (4 year) using our direct application system: apply for a PhD in Medicine.

Please select the study mode (full-time/part-time) and start date agreed with the lead supervisor.

In the Research Proposal section, please:

-         Enter the lead supervisor’s name in the ‘proposed supervisor’ box

-         Enter the project title listed at the top of this page in the ‘proposed project title’ box

In the ‘personal statement’ section, please outline your suitability for the project selected.

Business & Management (5) Education (11) Medicine (26) Sociology (32)

Funding Notes

There is no funding attached to this project. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for tuition fees and living expenses, via external sponsorship or self-funding.


Bourabain, D (2021). Everyday sexism and racism in the ivory tower: The experiences of early career researchers on the intersection of gender and ethnicity in the academic workplace. Gender, Work & Organization 28(1): 248-267.
HESA. (2021). Higher Education Staff Statistics: UK, 2019/20. Cheltenham: HESA.
Sliwa, M., Gordon, L., Mason, K., & Beech, N. (2022). ‘That’s bang out of order, mate!’: Gendered and racialized micro-practices of disadvantage and privilege in UK business schools. Gender, Work & Organisation. https://doi.org/10.1111/gwao.12920

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