Equality, diversity and inclusion at Cancer Research UK

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We exist to beat cancer, and beating cancer means beating it for everyone. Our vision is to create a charity where everyone feels they belong, benefits from and participates in, the work we do so they can achieve their potential.  

We value and celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and make them a priority.

Read our EDI strategy report (PDF, 2.1 MB)

Our strategic priorities

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Reduce cancer inequalities through our work and in partnership with others

We know that cancer doesn’t affect everyone equally. It’s our duty to address cancer inequalities through our work by publishing the best evidence and through the research that we fund.

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Develop a more diverse and inclusive research community through the research we fund

We've already removed several barriers to progression for our researchers, increasing the diversity in applications. We’re committed to making sure more diverse researchers are attracted to and stay in cancer research. We use our influence to ensure a diverse and inclusive research culture and we fund research of the highest quality that is relevant to, and where appropriate involves, a diverse population of research participants. 

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Build an inclusive and diverse culture for all our people: staff and volunteers

We’ve made progress in diversifying our staff. Our new inclusive recruitment approach resulted in a 23% increase in the number of staff from an ethnic minority background. We introduced a heads progression programme for women in 2019 achieving at least 50% women in, director and executive director roles. In our graduate and intern programmes, we saw an increase to 50% graduates from an ethnic minority background. The images we use in our publications are now more diverse, as are the people whose stories we use to showcase our work.  

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Achieve diversity across our governance, advisory and leadership structures  

We know that having an inclusive environment with diverse perspectives is essential in robust decision making, so we're inclusive in how we engage our staff, supporters, researchers’ community, volunteers and people affected by cancer when making decisions. We reviewed the way we recruit to make sure we always employ the best leaders and advisors with broad skills and perspectives so we can better reflect the communities we serve.

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Engage with people in ways that are inclusive, relevant and accessible

Each year, we reach approximately 38 million people with our patient information and more than 60,000 people face to face with our health information. We have a responsibility to make sure our information is easy to access and understood by audiences from all backgrounds. We’ve started work to remove barriers which could prevent people from accessing our content by introducing accessible formats for our reports, webpages, and videos. We’re also working towards making our web content more accessible to disabled people. We still have some way to go but we will get there. 

Our principles

  1. We will become an anti-racist charity and challenge racism and discrimination in the scope of our work.
  2. We will work collaboratively across the charity and with other likeminded organisations to achieve our vision.
  3. We will become an accessible charity that treats people with dignity and respect in every interaction.
  4. We will use our influence to promote equality and inclusion internally and in our work with others.
  5. We will continuously improve, adopt best practices and learn from others.
  6. We will collect data where we do not have it, to deepen our understanding of our audiences and better inform our work.

Our people

Portrait of Raj in a white top and a bright pink blazer

I’m passionate about EDI and wanted to utilise my skills and experience to help take this area of work forward. I took on the role of Co-Chair of the Race Equality and Equity Network Committee, championing race and inclusion, with a particular focus on progression for ethnic minority staff. The Network as a whole is a great vehicle for driving positive change and I’m glad to be a part of it.

Raj Khera, Chief Operating Office

Making an impact: Staff Networks

We’re proud of our Staff Networks. They’re voluntary, staff-led groups whose aims are to foster a diverse and inclusive workplace aligned with the organisations they serve. They’re led by and made up of colleagues who share a characteristic, whether it's gender, ethnicity, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, disability status, lifestyle, or interest.  

We have nine Inclusion and Wellbeing Networks at Cancer Research UK:


Be part of an inclusive charity and join a team of 4,000 people from a diverse range of backgrounds.

Responsible organisation

We want to maximise the positive impact our life-saving research has on people and the planet, while minimising the negative impact.

Contact us

For more information about EDI at Cancer Research UK, alternative document formats of our reports or answers to any questions you may have, get in touch with us.