Diversity data in our research funding
Knowing who we award funding to is fundamental to tackling inequalities
We are transparent about who applies for our research grants, and who they are awarded to – including publishing diversity characteristics such as age, disability, ethnicity and gender.
We invest in world-class research, and we know to remain world-class, it needs to be undertaken by a diverse and inclusive community.
In 2021, we published our first grant funding report which revealed shortcomings and informed our EDI in research action plan to improve diversity within our research community.
Now in 2022, we report on application and award data for each year since 2017. For the first time, we’re also publishing combined diversity data for staff and PhD students across our four institutes. In the future, we will aim to collect and report on disaggregated ethnicity data from our institutes.
Snapshot of key findings
Our applicants and awardholders
- Only 2% of our lead applicants declared a disability, lower than the proportion of UK biosciences academic staff who reported a disability at 3%.
- Only 1% of all our applicants were from Black / African / Caribbean / Black British backgrounds which is slightly lower than the UK biosciences academic staff population at 2%.
- White researchers who apply for a fellowship have a success rate of 24% which is 11 percentage points higher than researchers from an ethnic minority background at 13%.
- Across all applications, success rates by gender are equal at 28% for men and women.
Our committee members
- Women and men have equal membership across all our funding committees.
- The proportion of researchers from an ethnic minority background on our funding committees is 21%.
- No committee members are from Black backgrounds.
- Over 50% of staff at our institutes are less than 40 years old.
- Over 50% of PhD students at our institutes are women whilst less than one-third are group leaders.
- 21% of staff at our institutes are from an ethnic minority background.
What we’re doing to improve diversity and inclusion within our research community
- We’re rolling out narrative-based CVs to ensure we’re attracting and retaining the full range of the most promising research and innovation talent. We want to ensure wider contributions beyond grant and publication records are recognised and valued.
- We’ve introduced a positive action scheme for researchers to observe our funding panels and committees, which prioritises places for underrepresented groups.
- We’ll review the support we offer those who have any health conditions including mental health, physical, sensory or cognitive differences who apply for our funding to support them with the grant application process.
- Our Women of Influence scheme supports our fellows in tackling some of the barriers women may face when progressing to senior positions, empowering them to become leaders.
- We’re partnering with In2scienceUK and Black in Cancer to mentor school children and undergraduates from low socio-economic backgrounds and Black backgrounds to offer them opportunities to build a career in cancer research.
- We’ve recently launched a Black Leaders in Cancer PhD Scholarship Programme to help develop the next generation of Black leaders in cancer research.
We’re supporting the Black in Cancer partnership to hold its first in-person event, bringing Black researchers together from around the globe to share their science, and discuss equality and patient experience.
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Page updated July 2022