Promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in research

Best research for best health … by everyone for everyone

The NIHR is committed to actively and openly supporting and promoting equality, diversity and inclusion.

One of our operating principles, which shape and reflect our culture and guide our decision-making, is:

We are committed to equality, diversity and inclusion in everything we do. Diverse people and communities shape our research, and we strive to make opportunities to participate in research an integral part of everyone’s experience of health and social care services. We develop researchers from multiple disciplines, specialisms, geographies and backgrounds, and work to address barriers to career progression arising from characteristics such as sex, race or disability.

We have also identified areas where we need to deliver transformative change, our areas of strategic focus. One of these areas is 'Embedding equality, diversity,  and inclusion across NIHR’s research, systems and culture'. 

We always aim to be a diverse and inclusive funder, both in terms of the people who lead and run the NIHR, the people who sit on our funding committees and provide peer review,  and the people who lead, deliver and are involved in our research. 

NIHR Diversity Data

One of the most important tools to enable us to make progress is data and evidence. Understanding where we are now will help us establish how we can get to where we want to be. We are beginning our EDI journey by first understanding our diversity. 

Read more about our diversity data


NIHR people

The NIHR relies on an impressive range of people to help us achieve our work. We strive to create the right environment so that our people are valued and supported to thrive and grow and that they are treated with respect. We also endeavour to be open and fair in providing opportunities that are responsive to our people’s needs.

NIHR's people can be divided into five main groups. The NIHR workforce comprises staff in NIHR coordinating centres and research delivery staff. These staff are employed through contracts with various employers. Our research workforce is made up of people who apply for or are in receipt of NIHR research funding. Our advisory workforce is made up of people on committees, people on reference groups, external reviewers, and people on advisory boards or groups. Research participants, specifically study participants, comprise our fourth workforce. Our final workforce is our public contributors, whose input spans the activities of the four other workforces.

Our approach

  • Develop robust evidence to understand the impediments in our systems and the biases in our processes which have led to some communities, particularly ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities, being under-represented in our research. We will introduce programmes of change, for example as part of our fellowships and Research Professorship programmes, testing our plans with relevant communities to ensure that we are deploying resources to the areas of greatest need.
  • Diversify research participants in the studies we support and the voices of those who shape our research agenda, by redesigning our processes, introducing targeted interventions and the effective monitoring and evaluation of impact. Using an intersectional approach, we will ensure that we are reflecting diverse interests in our processes. Find out more about our work on race equality in public involvement.
  • Embed diversity in all our business processes. We will dedicate resources to the systematic tracking, reporting and evaluation of diversity within NIHR, including data on applications and awards for our research and training programmes, on our workforce and the constitution of our committees and advisory boards, and on the people who shape and participate in our research studies. We will use these data to set appropriate targets to diversify participation in our research and systems.
  • Prioritise a cross-funder approach for addressing behavioural and culture change in research and the research environment, for example bullying and harassment. 


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