Berkeley Lab

Steve Robbins Presented to Lab Leaders on Science Behind Inclusion

In continuing its efforts to enhance the work environment, Berkeley Lab invited Dr. Steve Robbins to lead a presentation on Wednesday, May 17th in Building 50 Auditorium.  Dr. Robbins, a leading expert on diversity and inclusion (D&I), presented a talk entitled, “Your Brain is Good at Inclusion… Except When It’s Not.”  He was introduced by Berkeley Lab Director, Dr. Mike Witherell.  Lab senior leaders, the Diversity and Inclusion Council, Employee Resource Group (ERG) leaders, and staff members (selected by each Area) were invited to attend.  Dr. Robbins presented at the National Lab Directors Council (NLDC) D&I Summit last year.

Dr. Robbins provided a science-based framework for addressing D&I issues, as well as examples of behaviors found to enhance the benefits of D&I.  Additionally, he described the ways in which D&I workplace efforts can positively impact creativity and innovation, employee engagement and enthusiasm, and continuous learning and improvement.  His presentation drew on the areas of cognitive neuroscience, communication, and social psychology to help us better understand how implicit biases—underlying biases of which we may not be aware—affect decisions and behaviors in hiring, promoting, and providing career development.  He also shared his insights on insider/outsider culture, and how D&I efforts can be categorized as “social safety work.”

This visit is part of Berkeley Lab’s D&I strategy to enhance leadership and staff awareness, and to foster a more respectful and inclusive workplace.  Short learning videos called “Inclusion Insights”, created by Dr. Robbins, will be rolled out to the Lab population this summer (more information to come).  For questions, contact

*Note: Unfortunately, the talk was not recorded, per the speaker’s request.


  1. Even though the talk was not recorded, I recall hearing that Steve’s videos would be made available to lab employees. Can this article be updated to include a link to these resources?

    • Thanks for your interest! We will inform the Lab community about the videos via an additional TABL article. More details to come!

  2. A very informative, engaging and persuasive case for inclusion. Thank you! Now let’s put the conceptual to the actual. Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance. Let’s start the music–some visible, measurable progress in retention and promotion? It requires more than recognition or policy to carry our science excellence forward.