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NIHR launches new equality, diversity and inclusion strategy

Hands protect multi-coloured blocks shaped like people

Published: 28 September 2022

The NIHR has launched a new strategy to drive its commitment to embed equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) across its entire research, systems and culture.

Last year, the NIHR published Best Research for Best Health: The Next Chapter, outlining its mission to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. Essential to its success is ensuring equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) are embedded in everything the NIHR does.

The new strategy is founded upon five key themes which are designed to foster a more inclusive environment, engage the talents and energy of diverse people across the NIHR's work, and improve the relevance and quality of the research that is funded.

Building on work which has already begun, such as the delivery of the Race Equality Framework and publication of the NIHR’s Diversity Data Report, the NIHR EDI strategy 2022-2027 themes reflect the breadth of the challenge and the NIHR’s ambition over the next five years:

  • 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

Dr Esther Mukuka, Head of EDI at the NIHR, said: “The NIHR has gone from strength to strength, with its transformational impact on the health and care research landscape widely recognised.

“The EDI strategy is the next step in this transformation - ensuring that equality, diversity and inclusion are embedded for all those who commission, conduct and benefit from our research.

“In my engagement with individuals from across our people framework - from our NIHR research workforce to our public contributors, I have seen energy, passion and commitment for this vital work.

“Now is the time to harness this energy - giving structure and clear priority to our work to embed EDI.

“In line with our learning approach we will continue to shape and refine our EDI work over the next five years, rooted in evidence and with ongoing collaboration across the system.”

Professor Lucy Chappell, Chief Executive of the NIHR, said: “The launch of the NIHR EDI strategy demonstrates our clear commitment to understand, take action on, and ultimately break down the barriers which lead to inequalities in the health and care research system.

“As a researcher myself, I am pleased to see that the NIHR has adopted a learning approach to this strategy - applying the research skills of testing, evaluation and analysis.

“This evidence-led approach, alongside collaboration across the sector, will enable the NIHR to build a strong body of best practice which will deliver the improved health outcomes we need to see.”

Dr Gail Marzetti, Director of the Science, Research and Evidence (SRE) directorate in the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), said: “I am delighted to see the recognition of equality, diversity and inclusion as a key area of strategic focus.

“This focus is absolutely necessary to truly tackle health inequalities and meet the needs of underserved groups, both nationally and globally.

“Whilst brilliant work has already begun in these areas, the EDI strategy will give clear direction to our future endeavours, ensuring that equality, diversity and inclusion are integrated into the work of the NIHR and the crucial research we fund.”

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