The Academy of Medical Sciences is committed to working towards full equality of opportunity both in our own organisation, practices and work, and in the wider academic workforce.
Our commitment applies to every sphere of Academy activity. We strive to ensure that no individual or group is treated more or less favourably than others on the grounds of ethnicity, age, disability, sex, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, religion or belief.
Our definition of diversity expands beyond protected characteristics to include geography, research subject and sector, clinical and non-clinical specialties, career stage, and socio-economic background. Our work is guided by our core principles.
We are serious about learning both from our successes and our failures, and believe that transparency is key for sector-wide improvement. We welcome comments and feedback and will always listen with an openness and willingness to learn how to do things better.
We are sharing our 12 month action plan (from mid-2021 to mid-2022) as a public document - download the action plan here or from the side of this page.
We are a member of EDIS (the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Science and Health Research Network), the Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion and the Proud Science Alliance, a collective of healthcare and life sciences sector LGBTQ+ networks.
We have produced an annual diversity report since 2014 and publish the reports openly online. We consider transparency key for sector-wide improvement and continue to work towards better data collection and reporting to provide the evidence base for change.
The most recent 2019-20 diversity report is the Academy's sixth annual report of diversity data, and the fourth published externally. It spans all the Academy's work, from grants and policy to Fellowship and HR. Read all our previous diversity data reports here.
Our policies and processes to ensure good practice include a Bullying and harassment policy, a Code of Conduct, a Conflict of interest policy, and using two members of Council as champions to support our equality work. All policies are available to download from the side of this page.
Our Fellowship election process is reviewed by a Fellowship committee each year. We send our briefing note on unconscious bias to all committees electing new Fellows each year. We have published top tips on supporting diversity for decision-making committees aimed at all Fellows and senior researchers.
Our Academy committees will continue to poorly represent the wider scientific community while our Fellowship remains only 19% female and 6% from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups. Until the pool we draw from gets bigger we need to make extra efforts to seek, support and empower individuals to bring diverse voices into our work and give them the power to effect change while they are there.
We support staff to learn about their area's strengths and challenges. Internally we host training sessions and share resources. Externally we communicate across our sector, including through talks to share our approaches and ideas. Learn more in the below three minute video and accompanying blog, based on a talk for the Association of Medical Research Charities.
For an overview of our policy work to create a fairer research system, please see our page 'Addressing health challenges'.
We offer targeted career support for early- and mid-career researchers including: grants; free 121 mentoring; leadership training, and free events both online and around the UK. We are also working to support researchers impacted by COVID-19 - find out more on our COVID-19 information hub.
We aim to better support Black researchers through collaboration with existing networks. In summer 2020, we supported three workshops by BBSTEM on mental health and imposter syndrome. In spring 2021 we hosted events with Ladders4Action on allyship and inequalities. In winter 2021 we hosted an event curated by the Black Women in Science Network on mental health, mentoring & leadership. Our President's response to an open letter on racial justice in higher education (July 2020) welcomed the call for learned societies to engage more seriously with structural racism.
We aim to better support female researchers through our flagship programme to help female researchers to thrive in their independent careers, SUSTAIN. This one-year cohort-based programme of mentorship and bespoke career support has supported 100+ women and been described by participants as "invaluable".
Motivated by the lack of female experts in the news, we have also developed an award-winning hands-on training programme to improve gender balance in the media. Since 2014 this work has helped hundreds of female scientists engage with high profile broadcast and print media outlets, many for the first time. In 2018 we were awarded the Royal Society's biannual Athena prize celebrating those who have contributed most to the advancement of diversity within their scientific communities for this work. In 2012 the Academy published a task force report on the representation of women in the Academy’s Fellowship and the biomedical workforce following an open space meeting with female Fellows, which is available to download from the side of this page.
A life outside science is not an extra, but an integral part of who we are as researchers. Our #MedSciLife project brings together personal stories of those working in medical and health research to promote different working practices and explore how passions and achievements outside work can influence careers: www.medscilife.org