Statement: Professor Nazneen Rahman

Statement on sanctions applied to Professor Nazneen Rahman under Wellcome’s bullying and harassment policy.  

In July this year we learned, shortly before the story appeared in the media, of the resignation of Professor Nazneen Rahman from the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) following an independent investigation into allegations of bullying.

We have been working with the ICR to understand more about their investigation and the allegations that were made against Professor Rahman. Unfortunately, we do not have the full details of the case because they have not been shared with us. We do know that the ICR’s independent investigation deemed some of the allegations serious enough to warrant consideration at a disciplinary hearing. Professor Rahman resigned and the disciplinary hearing did not take place.

It is disappointing that a matter such as this should not be seen through to its proper conclusion. We can, however, consider the information we have been given, which is a summary of the conclusions of ICR’s investigation. This summary has given us considerable cause for concern.

As we have been given information that raises serious concerns we have decided that her Wellcome grants will be terminated or transferred to other investigators. In addition, Professor Rahman will not be able to apply for funding from Wellcome for two years and she will not sit on any Wellcome advisory committees or boards for two years.

The reason that we put our recent bullying and harassment policy in place was to improve the culture of the scientific workplace. All our policies are kept under review to ensure they remain relevant for the research environment and, we are intending to make the following updates to our bullying and harassment policy:

  • we will require institutions to tell us of allegations when they decide to investigate,
  • we will require institutions not to enter into agreements which prevent them telling us of investigation findings and complying with our policy,
  • we will advise institutions to complete disciplinary procedures if warranted by investigation finding.

Wellcome takes bullying and harassment very seriously. Unacceptable behaviour causes significant harm, stops people achieving their full potential and stifles good research.