Improving Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion in Biocuration – Workshop

Workshop Proposal for the Biocuration2020 conference

The basic principle of equality, diversity and inclusion is to ensure that everyone in a workplace is treated fairly and equally and has access to the same opportunities, regardless of their gender, race, religion or background. The International Society for Biocuration (ISB) values these principles and so as an outcome of the Biocuration 2019 conference, the ISB formed the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) subcommittee ( The goal of the EDI subcommittee is to promote Equality, Diversity and Inclusion across the Society and the broader community.

This workshop will be structured into four parts:

  1. An introduction to the EDI subcommittee and an overview of our work to date. This will include our work to develop the ISB conference Code of Conduct, recommendations for conference organizers, and our analysis of the ISB conference gender distributions over the past 10 years [1].
  2. Our invited speaker, Fernanda Foertter, Global Alliance Manager for Genomics High Performance Computing (HPC)+Artificial Intelligence (AI) at NVIDIA, will share her experience on leading efforts to increase representation and diversity in the sciences. Ms. Foertter brings skills and talents both at the professional level with a background on HPC in healthcare, as well as at the community level, organizing training workshops with an emphasis on offering opportunities for inclusion.
  3. We will lead an interactive activity and discussion based on the ‘50 ways to fight bias’ initiative. We will use these pre-formed questions to collectively brainstorm ideas and approaches to overcome issues in the workplace.
  4. Prior to the Biocuration 2020 workshop, we welcome ideas from the Biocuration community to prioritize discussion topics. We will guide an audience discussion of the most pressing EDI-related topics. See survey here:

This workshop is a follow-up to the very successful EDI workshop at Biocuration 2019, where we discussed issues related to the gender pay gap, parental leave and career breaks and accessibility at conferences and the workplace [2]. There was consensus amongst last years’ attendees that this workshop (or similar) should run every year.

Issues related to equality, diversity and inclusion are increasingly important in our workforce and we welcome all participants at the Biocuration 2020 conference to attend this workshop. We also welcome and encourage anyone in the Biocuration community to join our subcommittee and increase our efforts to ensure the Society is accepting, inclusive, and celebrates all of our skills and talents across the world.


1. Huntley R, ISB Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee. (2019). A Report on the Gender Balance at the International Society for Biocuration Annual Conferences. https://doi:10.5281/zenodo.3541014

2. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. (2019). Response to NIH Request for Information: Institutional Accountability to Promote Inclusive Excellence. http://doi:10.5281/zenodo.2875900