About Equality, Diversity, Inclusion (EDI)

Both as an employer, and as the ambassador of the Swiss bioinformatics community, SIB has a critical role to play in ensuring and fostering diversity and equal opportunities in the workplace as well as in the scientific ecosystem. Equality has many facets, including national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability. The institute is committed to generating the best possible value from the diversity of profiles and backgrounds among its employees and members by creating a culture of equality and inclusion, and to enabling everyone to develop their potential and skills. As respect is one of the core values of SIB, the institute has always worked to reflect these commitments in its organization.

A few examples: 26 nationalities for 189 employees* are represented at SIB with a balanced distribution of the age pyramid; SIB’s salary policy ensures equal pay for equal responsibilities, and managerial positions are equally open to everyone; with the objective of promoting a work-life balance, SIB employees are entitled to benefits such as part-time work, flexible working hours or working from home whenever feasible; as women are strongly underrepresented in the academic scientific ecosystem, SIB promotes them by supporting their grant applications, providing travel fellowships and by striving for gender balance among the speakers at its conferences.

* as of 31.12.2020

Why EDI principles matter for SIB

EDI graph 2021A virtuous circle

As an institution aiming at scientific excellence and supporting progress in research and health, these principles enable SIB:

  • To reflect the diverse views and needs of society by ensuring a diverse and fair representation in our organization and our research
  • To have a positive impact on society and reduce the gender gap in science by providing new role models for society and promoting gender equality
  • To leverage excellence by fostering creativity and diversity-driven innovation

As data scientists aiming to advance our knowledge of the world’s complexity, these principles enable us:

  • To promote scientific advances and solutions that can benefit more people in society by fostering a data science practice that is ethical and fair and by looking for diverse and representative datasets
  • To shape an inclusive digital future by ensuring a diverse representation of people and views on the programming side in an increasingly data driven world

As an employer aiming to offer a safe work environment and to attract top talents, these principles enable SIB:

  • To attract people who recognize the best ideas no matter where they come from by providing a solid foundation to our organizational culture
  • To increase employee engagement by fostering psychological safety, self-development, and open dialogue

How can EDI principles be further fostered at SIB

  • Through the identification and monitoring of indicators across the various dimensions of diversity in the community of Swiss bioinformatics (e.g. qualitative and quantitative surveys)
  • Through the improvement of processes (e.g. gender balanced representation in our official bodies and events) and policies (e.g. inclusive definition of parental leave, travel grants for women, social media campaign for women in science)
  • Through an open dialogue and awareness raising with training (e.g. unconscious bias training as part of leadership courses), dedicated events (e.g. ‘Picture a scientist’ screening and discussion; knowledge-sharing event on Fair Algorithms)
  • Through collaborations to develop and ensure best practices both internally (internal departments) and with our partners in Switzerland and abroad

Meet the Diversity working group

The SIB-wide Diversity working group was created to support and promote EDI principles across the institute’s activities. Its mission is endorsed by the Council of Group Leaders as well as by SIB's Management, who will be informed of the conclusions and recommendations. Marie Dangles, Director of Communications, People & Culture acts as the sponsor of the initiative.

The group includes employees and members and with different levels of seniority: Aitana Lebrand (Chair), Team Lead Data Science, Geneva; Maïa Berman, Senior Communications Manager, Lausanne; Ute Roehrig, Senior Scientist, Lausanne; Julien Roux, Senior Scientist, Basel; Gerardo Tauriello, Team Lead, Software Development, Basel; Rob Waterhouse, Group Leader, Lausanne.

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