Alex Cagan

Virtual event celebrates Equality and Diversity Champions from the Wellcome Genome Campus

Winners of the Best Practice Awards are announced for International Women’s Day

The Wellcome Genome Campus celebrated International Women’s Day (8 March 2021) with its annual awards for Best Practice for Supporting Equality and Diversity in Science.

The Campus is fully committed to supporting the development of the careers of women and under-represented groups, and the awards recognise this. Staff at the Wellcome Genome Campus nominated 29 colleagues for their efforts to advance equality, diversity and inclusion, to positively impact working life on the Campus.

This year the event was hosted virtually and the overall winner was Dr Carla Jones from the Wellcome Sanger Institute. Carla is a Senior Staff Scientist and has been a leading light of the Parents and Carers network since she worked with her colleagues to set up the network. With the majority of things going online during the pandemic, Carla started the Parent and Carers Slack channel back in August 2020 and this has now grown to include at least 69 members of staff, providing support to each, as well as sharing ideas and information on home-schooling, events and resources.

“I’m very honoured to receive this award, so thank you for this. I do want to say that this is very much a team effort, and when Maya Ghoussaini and I started the Parents and Carers network almost three years ago we would never have thought it would have grown to the size it is now, which is amazing. We built this network to help people, and we’re very happy that we have been able to do that, especially during this very difficult year. We hope that we can build on these successes and keep supporting all parents and carers across our campus.”

Dr Carla Jones, Senior Staff Scientist at the Wellcome Sanger Institute

The Parent and Carers network is led by Carla Jones and Maya Ghoussanini with support from Saher Ahmed, Catherine Gater and Steph Paul.

In addition to our winner, six other people were nominated for special commendations for their work.

Dr Maya Ghoussaini, from Open Targets, received a special commendation for her work in setting up and supporting the Parents and Carers network and being a regular contributor to the events, coffee meetings and planning.

A joint commendation was awarded to Dr Alice Matimba, Dr Christine Boinett, Isabela Malta and Catherine Holmes, from Connecting Science and the Sanger Institute, for being part of the team who set up the initiative, ‘Your Digital Mentor’ podcasts. These podcasts enable access to conversations around mentoring, career development and equity and inclusion to a global audience, with a focus on Low and Middle Income Countries.

In addition to this, they were also recognised for being founding members of the Campus-wide Race Equity Network. This network is opening up conversations and raising awareness about race equity, providing the opportunity for people to learn more and have safe, candid conversations about race to help better understand each other’s perspectives and experiences and move towards an inclusive culture.

The final special commendation was awarded to Lee Outhwaite who is Head Gardener at Sanger, and has received his commendation for the support, openness and insight he has given with regard to transgender awareness. Lee works to personally raise awareness and providing support through having open conversations about his own transition, and he has also worked closely with the EDI team on the Transgender Awareness Policy and Guidance. He has openly shared his journey and the roles other people have in it to help future transgender people on site.

“This past year has been difficult for a lot of people, which is why it’s more important than ever to recognise and celebrate those who continue to support equality and diversity at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, and across the Wellcome Genome Campus. These awards are a time to celebrate our equality and diversity champions, reflect on how our organisations are thinking about equality and diversity, and what further improvements we could make in the future. I look forward to seeing the Wellcome Genome Campus continue to grow and develop in this area, and I am proud of the progress that people here have worked hard to achieve.”

Professor Sir Mike Stratton, Director of the Wellcome Sanger Institute

More information

Selected websites

  • About Connecting Science

    Wellcome Genome Campus Connecting Science’s mission is to enable everyone to explore genomic science and its impact on research, health and society.

    We connect researchers, health professionals and the wider public, creating opportunities and spaces to explore genomic science and its impact on people. Connecting Science inspires new thinking, sparks conversation, supports learning and measures attitudes, drawing on the ground-breaking research taking place on the Wellcome Genome Campus.

  • European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI)

    The European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) is a global leader in the storage, analysis and dissemination of large biological datasets. We help scientists realise the potential of ‘big data’ by enhancing their ability to exploit complex information to make discoveries that benefit humankind. We are at the forefront of computational biology research, with work spanning sequence analysis methods, multi-dimensional statistical analysis and data-driven biological discovery, from plant biology to mammalian development and disease. We are part of EMBL and are located on the Wellcome Genome Campus, one of the world’s largest concentrations of scientific and technical expertise in genomics.

  • Wellcome Sanger Institute

    The Wellcome Sanger Institute is a world leading genomics research centre. We undertake large-scale research that forms the foundations of knowledge in biology and medicine. We are open and collaborative; our data, results, tools and technologies are shared across the globe to advance science. Our ambition is vast – we take on projects that are not possible anywhere else. We use the power of genome sequencing to understand and harness the information in DNA. Funded by Wellcome, we have the freedom and support to push the boundaries of genomics. Our findings are used to improve health and to understand life on Earth. Find out more at or follow us on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn and on our Blog.

  • About Wellcome

    Wellcome exists to improve health by helping great ideas to thrive. We support researchers, we take on big health challenges, we campaign for better science, and we help everyone get involved with science and health research. We are a politically and financially independent foundation.