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Equality, diversity and inclusion strategy 2022-27 action plan


Published: 14 December 2022

Version: 2.0 March 2023

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The NIHR Research Inclusion strategy 2022-27 action plan sets out some of our key activities that are in progress and planned over the next 5 years, with a focus on what we will look to achieve in the short to medium term.

We will test the actions outlined and will take corrective action where needed. We will give updates on the actions as we make progress, and review the plan on an annual basis.

Read our 2024 progress update and forward look.

Theme 1: Become a more inclusive funder of research


  • 1.1 Set and track targets for diversity of professional members on selection committees and panels
  • 1.2 Pilot inclusive approaches to recruitment and training of professional committee and panel members
  • 1.3 Develop an NIHR Disability Framework
  • 1.4 Introduce an NIHR workforce inclusion survey
  • 1.5 Develop and put in place an NIHR-wide inclusion training plan for the NIHR workforce
  • 1.6 Develop, embed and test the impact of an NIHR Equality Impact Assessment policy

Theme 2: Widen access and participation for greater diversity and inclusion


  • 2.1 Start to put in place recommendations from the NIHR's 'inclusion in public partnerships' review
  • 2.2 Explore the potential and shape the design of more joined up regional infrastructure for coordination of public partnerships, including building a case for specific resources
  • 2.3 Apply the lessons being generated by the NIHR Race Equality Public Action Group and other partners around race equality for the NIHR
  • 2.4 Pilot approaches to increase diversity and embed inclusion for public committee and panel members
  • 2.5 Review and update funding calls and guidance documentation in Global Health research

Theme 3: Improve and invest in the NIHR talent pipeline


  • 3.1 Explore relationships with partner organisations to increase diversity and inclusion in the NIHR talent pipeline e.g Melanin Medics
  • 3.2 Broaden the reach and scope of the NIHR mentoring programme, with a particular focus on people from underrepresented groups
  • 3.3 Develop and deliver inclusion training to the NIHR mentoring programme leads
  • 3.4 Identify potential barriers, develop and test initiatives to attract people from underrepresented groups to careers in research

Theme 4: Evidence-led diversity and inclusion


  • 4.1 Work with NIHR employer institutions to improve the coverage, collection and analysis of diversity data from our workforce
  • 4.2 Create an NIHR standard for diversity data which will cover data governance and when and how to ask diversity monitoring questions
  • 4.3 Expand the data collection approach to include all protected characteristics
  • 4.4 Embed a sustainable and consistent approach to the collection of research workforce diversity data, including our infrastructure workforce
  • 4.5 Develop an analytical method to perform intersectional analysis
  • 4.6 Scope categories to identify the most appropriate way to collect diversity data in Global Health Research
  • 4.7 Initiate and support the collection of diversity data of public contributors involved in central NIHR

Theme 5: Collaborate with partners for impact and sustainability


  • 5.1 Establish relationships with programmes and organisations whose focus is increasing opportunities and facilitating networking for researchers who are underrepresented in research
  • 5.2 Work with the Five Nations Public Partnership Group to strengthen the UK Standards for Public Involvement prioritising reframing of the Inclusive Opportunities standard
  • 5.3 Co-develop best practice recommendations and a sex and gender equity policy to improve gendered health outcomes in the UK with the MESSAGE project
  • 5.4 Establish an Inclusion Forum - bringing the NIHR and other funders together to discuss inclusion issues, share data and agree common metrics 


The NIHR Research Inclusion Programme Board will monitor progress against the ambitions set out in the Research Inclusion action plan.

The NIHR Research Inclusion team will provide regular updates against the delivery of the action plan. We will share the metrics and stories of the impact of the new 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