Policy work on diversity

Representation of women in the biomedicine and health workforce

In 2012 the Academy’s Council asked Professor Ros Smyth FMedSci to establish a task force to examine the representation of women in the Academy’s Fellowship. The task force considered how policies and processes within the Academy could encourage the nomination, election and full participation of women within the Academy’s portfolio of activities

This task force was conceived to inform the internal working processes of the Academy. However, we believe that an integral aspect of improving diversity is through sharing examples of success, and importantly, openly acknowledging where there is still crucial work to be done. The Academy therefore published the full task force report in the hope to contribute to the wider debate on what can be done to improve the representation of women in the biomedical workforce.

In August 2013, the Academy responded to the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee’s inquiry 'Women in STEM careers'. Although the Academy supports the progression of women across all academic STEM careers, the response focused on women in clinical academic medicine because of our strong clinical research base and previous work in this area. Clinical academic women experience a ‘glass ceiling’ to progression at senior employment levels: there is a greater drop in the number of women at senior employment levels compared to early career grades. There are also reduced award rates for women in academic medicine applying for funding at senior levels.

Diverse representation of public voices within policy making

The Academy believes public engagement with diverse voices from the public and patients is essential for robust policy making. Giving scientists a view from beyond their own community helps ensure our policy recommendations are relevant and timely. We have therefore developed high quality models of public dialogue to incorporate community views into our major policy projects. Our reports into ‘Brain science, addiction and drugs’, ‘Animals containing human material’, ‘Improving the health of the public by 2040’, ‘How we can best judge the benefits and harms of medicines?’ and ‘New principles for patient data use’ all had high quality public dialogue at their core. Read more about our work putting the public's voice into science policy on this page.

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