Petra Korlević / Wellcome Sanger Institute

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion champions receive Best Practice Awards

The Wellcome Genome Campus holds its annual awards for Best Practice in supporting Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in science, in celebration of International Women’s Day.

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The Best Practice Awards celebrate all staff from across the Wellcome Genome Campus who have advanced Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI).

Those recognised may have gone above and beyond to champion EDI activities that positively influence the scientific culture and working environment on Campus, or may be allies who actively advocate for others and support their colleagues to bring about positive change. The awards also celebrate those who are positive role models, who promote EDI through effective mentorship, or staff who proactively embed EDI principles into their daily responsibilities. This year, 24 colleagues were nominated from across the Campus community.

Today (8 March), on International Women’s Day, we announce the Best Practice Award winners, all at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. We congratulate Chloe Pacyna, PhD student, and joint winners Francesca Littler, Management Trainee, and Remi Clare, Advanced Research Assistant.

Chloe Pacyna was nominated for her exemplary efforts to empower the Campus to take a clear stance on scientific racism. This courageous work has strengthened the ties between Campus staff with wider efforts to address racial issues, which has created a lasting positive movement. Chloe actively participated in a range of sensitive meetings and discussions, which she achieved whilst in the final year of her PhD.

“I’m honoured to be recognised for my contributions to creating a more inclusive and just future for genomic research. It’s been so inspiring to work alongside brilliant colleagues who centre equity and justice in all they do. We have an ongoing opportunity here at the Wellcome Genome Campus to ensure that our research lives up to our values and equitably benefits all, and I hope we can all push for lasting positive change in our work, from the grassroots to the institutional level.”

Chloe Pacyna, PhD student at the Wellcome Sanger Institute

Francesca Littler and Remi Clare were put forward as joint winners by three colleagues for their outstanding work co-chairing the Campus Disability Network and enthusiastically championing neurodiversity in the workplace. They have communicated openly and honestly through the intranet, Slack and delivered impactful talks and videos across Campus, including to senior leadership.

Their colleagues who nominated them for the award emphasised that their work has led to a greater awareness of hidden disabilities at the Campus through their promotion of the sunflower lanyard initiative, an openness to discuss and improve available support, as well as breaking down barriers and helping people to feel less isolated.

“I am so honoured to win this award and especially to win it alongside my Disability Network co-chair, Remi. When we started our work around disabilities last summer, we never imagined it would turn into the incredible network we have now. Relaunching the Disability Network has been incredibly rewarding and it wouldn’t have happened without the support of everyone involved. I’d like to say a huge thank you to the EDI team for their support, to Remi for making this a really enjoyable experience, and to everyone who is part of the network or has shown their support over the last nine months. I am excited to see how this progresses over the next year”.

Francesca Littler, Management Trainee at the Wellcome Sanger Institute.

“I am very grateful to win an EDI Best Practice Award alongside my Disability Network co-chair, Francesca. The work we have undertaken in setting up the Network has been so rewarding and well-received. I’m excited to continue collaborating in the upcoming year to provide support and awareness for disabilities on Campus. A massive thank you to Francesca for being such an amazing co-chair and to my line manager for their continued support in taking on this role”.

Remi Clare, Advanced Research Assistant at the Wellcome Sanger Institute

In addition to the winners, three people received special commendations for their work to champion EDI. Those specially commended included Beth Flint, Project Leader at EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), for her proactive contributions to the EDI working group. Her colleague described her as a driving force for making changes at an institutional level for the long term.

Karen Cafferkey, Administration Network Manager at the Sanger Institute, was specially commended for her consistent efforts to provide and promote career development opportunities for administrative staff across Campus. Karen has worked hard to ensure administrators receive recognition for their work.

The final special commendation goes to Lorenzo Mazza, Advanced Research Assistant at the Sanger Institute, for his exceptional dedication to advancing EDI initiatives, especially in celebrating Pride month. Particular highlights included conceptualising and creating a Pride video that was shared both internally and externally, as well as advocating for the promotion of the Campus LGBTQ+ Network in the cafes on Campus.

“Congratulations to everyone who was nominated for the 2024 Equality in Science Best Practice Awards! It is so inspiring to hear about the bold and inspirational work that is being done to advance equity and inclusion from people across the Wellcome Genome Campus community.”

Dr Saher Ahmed,Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the Wellcome Sanger Institute

“The rich tapestry of perspectives and backgrounds on campus – and at EMBL more widely – enables us to foster innovation, and to create a sense of belonging among all staff members. The Best Practice awards are a great opportunity to recognise and celebrate the diverse community on campus, and a way of inspiring others to champion EDI.”

Manu Morgan, Deputy Head of Human Resources at  EMBL-EBI

“We extend our congratulations to everyone honoured with this year’s Best Practice Awards, along with those receiving special commendations, for their outstanding contributions to advancing Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion across the Wellcome Genome Campus. Their dedication and proactive approach to championing EDI principles across everything we do is an inspiration. We are very proud of their achievements and the positive impact they have made. Together we’ll continue our journey in advancing EDI.”

Professor Matthew Hurles, Director at the Wellcome Sanger Institute

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