The Palaeontological Association
The Palaeontological Association is a registered charity (charity number 1168330) that promotes the study of palaeontology and its allied sciences through publication of original research and field guides, sponsorship of meetings and field excursions, provision of web resources and information, and a programme of annual awards and grants. The Association currently has around 1000 professional and amateur members from students to retired members.
The Diversity Study tender
The Association wishes to determine the diversity of its current membership and investigate diversity among professional palaeontologists. The purpose of this study is to identify under-represented groups in order to consider how the Association’s activities can be tailored to be more inclusive and ultimately to increase diversity in the discipline. A maximum of £18,000 is available for this study.
Instructions to tenderers
Tenderers should submit their application documents (detailed below) to firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight on Sunday 17th September 2017. Queries should also be addressed to this e-mail address. The anticipated start date for the study is November 1st 2017 and the anticipated duration of the study is 3-6 months.
Criteria for the evaluation of tender returns
Formal qualifications in relevant area
Experience in social science research, including quantitative and qualitative data acquisition and analysis
Experience in diversity studies research
Knowledge of geoscience and palaeontology
Total for person criteria
Appropriateness of proposed methodological approach
Feasibility of proposed schedule of activity
Value for money of proposed budget
Total for proposal criteria
Briefing and information notes
The project will involve the collection and analysis of the following data:
- From survey of current membership: age, gender identity, disability status, ethnicity, socio-economic background, career stage and sector.
- From audit of past awards and presentations: gender, career stage, authorship, committee composition etc.
- From audit of selected geoscience departments: age, gender identity, disability status, ethnicity, socio-economic background of students and staff.
- From interviews with subsample of current membership: perception of diversity within the Palaeontological Association and palaeontology, barriers to career progression, potential actions.
Objectives of the proposed diversity study include the following:
- Audit current PalAss membership, seeking information on age, gender identity, disability status, ethnicity, socio-economic background, career stage, tenure status, and perception of diversity within the Association and palaeontology more broadly.
- Audit the Association’s past awards (all categories) and presentations for as many years as available. Collect the same categories of data for the audits of both membership and past awards.
- Audit current palaeontologists in the UK and Ireland plus other selected European institutions, including the same information as the audits above, plus dates, subjects and institutions of BSc, MSc, PhD, publications (incorporating authorship and impact) and, if possible, promotions data.
- Compile historical data on the gender balance of palaeontologists at relevant third level institutions in the UK and Ireland plus other selected European institutions.
- Generate qualitative data from interviews with volunteers.
- Generate qualitative data from (a) focus group(s) attended by palaeontologists at a major conference.
- Compare results from (1–6) with published data on the broader geosciences and biosciences.
- Identify under-represented groups and collate list of approaches and actions taken by comparable groups to address similar issues
Form of tender and tender submissions
Applicants should submit:
- a CV,
- a cover letter detailing their suitability for the position,
- a research plan (maximum 4 A4 pages), including:
- An outline of key approaches to identifying diversity bias within the Palaeontological Association and the discipline of palaeontology within the UK, Ireland and Europe more broadly;
- Details of analytical approaches;
- Proposed schedule;
- Indicative budget;
- Feasible deliverables within the financial framework of the project;
- Description of the format of outputs.
- Regarding the audit of the Associations past awards and presentations (point 2), in what format will this information be provided to the successful provider?
This information will be provided in the form of a Word document or Excel spreadsheet listing the names of the award holders and presenters.
- Regarding the audit of current palaeontologists (point 3), compiling historical data on gender balance (point 4), and comparing results with published data on the broader geosciences and biosciences (point 7) — will the Association be able to provide this secondary data for analysis, or is it the responsibility of the provider to source this? If the latter, will the Association be able to provide guidance?
It will be the responsibility of the provider to source the data but the Association will provide guidance.
- Could you provide further details of what major conference you would suggest holding focus groups with palaeontologists? And would the Association be able to support the successful provider in arranging this group at the conference (e.g. ensuring permission, sourcing a room at the venue etc.)?
The Palaeontological Association Annual Meeting would be an obvious choice and the Association could certainly help with the logistics mentioned.
- I can see that one third of the evaluation weighting will be given to the person who submits the bid. Does that mean that only individual submissions will be accepted, or can we also bid as a team, making the case for our collective qualifications and experience?
A bid can be accepted from a team, in which case you should refer to the collective qualifications and experience of the team members.
In relation to the audit of current PalAss membership and past awards, the FAQ states that you can provide a word document or excel spreadsheet listing the names of award holders and presenters. Are you also able to provide contact details of your members / award holders? From the ITT, it is our understanding that you would envisage some kind of survey of these groups?
We would not supply contact details for members, but we would be able to send out a questionnaire to the membership. For award holders we would be able to supply their name and institution at the time of the award.
To point (1), does the Paleontological Association already collect some demographic information from its current membership? Or is the Association envisaging the collection of this data by the provider via survey?
The Palaeontological Association does not collect any demographic information from its membership. We envisage the collection of this data by the provider, e.g. via a survey which the Association would be able to distribute to the membership.