We want every great idea that could improve health to thrive. But we miss out 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.
On this page
Three ways we are taking action
There’s no quick fix. Creating an inclusive culture where people feel they can participate and contribute means making lots of small changes that add up to more than the sum of their parts. That’s why we’re calling for change in three areas.
Making UK science more inclusive
We’re funding research to understand more about the causes of inequality within science, and making our grants more flexible to accommodate diverse needs, like providing adjustments for disabled applicants.
We’ll also introduce innovative ways to measure, evaluate, incentivise and embed good practice in diversity and inclusion, and share what we learn with others.
Engaging a wider range of people with science and health
We’ll continue to engage people from all walks of life through our work in education and public engagement. We’re planning to build on the great work Wellcome Collection has already done to make its exhibition space more accessible to different audiences.
Leading by example
As one of the biggest funders of science and research in the UK, we want to lead by example. We know we’re not as inclusive as we could be. We’re enhancing our recruitment process, introducing bias awareness training, and investing in a seed fund to support people to develop their own ideas for making Wellcome more inclusive.
What it really means
- When we say ‘diversity’ we mean everything that makes us unique – from the categories protected by UK law, to our personality types and ways of thinking.
- 44% of senior lecturers in bioscience are women, compared to only 16% of professors.
- Students taking STEM subjects after 16 still fall into the same ethnic and social groups they did 20 years ago.
What we want to achieve
If we’re successful, leaders across UK science and research, including those from funding organisations and universities, will support and drive commitment to diversity and inclusion.
We’ll know more about what causes inequality in UK science and health research, and we’ll be working with others to measure, monitor and remove it. There’ll be a greater diversity of people doing or interested in science.
At Wellcome, we’ll have broadened the diversity of people we employ. Diversity and inclusion will be embedded in our culture and the way we work, and having a range of voices will help us make better decisions. We’ll begin to see a ripple effect across other organisations.
In the long-term, this work will lay the foundations for a research culture in which everyone feels able to contribute their ideas. And as a result, more great ideas will help us realise our goal of improving health.
The diversity dividend?
Wellcome commissioned a group from the University of Sheffield to undertake a critical review of the evidence for the benefits of a more diverse and inclusive biomedical and health research community.
Understanding mental health in the research environment
Wellcome and The Royal Society commissioned RAND to carry out a literature review, exploring the mental health needs of researchers and the interventions that can be used to support them.
Read the literature review [PDF 3.4MB].
Diversity in grant awarding and recruitment at Wellcome
A summary of research conducted by the Bridge Group on diversity in grant awarding and recruitment at Wellcome, and recommendations for how to turn our vision of diversity into reality.
Read the report [PDF 1.4MB].
- Lauren Couch, Head of Diversity and Inclusion
- Tunde Agbalaya, Diversity and Inclusion Programme Manager (Society)
- Sarah Christie, Diversity and Inclusion Programme Manager (Wellcome)
- Gemma Tracey, Diversity and Inclusion Programme Manager (Science and Research)
We are establishing a strategic advisory committee, and are working closely with other experts and partners, like Stonewall, the Equality Challenge Unit, the Bridge Group and Frost Included, who already support organisations to be more inclusive.
If you have any questions, contact the team: