Statement on racial justice in UK higher education

Our Director Jeremy Farrar responds to an open letter from more than 300 Black, Asian and minority ethnic academics, calling for racial justice in UK higher education.

Thank you for writing to me and others directly about racial justice in UK higher education. Across Wellcome we have been reflecting on how we have perpetuated racism through our history and recently published a commitment to act

Your letter provides tangible, clear actions that we can take on board in our processes for how we fund, as well as how we employ and treat our staff and grantees. Change across the whole sector is essential and we are committed to playing our part.

We are constantly looking to improve Wellcome by addressing all inequalities. To tackle racism specifically, we will: 

  • Continue to collect and publish data on key diversity characteristics and any disparities in people who we fund – to provide a comprehensive picture and to build necessary actions. 
  • Provide the chairs of our funding committees with the necessary training and guidance, informed by anti-racist principles – to reduce disparities in funding.
  • Examine how we can identify and promote commitments to anti-racist practice amongst those researchers funded by or seeking funding from Wellcome.
  • Require our leadership to endorse anti-racist principles and ask institutions we fund to demonstrate the steps they have taken to advance racial justice. 

We will involve minoritised groups in designing and implementing our work, and this will include Black, Asian, and minority ethnic voices both internally and across the wider higher education sector.

To improve research culture, we all need to address racism and ensure minoritised groups face no challenges.

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