Equality in Science overview

Equality in Science overview


The Equality in Science programme is a joint initiative of the Wellcome Sanger Institute, Connecting Science, EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) and other bodies on Campus. Originally established as Sex in Science in 2011, Equality in Science aims to generate discussion and raise awareness about issues traditionally facing women and marginalised groups in science, and to drive policy and practice changes to redress them

Internationally, women are represented in diminishing proportions as career levels progress and significant numbers of women leave science altogether. In line with societal and cultural shifts, the issues that cause this well-recognised 'leaky pipeline' now affect not only female scientists but increasingly also men in science. Scientists from marginalised groups such as LGBT+, BME and disabled scientists also do not achieve success at the same rates as their counterparts. In our Equality in Science programme we explore these issues, look to inspire researchers, develop discussion and drive change in current practices and policy.


cgap_lab_52.jpgSanger Institute, Genome Research Limited

The programme was developed in 2011 by Professor Ele Zeggini. The Equality in Science working group is comprised of approximately 20 women and men from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, Connecting Science, the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) and other entities on Campus. It aims to:

  • raise awareness of issues facing women and marginalised groups in science
  • To address and challenge preconceptions
  • inspire people at different stages of their scientific careers to progress to senior levels;
  • foster constructive discussion about all of the issues above
  • inform and drive change in current practices and policy at the institutional level.

These objectives require long-term effort and we have the firm commitment and championship from senior leaders across our organisations to continue with this work into the future.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Forum

Our global reputation for excellence is underpinned by our commitment to developing and maintaining a forward looking organisation where staff and students from all backgrounds can thrive. By striving to promote and maintain a diverse, inclusive and stimulating workplace, we are celebrating and valuing our staff for their differences in thought, background, experience and perspectives.

Our aims include:
  • managers at all levels taking ownership of EDI and demonstrating effective leadership and due regard to EDI
  • a diverse, representative workforce at all levels
  • an inclusive working environment where staff and students respect and value each other’s diversity
  • facilities and services delivered in a way that promote equality, and respect diversity and inclusion.
  • The organisation-wide EDI Forum provides long-term support and strategic leadership and is the organisational champion for equality diversity and inclusion. It sits at the heart of the organisation’s decision-making processes.
The EDI Forum:
  • Fosters an inclusive environment by contributing to solutions for change to raise GRL’s profile as a sector leader in equality, diversity and inclusion, and challenging GRL culture where required
  • Articulates GRL’s vision for equality, diversity and inclusion that shifts the agenda beyond legal compliance to a celebration of diversity and raises the profile of this key activity
  • Is agile, proactive and undertakes horizon-scanning to identify best practice and future directions
  • Reviews staff data (qualitative and quantitative) to monitor progress
  • Highlights successes and identify blockages/challenges, introducing innovative ways of tackling identified issues
  • Works co-operatively with external partners on equality, diversity and inclusion issues, sharing best practice and benchmarking as appropriate
  • Facilitates the creation and development of diversity groups/networks, and supports them in setting and meeting their objectives
  • Makes recommendations to ensure the renewal and elevation of the Athena SWAN award and sign-off the Athena SWAN application.

Membership of the EDI Forum encompasses a broad range of experiences and responsibilities. The group is chaired by Cordelia Langford, Director of Scientific Operations.


For further information contact Dr Saher Ahmed: saher.ahmed@sanger.ac.uk