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Professor Richard McManus, NDPCHS Research Committee Chair, reflects on putting into practice the department's commitment to supporting and promoting equality, diversity and inclusion as part of our Research Strategy

Outlines of a diverse group of people with speech bubbles

Our departmental Research Strategy includes the fine words: 'Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences is committed to actively and openly supporting and promoting equality, diversity and inclusion and this extends to our research strategy. We aim to:

  • Extend the reach of our research to include diverse people and communities
  • Embed equality, diversity and inclusion in our culture and the way we work, so that we can attract the best people and take forward the best ideas and the best research.'

So, this is all very well, but what does it actually mean in practice?

We have made a start in our research collective conversations describing some of our own experiences of ‘trying to do diversity better’. In my own case this was prompted by a trusted colleague (Tanvi Rai) challenging me to stir from my tried and trusted research methods - which included recruiting trial participants from diverse populations but without making specific efforts to engage with them. Working with Tanvi and others I was able to expand my horizons to things that actually might make a difference such as talking to community leaders and engaging from the ground up. Along the way I was shocked by the implicit and explicit racism encountered by colleagues and was appropriately woken up to the realities of the work I/we need to do to overcome this.

In response to our early conversations as a department, we have supported new reading groups, created departmental resources to share information, and responded to the discomfort raised by confronting some of the issues by incorporating them into our Athena SWAN application. The diversity action plan can be found here.

An example of our intent is the consideration of diversity in our internal recruitment processes, even at the highest level (we were pleased to have a many different aspects of diversity represented in the applicants for our recent Nuffield Professor appointment process). At a practical level, we expect research and ethics applications to include due consideration of the need to include diverse people, and, for example, not to exclude by design those who do not speak English.

If these issues have whet your appetite for more reading, some useful links can be found below:

Useful reading




Opinions expressed are those of the author/s and not of the University of Oxford. Readers' comments will be moderated - see our guidelines for further information.


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