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Equality, diversity and inclusion

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.

NIHR Operating principle for inclusion, Best Research for Best Health

Embedding inclusion across NIHR will help us:

  • foster an inclusive environment
  • engage the talents and energy of diverse people in all areas of our work
  • improve the relevance and quality of our research

By achieving these, we will reduce health inequalities, thereby improving the health and wealth of the nation.

Our Research Inclusion strategy

We have developed a strategy to ensure we deliver on our commitment to inclusion, equality and diversity.

Our strategy centres around five key themes:

  • Become a more inclusive funder of research
  • Widen access and participation for greater diversity and inclusion
  • Improve and invest in the NIHR talent pipeline
  • Embed evidence-led diversity and inclusion approaches
  • Collaborate with partners for impact and sustainability

Our approach

We aim to ensure:

  • inclusion is embedded in our systems, culture and processes
  • our research and advisory workforce is considerably more diverse
  • access and participation in health and social care research are far wider
  • everyone in the NIHR community visibly contributes to the ongoing delivery of the strategy
  • an approach of learning as we go - about what works and what doesn’t, within the wider NIHR community, in and out of our sector, and beyond – is adopted across the board

We are tackling significant, complex issues, some of which are structurally embedded within NIHR and society as a whole. Drawing on evidence and best practice from our partners and industry leaders will be imperative to the long-term success of this strategy.

Read the full strategy

Research Inclusion Strategy: an update on our action and forward look

Read our update on the progress we've made so far to achieving the aims of our Research Inclusion Strategy.

Our people

To reach our inclusion aims, we will engage and collaborate with the different groups of people who play a part in our work. Our strategy encourages action from people at all levels.

Our people can be divided into five main groups:

  • NIHR workforce, comprising staff in NIHR coordinating centres and research delivery staff
  • NIHR research workforce, which is made up of people who apply for, or are in receipt of NIHR research funding
  • Advisory workforce, which is made up of people on committees, reference groups, advisory boards and external reviewers
  • Research participants, specifically study participants
  • Public contributors, whose input spans the activities of the four other groups

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.


Information for NIHR public contributors on updates to the standard application Form.

An overview of the race equality action group and its aims.

A suggested framework of questions to guide funders, researchers and delivery teams to reach more under-served groups.

More information about our inclusion work

NIHR Diversity Data

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

Read more about our diversity data.

NIHR Disability Framework

Our Disability Framework sets out our commitment to disability inclusion and forms a key part of our Research Inclusion Strategy.

Read the full framework.

Research Inclusion strategy action plan 

This action plan sets out some of our key activities that are in progress and planned over the next 5 years.

Read the action plan.