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Diversity and inclusion: helping more ideas thrive

We’re committed to making health research open to anyone with a great idea, and removing any barriers that people may face.    

Why it's important 

To solve the urgent health challenges facing everyone we need a diversity of people and ideas across science and research. 

In the past, Wellcome has played an unintended part in sustaining barriers to inclusive research. Now we are using our influence to remove those barriers. 
This means changing research processes and practices that systematically exclude or disadvantage people based on disability, gender and race. And it means co-developing research goals with the people and communities that the research is intended to benefit.

Wellcome cannot achieve its vision to support science to solve urgent health challenges facing everyone unless structural inequalities are corrected. We know that we have played our part in perpetuating and reinforcing these inequalities. This needs to change - urgently.

Lauren Couch, Associate Director of Culture, Equity & Inclusion

What we're doing 

Over the next 10 years, our goals are to:

  • become an inclusive employer: Wellcome staff will be representative of the places we work, able to be themselves, and supported to be their best
  • become an inclusive funder: people funded by Wellcome will be more representative of the global population, able to be themselves, and supported to be their best
  • support equal health outcomes: all Wellcome-funded research will be inclusive in both design and practice, to help drive better science and more equitable health solutions.

Find out how we’ll do this in our diversity, equity and inclusion strategy

Why this focus?

  • 5% of Wellcome staff are disabled, compared with a baseline of 19% in the UK.
  • Wellcome funding success rates for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic applicants remain persistently lower than for White applicants (8% compared with 14%).
  • 86% of clinical trial participants are white, despite an increasing global enrolment.

Sources: Wellcome 2019 staff inclusion survey, Wellcome grant funding data 2019 to 2020US Food and Drug Administration.

What we've done so far 

Since 2016 we’ve been working to make Wellcome a more diverse and inclusive organisation, and we have made some progress.  

We’ve been working to embed equity at the heart of Wellcome’s new strategy

We also have a number of staff-led networks which ensure that our policies and practices reflect the lived experience of staff.  

In 2019 we set a target that 15% of the people on our funding committees would be from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities. This has now been achieved and we're looking to surpass it. We’ve also supported Wellcome grantholders to identify and tackle barriers to diversity and inclusion in their work through our Research Enrichment funding

With the Francis Crick Institute and GlaxoSmithKline, we’ve launched a network called Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Science and Health Research (EDIS) which aims to inspire and encourage the UK scientific community to make equality and diversity a top priority. 

In 2021, we published our anti-racist principles, guidance and toolkit. Co-created with staff and external anti-racism experts, it provides a framework for how to be anti-racist at Wellcome. 

In 2023, Wellcome placed 73rd on Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index: achieving a position on their Top 100 Employers List and receiving a Gold Award for efforts towards LGBTQ+ inclusion.

Wellcome is also in the Top 75 of the Social Mobility Foundation’s Employer Index for 2022, ranking 65th out of 149 employers across 25 sectors.

Latest news 

More news

Read more articles on diversity and inclusion

Why we're using the term Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME)

​​​​​​We are using the term BAME as this reflects how we collect and aggregate our data, which is based on UK census categories – but we acknowledge the limitations of this term and expect our approach will continue to evolve.


More reports

Read more reports on diversity and inclusion.

Our team 

  • Lauren Couch

    Associate Director, Culture, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion


  • Diego Baptista

    Head of Research and Funding Equity


  • Sarah Christie

    Organisational CEDI Lead


  • Farrah Nazir

    Insights and Learning Lead