Bolder action needed for sustained change: 2019-20 diversity report published

Today we publish our 2019-20 diversity data report, together with a foreword from the Academy’s Diversity Champions.

Foreword:

"This is the sixth annual Academy of Medical Sciences diversity report and the fourth to be published externally. Previously data has been collated, analysed and reported on by Academy staff. This year the data has been analysed and the report written by external consultants from Select Statistics and Inclusive Recruiting.

"While the Academy has made efforts to achieve greater diversity and inclusion across all its activities, this report tells us there is much more to do.  It shows that the Academy’s work towards equality is an ongoing journey. Things do not improve overnight, or even from year to year, without deliberate and thoughtful actions. This report crystallises our desire to shift from ’chipping away’ to bolder action for real, sustained change.  

"Our upcoming work to develop a new strategy for the Academy provides an opportunity to cement this ambition into our planning, objectives and resource allocation.  

"It is clear that we need to look long and hard at what we consider ‘excellent’ and be clearer about how we define it. We must appreciate more fully that some people are offered fewer opportunities and experience more barriers to common markers of esteem in science. We must find ways to recognise and support great medical and health research, wherever and however it is done. 

"Bold ambitions need dedicated time and resource. Many of our processes have been set up for a while. The Academy Council has concluded that the next step is to develop action plans to implement the report’s recommendations on processes and procedures alongside keeping our day-to-day functions moving. We are clear that this is not about positive discrimination but about taking an equitable approach and trying to ensure we are truly fair.   

"We know this will require a sustained programme of learning and unlearning for our Fellows, staff, researchers and collaborators. We look forward to improving our training, learning from others across the sector, and supporting each other on our journey.  

"This report is, at times, uncomfortable reading. Reaching for equality at the Academy is an uncomfortable task. But if we are sitting comfortably, we are not doing enough. This report marks the start of that process."

Dame Jessica  Corner FMedSci and Professor David Lomas FMedSci were Academy Diversity Champions in December 2020 when the report was discussed by the Academy’s Council. The Council thank Inclusive Recruiting Ltd. and Select Statistics Ltd. for their expert help in producing this report. 

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