Diversity and inclusion
Wellcome Connecting Science’s mission is to enable everyone to explore genomic science and its impact on research, health and society. Our mission and objectives have largely been developed to be inclusive by default, working on the assumption that the ‘everyone’ we are aiming to reach can access and benefit from our projects in an equitable manner. But this is often not the case.
In 2020 the Black Lives Matter movement highlighted the structural inequalities and racism that manifest across society, including within research and academia. These impact those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds in the UK, to different extents, but are particularly evident in the representation of Black people in the academic sector, where for example, less than one per cent of the UK’s professors identify as Black and Black researchers have lower success rates with funding councils and grant funding agencies.
In February 2021, we developed a Race and Research Equity Action Plan with specific commitments, partially as a response to specific events, but also as the articulation of perspectives that had already been discussed informally within our programme.
A newly refreshed Equity and Inclusion Plan for 2023-26, puts a stronger focus on intersectional identities in order to achieve broader inclusion of groups, communities and perspectives. Our commitments remain consistent through our new Equity and Inclusion Plan 2023-26, and are linked to our strategic objectives.
The full Wellcome Connecting Science Equity and Inclusion Plan, including specific action areas, for 2023-26, is available on request.
Our commitments 2021-26
Strategic Objective 1: Work with diverse communities to transform engagement with genomics
Commitments: We will actively seek to ensure that our activities reach Black, and other BAME and marginalised groups in the UK; We will ensure that our public facing activities include and reflect Black, and other minority voices, and audiences, while recognising the trauma and challenge that this may bring for some.
Strategic Objective 2: Impact policy, practice, and careers
Commitments: We will ensure that our professional-facing activities acknowledge structural inequality in the UK, and actively include and promote the participation of both current, and the next generation, of Black and BAME healthcare and research professionals in training and learning activities; Working collaboratively, we will strive to make our activities with global communities inclusive, increase awareness and understanding of research inequality between the Global North and South, and address specific barriers to both participating in, and benefiting from, research.
Strategic Objective 3: Through our work establish the Wellcome Genome Campus as the recognised centre of excellence for learning and engagement with genomics
Commitments: We will review our governance, management, staff engagement, and recruitment, to identify areas to improve inclusion and representation, creating defined plans for change where needed; We will work with colleagues within GRL and across the wider Campus to develop and implement measures which create an inclusive working environment.
Ensuring diverse views and perspectives from those with professional and lived experience of genomics, is a key priority for Wellcome Connecting Science.
I've been delighted to lead this area of work for the programme, working with colleagues as part of our shared commitment to inclusion.