Diversity, equity and inclusion strategy

We want to make sure that in everything Wellcome does, the broadest possible range of people contribute to, and benefit from, science's potential to change the world. 

Our commitments 

We have set ourselves three ambitious goals to reach by 2031 at the latest. The result will be better experiences for Wellcome staff, better science, and more equitable solutions to the health challenges we all face. 

To achieve this, we will:

  • co-develop and deliver a series of projects, programmes and initiatives 
  • set key milestones against which we will track and communicate progress 
  • ensure equity is at the heart of Wellcome’s strategy and how Wellcome works.

We will prioritise and involve the most minoritised groups in each area of our work, and take targeted action where needed to achieve better outcomes for all. 

1. Inclusive employer 

By 2031, Wellcome staff will be representative of the places we work, able to be themselves, and supported to be their best.
By 2026 we want:     

  • 30% of Wellcome staff to be from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities and 15% disabled, reflected across all levels of seniority – this will be achieved through equal or higher rates in hiring, progression and retention
  • at least 75% of senior leaders to demonstrate they have met inclusive leadership criteria in their performance reviews
  • at least 80% of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic and disabled staff to feel that Wellcome is an inclusive organisation. 

To achieve this, by 2023 we will have: 

  • achieved Disability Confident accreditation
  • developed anti-racist principles, toolkit and training, and made progress towards racial equity
  • clear, transparent and equitable criteria for hiring and developing people's careers, and they will be used consistently across the organisation
  • supported our People team, and 50% of managers, to increase their understanding of inclusive management, including anti-racism, inclusion of racially minoritised people, anti-ableism and inclusion of disabled people 
  • made 'building and supporting diverse and inclusive teams' an essential requirement in job descriptions for senior leadership positions. 

2. Inclusive funder 

By 2031, people funded by Wellcome will be more representative of the global population, able to be themselves, and supported to be their best.

By 2026 we want:    

  • application and success rates to show than no one is being unfairly advantaged or disadvantaged in accessing Wellcome’s funding
  • funding assessment processes to drive a better research culture, led by a diverse group of funding advisers trained in inclusive decision-making   
  • 50% of Wellcome-funded principal investigators and centre directors to demonstrate inclusive leadership behaviours.      

 To achieve this, by 2023 we will have: 

  • enabled the collection of data on key diversity characteristics of the people we fund through our online grants system 
  • supported the chairs of funding committees to address diversity, equity and inclusion challenges in their meetings, by providing training in inclusive decision-making and bias
  • piloted new and creative approaches to address differential grant-funding rates for underrepresented groups (racially minoritised people, disabled people, women) 
  • developed equitable pre-application advice and support for funding applicants and grantholders 
  • embedded inclusive research culture principles into Wellcome's funding decision framework. 

3. Inclusive research design and practice  

By 2031, all Wellcome-funded research will be inclusive in both design and practice, to help drive better science and more equitable health solutions.

By 2026 we want:

  • to have co-developed key principles of inclusive research design and practice for use in grant funding and directly commissioned research, and to support researchers in their work  
  • the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Science and Health (EDIS) collaboration to be growing and leading to more inclusive design across the science and health research sector, as a step towards greater equity and better health outcomes in the longer-term.  

To achieve this, by 2023 we will have: 

  • brought together a cross-sector network of inclusive research design and practice champions foregrounding minoritised voices 
  • piloted the principles of inclusive research design and practice as core assessment criteria in selected areas of Wellcome funding, and for new commissioned research 
  • supported Wellcome staff and funding decision makers to understand what inclusive research design and practice are, and how they can be applied to Wellcome's mission and their work
  • established EDIS as a registered membership body, enabling knowledge-sharing on diversity and inclusion best practice across the science and health sectors. 

Why this focus? 

Inclusive employer 

  • 5% of Wellcome staff are disabled, compared with a baseline of 19% in the UK. Only 37% of disabled staff agreed with the statement ‘there are adequate systems and processes in place to allow me to do my role effectively’, compared with 68% of non-disabled staff.  
  • 19% of Wellcome staff are from racially minoritised groups, compared with a baseline of 40% in London. Racially minoritised staff are more likely to experience offensive language, jokes or behaviours from colleagues. 

Source: Wellcome 2019 staff inclusion survey.

Inclusive funder 

  • In 2019/20, no awards were made to UK-based applicants reporting their ethnicity as Black or Black British. Success rates for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic applicants remain persistently lower than for White applicants (8% compared with 14%). 
  • Over the past four years, the funding success rate for disabled applicants (10.7%) is lower than that of non-disabled applicants (13.4%). 

Source: Wellcome grant funding data 2019 to 2020.

Inclusive research design and practice