It’s the next step in our commitment to increase the diversity of the people we fund, engage with and employ, and create a research culture in which everyone feels able to contribute their ideas.
Diversity and inclusion is a priority for Wellcome because we want every great idea that could improve health to thrive. Science and society both suffer when people feel science isn’t for them, or leave research careers because of barriers they face.
We’re committed to removing those barriers and making science and health research open to anyone with a great idea. This includes making it possible for a wider range of public audiences to engage with science and heath, and making Wellcome itself more diverse and inclusive.
Earlier this year we published a Wellcome-commissioned report by the Bridge Group. It made a number of recommendations, one of which was to reinforce our decision to form an advisory group for D&I.
We understand that diversity is a complex area, so we have established a steering group of diversity experts and champions to help us reflect on our practice and meet our goals. We are keen to learn from the group’s guidance, knowledge and experience.
Who’s who in the D&I steering group
The group has 12 external members – Catherine Brown, Andrea Callender, Prof Jane Clarke, Lenna Cumberbatch, Dr Robbie Dushinsky, Liz Ellis, Patrick Johnson, Elizabeth Lynch, Katherine Rake, Dr Nicola Rollock, David Ruebain and Adrian Shooter.
Together, they have extensive experience of leading on D&I initiatives in a broad mix of settings, from corporate, healthcare and higher education to research environments and public engagement.
What the D&I steering group will do
The steering group will meet three times a year. Its primary focus will be to discuss how Wellcome is putting its D&I plans into action and to give strategic advice to Wellcome’s D&I management board.
Specifically, the group will:
help shape our annual priorities for D&I
challenge us and discuss the complexities of the issues we’re facing
highlight current opportunities and innovative practice in equality, diversity and inclusion.
How the D&I steering group was selected
We’ve been keen to make sure that the group’s members were recruited through an open process. We advertised for members to join the steering group via Wellcome’s website, social media channels and existing D&I networks.
We’ve published a review by a team at the University of Sheffield looking at evidence for the benefits of a more diverse and inclusive biomedical and health research community.
We’re looking at how we make our funding processes as inclusive as possible, and have begun to pilot unconscious bias training for Wellcome employees.
The steering group has its first meeting on 2 November. The members will elect a Chair and give us feedback on how we’re developing our action plans.
Over the next few months we’ll be sharing more about how we’re putting our D&I plans into action.
It’s not going to be easy, and it’s going to take time to make changes – that’s why it’s important we start now. This first meeting of the new D&I steering group is another step towards making a practical difference in striving for our goals.