NCRI is committed to being an anti-discriminatory organisation, and we have made several changes to our organisation to reflect this stance. We have drafted an EDI strategy to tie in with our new NCRI strategy which will be launched later in the year. We are reviewing all our internal policies to ensure the values of equality, diversity and inclusion are embedded into our policies and day to day working practices.
Our recruitment process is managed by CRUK and we have adopted their improved processes. To improve recruitment and retention of staff from more diverse backgrounds, we now use anonymous CVs in our recruitment process and continually review the make-up of interview panels to ensure we’re not affected by bias. Job adverts are reviewed to ensure they are inclusive, welcoming and not discriminatory, and applicants’ commitments to equality, diversity and inclusion are assessed in the application and interview process. In addition, we monitor the diversity of applicants through the recruitment process to identify and address any problem areas.
To improve our own education, we have incorporated training on equality, diversity and inclusion into staff inductions and ongoing training plans. In addition, we include objectives on equality, diversity and inclusion in personal development plans.
To become an organisation that positively impacts the experiences of people from all backgrounds when engaging with cancer research, we are monitoring the diversity of the NCRI Networks, NCRI Groups, NCRI Early Career Researcher Forum and NCRI Consumer Forum. This allows us to identify if any groups are underrepresented and address our procedures accordingly.
We have developed an equal opportunities statement to be signed up to when joining our networks.
Addressing bias in research
We have been exploring opportunities to produce guidance or recommendations for NCRI developed or supported trials to increase the diversity of trials participants. We have recommended researchers use the NIHR ‘Guidance for applicants on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for study participants’ and we ensure our proposals guidance takes EDI considerations into account.
The NCRI Groups are including EDI considerations in the development of strategic priorities. All NCRI Groups are advised to consider an EDI priority during the development of their new strategic priority documents. Examples include a project assessing the barriers resulting in a lack of diversity in clinical trials and producing a paper proposing solutions to improve EDI. Working Groups will include ECR Leads who will help the delivery of these projects.
We ensure speakers and presenters are representative of diverse backgrounds and we have held several events with a specific EDI focus, including a number of sessions at the NCRI Festival, as well as the following:
Celebrating Black in cancer week, October 2021
We spoke to an early career researcher, an established cancer researcher, and a patient representative about their experiences of being Black in cancer research. Speakers shared information on their professional background, career routes and obstacles they have faced including discrimination and bias in hiring and funding and a lack of role models and representation.
Celebrating international women’s day, March 2022
On international women’s day, we spoke to five women in cancer research about their careers. Topics discussed included the role of role models and mentors, identifying bias and addressing it, and the systemic changes still required to allow women to thrive.