Governance and policies

The Sanger Institute is operated by the charity, Genome Research Limited (GRL). Genome Research Limited is run by a Board of Directors which delegates responsibility for the Sanger Institute's management and research to the Institute's Director, Mike Stratton.

Our Board of Management, under Mike Stratton, makes strategic decisions about research and develops policies and practices to guarantee delivery of that research and to ensure compliance with legislation.

[Genome Research Limited]

How is the Sanger Institute governed?

Genome Research Limited (GRL) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Wellcome Trust and is legally responsible for all the activities of the Sanger Institute. Genome Research Limited's Board of Directors delegates responsibility for oversight of our scientific programmes to the Director of the Institute, Mike Stratton. He is accountable to the Director of the Wellcome Trust and must present an annual report to the Board of Governors of the Wellcome Trust. Operational management of the Institute is delegated to the Board of Management.

Genome Research Limited Board of Directors

Professor Jeremy Farrar

Professor Jeremy Farrar is Director of the Wellcome Trust and leads the Trust's Executive Board. Previous to this appointment, he was Professor of Tropical Medicine and Global Health at Oxford University, Global Scholar at Princeton University and Director of the Wellcome Trust's Major Overseas Programme in Vietnam.

John Cooper

John Cooper is Chief Operating Officer and Deputy CEO of the Francis Crick Institute. He was previously Director of Resources of the Wellcome Trust.

Simon Jeffreys

Simon Jeffreys is the Chief Operating Officer for the Wellcome Trust and a member of the Wellcome Trust's Executive Board.

Baroness Eliza Manningham-Buller

Baroness Manningham-Buller is a member of the Wellcome Trust's Board of Governors. Previous to this appointment she was Director-General of the Security Service (MI5).

Professor Peter Rigby

Professor Peter Rigby is a member of the Wellcome Trust's Board of Governors. From 1999 to 2011, he was Chief Executive at the Institute of Cancer Research, where he remains as Professor of Developmental Biology.

Professor Patrick Vallance

Professor Patrick Vallance is Senior Vice President, medicines discovery and development at GlaxoSmithKline, where he joined in 2006 as head of drug discovery. Before joining GSK, Patrick led the Division of Medicine at University College London.

The Operations Committee

The Operations Committee supports the Board of Management in the operational management of the Institute, provides information to facilitate Board of Management decision making, and has delegated authority on certain operational matters.

The Operations Committee is chaired by the Chief Operating Officer, Martin Dougherty, and includes Faculty, Board of Management and senior administrative staff members.

Our policies are designed to ensure that the research we carry out takes place in a well-defined ethical and procedural framework.

Human DNA

Human DNA [Wellcome Library, London]


Good Research Practice Policy

A culture of openness and scientific challenge is essential to foster good research practice. The following principles form the basis for research conduct at the Sanger Institute.

  1. Researchers should be honest and show integrity in respect of their own actions in research and in response to the actions of others.
  2. Researchers should be mindful of the ethical issues that relate to their work, and in particular, should actively consider any risks that their research might generate outcomes that could be misused.
  3. Researchers should share research data and analysis, as well as other resources that they produce, as widely and as rapidly as possible.
  4. Researchers should be aware of the legal requirements that regulate their work and follow Institute guidelines and any procedures that apply to working with human materials, data from research participants, and model organisms in research.
  5. Researchers should keep clear and accurate records of their research.
  6. Researchers should properly acknowledge the contributions of colleagues, collaborators, and all others who directly assist or indirectly support their research.
  7. Researchers should declare potential conflicts of interest.

The Sanger Institute has systems in place to support the implementation of this policy, including internal procedures for whistleblowing and for the investigation of allegations of research misconduct. If you have any concerns about our research, please let us know (
View our Good Research Practice Policy (PDF)
View our Policy on Conflicts of Interest (PDF). For NIH-funded research, the following additional policy applies: Policy on NIH Grants Conflicts of Interest Disclosure and Reporting (PDF)

Ethical and legal obligations concerning human biological material and data

The Sanger Institute's Human Material and Data Management Committee (HMDMC) provides oversight for the Sanger Institute in ethical and legal areas related to the use of human tissue and data. The committee acts as our governing body for issues relating to:

  • Human tissues legislation and regulation, including the Human Tissue Act 2004
  • Data Protection legislation and regulation, including the Data Protection Act 1998
  • The Institute's Ethical Guidelines for the Use of Human Biological Material
  • Research Governance and Good Clinical Practice
  • To expedite and facilitate the working of the HMDMC, investigators in the Institute wishing to start a new project that will involve human material or data must follow a procedure that supplies necessary information such that the committee can fulfil its purpose. This procedure and checklist will ensure that our projects apply for ethical approval from an appropriate body and that the necessary processes are implemented and documentation stored for compliance with the Human Tissue Act and the Data Protection Act.

More information about the Human Tissue Act

More information about the Data Protection Act

Animal research

Mouse embryo, 10.5 days old.

Mouse embryo, 10.5 days old. [Professor Alan Boyde, Wellcome Images]


In compliance with the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, we have established an Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body (AWERB) in the Institute, chaired by a senior member of our Faculty. The terms of reference comply with Home Office guidelines and the committee reviews all proposed project licenses and retrospectively reviews the operation of project licences. The committee is an important means by which we ensure that the animal research takes account of the Home Office's 3Rs:

  • Refinement of procedures to minimise suffering
  • Reduction in the number of animals used for a particular purpose
  • Replacement of animal use wherever possible

We have adopted the practice of having lay members on the committee: we currently have one external member and two internal staff lay members.

More information about the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act

The Institute generates vast quantities of data and assembles extensive biological resources.

The Institute generates vast quantities of data and assembles extensive biological resources.

Data Release

The Institute generates vast quantities of data and assembles extensive biological resources. Our research outputs come in a multitude of different forms, including genomic and post-genomic data sets, biological materials, disease pathway discoveries, bioinformatics tools, and research publications. The Institute is committed to maximising the value and impact of these resources by sharing them with the wider scientific community to facilitate research globally. This avoids duplication of efforts, is efficient in the use of research funds, ensures transparency and equity in exploitation of the opportunities created, and enables rapid translation into healthcare benefits.

The Institute has a Data Sharing Policy to ensure that data generated at the Institute is shared as swiftly as possible, and in a manner that respects the interests of research participants.

Please see our Data Sharing Policy.


An important objective of the Institute's translation strategy is to make available to the wider scientific community, information and biological materials to facilitate research globally. We are committed to enhancing academic access globally by provision of information, materials and technology generated at the Institute.

Translation can often be best achieved by placing data and biological resources into the public domain so that this can be picked up and exploited by as many academic and commercial groups as possible. However, in some cases we will file patents for protection of intellectual property. The decision to file to protect intellectual property is taken strategically and on a case-by-case basis with the primary goal that this will stimulate translation by adding value to the intellectual property, making it more likely that a commercial partner will invest resources in a translational effort. A secondary goal of protection of intellectual property is defensive, which, if managed appropriately, can prevent over exploitation of intellectual property in certain areas.

For more information, please see our Translation strategy.


The Wellcome Trust believes that maximising the distribution of scientific papers - by providing free, online access - is the most effective way of ensuring that the research it funds can be accessed, read and built upon. In turn, this will foster a richer research culture.

The Wellcome Trust therefore supports unrestricted access to the published output of research carried out at the Sanger Institute as a fundamental part of its charitable mission and a public benefit to be encouraged wherever possible.

Specifically, the Wellcome Trust:

  • expects authors of research papers to maximise the opportunities to make their results available for free
  • requires electronic copies of any research papers that have been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, and are supported in whole or in part by Wellcome Trust funding, to be made available through PubMed Central (PMC) and UK PubMed Central (UKPMC) as soon as possible and in any event within six months of the journal publisher's official date of final publication
  • will provide grantholders with additional funding, through their institutions, to cover open access charges, where appropriate, in order to meet the Trust's requirements
  • encourages - and where it pays an open access fee, requires - authors and publishers to license research papers such that they may be freely copied and re-used (for example for text and data-mining purposes), provided that such uses are fully attributed
  • affirms the principle that it is the intrinsic merit of the work, and not the title of the journal in which an author's work is published, that should be considered in making funding decisions
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