Both initiatives were brought to fruition with support from the NIHR ARC OxTV, also hosted with the department.
The CfRE successfully launched at an event on 17 May 2023, drawing representatives from an array of health and research organisations and community-based groups. This new Centre is committed to championing inclusive research practice and community engagement in health and care research, a vision introduced at the event by Prof Mahendra Patel, Director of the Centre and co-lead of the new Incubator, and further endorsed by numerous organisations demonstrating their shared commitment to research equity.
While today (8 June 23) the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) has awarded the University of Oxford and the University of Birmingham the 'Race Equity and Diversity in Careers Incubator', a prestigious award that recognises projects aiming to build research capacity in key areas. The Incubator is focused on diversifying health and care research by addressing systemic barriers that researchers from ethnic minority backgrounds often face.
Professor Patel said:
This is certainly exciting news with the first incubator of its kind focusing on inclusion and diversity. It’s so encouraging to see the NIHR recognising the importance of building research capacity through breaking down barriers and perceptions and inspiring people from diverse and ethnic minority backgrounds to become more involved within the research community.
This is a truly multi-collaborative alliance with a range of partners and stakeholders from a variety of disciplines and geographies coming together to ensure that the incubator is a huge success for everyone to emulate and support in the future.
These two organisations share a common purpose of creating a more inclusive and equitable research environment. Both are targeting a broad range of research professionals and scholars, from undergraduates to established researchers, especially from underrepresented ethnic minority backgrounds. The Incubator will concentrate its efforts into four workstreams: Communication and Engagement, Training and Career Development, Talent Pipeline, and Advocacy and Policy.
The synergy between the CfRE and the Incubator is evident, as they work together to shape a future where equitable access to research, funding and opportunities becomes a norm. The Incubator's funding marks a significant step in this direction, while the successful launch of CfRE underscores the support and anticipation for more inclusive health research.
During its first year, the Incubator aims to establish a robust community, develop a resource bank of role models, and create training and mentoring programs. Concurrently, CfRE will continue to work with an extensive network of partners to advance its mission, as demonstrated by the diverse representation during its launch event.
The CfRE launch event featured a variety of panel discussions and presentations, with representatives from numerous organisations, including the Royal College of General Practitioners, Muslim Doctors Cymru, and many others. The topics ranged from supporting research through government, NHS organisations and diverse communities, to using creative methodologies to engage marginalised populations in mental health research (the ATTUNE project).
The Centre for Research Equity's launch was attended by a wide array of organisations. These included Sheffield AUPMC, The Medical Association of Nigerians Across Great Britain (MANSAG), Boots UK, British Islamic Medical Association, South Asian Health Action, UK Health Alliance, and many more. The attendance of these organisations demonstrated a shared commitment to research equity and inclusivity, further reinforcing its mission.
These exciting developments signify a promising future for health equity research, as both organisations, with their distinct focus yet aligned missions, strive to shape a more inclusive and equitable health research environment that complements and enhance our departments goals and objectives.